Highly Capable Work Session

To save you some time, there was virtually no talk about any changes to the overall program. Spectrum was not even mentioned.  Whatever is to become of AL programs is something that Teaching and Learning is choosing to keep a mystery.

What was interesting is that Director Burke, who chaired the meeting, had people write down questions (even the audience, though none of our cards got read but we handed them in.)

There was a huge group of SPS staff there including Stephen Nielsen, Clover Codd, head of AL Stephen Martin, and all the Board members.

Shauna Heath lead the discussion which I found interesting given the presence of Mr. Martin who spoke very little.  She did say that HC was "big" part of her department.  They say they are dedicated to "everyone who wants to get in, gets in."


- in reviewing the presentation, under "Weaknesses," it was stated that the errors they experienced in HC info on testing were "really related to human error with no technical support to help them."  They used an Excel spreadsheet because "there is no data system to help with the work."  

For crying out loud, what is the Technology department for?  This kind of stuff should not be happening with a fully-dedicated tech group.

- Heath reported that there has been an increase in equity and diversity since 2011 (and said that it was in some Friday Memo but I can't find it.)

- Martin mentioned the elimination of pre-qualification criteria but I was having a hard time following what he was referencing so I don't know specifics.

- still the claim that AL is in all the CSIPs but how that directly plays out in every school is a mystery.  A plan on paper without action is just a plan.  As well, there was one staffer (sorry, I didn't get her name and did not recognize her) said that how schools serve AL students is "embedded" into the CSIPs and they don't all use the same language.

Wait, what?  Here's the line I have used, for many basic issues,  since I started being a public ed advocate - why do Seattle Schools' parents have to be detective to figure out their school and this district? I hope the Board asks the Superintendent to create a template on programs at schools that EVERY school must follow.

- 30% of referred students are from minority communities.  However,  I put in my notes, "How many tested, how many passed the test and how many entered the program" and sure enough, President Patu asked that question.  Mr. Martin didn't have that data.  Now I like him but just like so many other times when staff comes before the Board to explain the work of a department, basic information is not at hand.

- what was quite odd was Heath's statement that kids who are HCC identified but not in the program come within 5% of test scores for those who are in the program.  Almost as if she wanted to make the point that kids don't need the program based on one data point.  Director Peters challenged her on this issue saying it was only one data point and it was a new test.

- Martin says that outreach to schools and services to schools has grown but offered no specifics.  He also said his department had gotten done with identifications a month early.

- Director Blanford asked about the perception that "the tail was wagging the dog" in Teaching and Learning (meaning, operations drove academics, not vice versa.)  Ms Heath said the alignment is much better with support from Nyland, Tolley and McEvoy.  "The conversation has gone away, at least for us" was what she said.

- Director Pinkham asked about training for teachers around the Native American curriculum, From Time Immemorial.  He said that at one school his child attended, the principal didn't think he needed to train the teachers because there were so few Native American students.  There was some discussion around PD for teachers including that after-school PD was hard on teachers, and that "one and done" PD is usually not effective.  All those in the discussion seemed to agree that more collaboration time would be the best.

- Director Blanford asked about a phrase in the presentation, "working with Race and Equity to identify students of color"  Ms. Heath said there was a staff member, Matt Okun , who does that work.  Mr. Okun said that AL had eliminated pre-qualification for screening and universal screening for second grade.  Blanford said he had talked to parents of color about the challenges of their students being in the program.  He stated that some had said they found the HCC schools a "hostile environment."  Okun said the way forward is more collaboration between departments.

- Director Geary asked about cultural awareness in the finding of these students and Ms. Heath noted that there is no requirement of endorsement for gifted education at the state level.

- Director Peters asked about what the Executive Directors were doing to support AL students. Heath's answer was not particularly specific.

- Director Burke also asked about arts and PE and Ms. Heath said it was a "big goal of ours."

- Then, Director Peters asked Blanford about the word "hostile."  She said she had been in the program with her children and interacted with many parents of color at her school and had never heard or felt that was true and maybe there could be another word used.

I wish she had not said that, even if it was her experience, because then Director Blanford looked her in the eye and spoke.

He said that the point was that there were parents who felt this and used that word "hostile."He said had worked with educators around equity and the point was "not to deny someone else's reality."  I certainly understood why he said this to Peters but unfortunately, he then went on.

He said that he didn't mean to be adversarial but "you stepped out of bounds at this meeting and you need to be more respectful."  You could have heard a pin drop.  My take is that Director Blanford could have taken Director Peters aside and said this and not make a grand statement in front of so many staff but that's what he chose to do.

Luckily, Director Burke, as chair, just moved right along.

- Director Pinkham said that the assessments used have a cultural bias and that the "majority who qualified are more assimilated to the curriculum and lifestyle."  Heath said that "the team" is committed to getting more diverse kids in the program and supporting them.  President Patu chimed in that there is also the issue of learning style and that some kids don't test well.  Director Pinkham said it was good there was language in each school's CSIP on AL but there needs to be follow-up to see what is truly happening. 

I did find this from the last Friday memo about HCC.

Friday Memo - April 21, 2016

Advanced Learning Update
There has been some confusion regarding assignment of Highly Capable Cohort (HCC) students to Garfield High School or Ingraham High School IBX based on student choice, not on space availability. The confusion was reinforced by language on the Advanced Learning website conflicting with that of the School District’s Admissions Department. This impacted HCC students who, while guaranteed a seat at Garfield High School as their default pathway HC school, wanted to attend IBX/HC at Ingraham High School (which is an option only), but were told they would be waitlisted.
Once this discrepancy was brought to our attention, the 29 students who submitted Choice Forms to attend Ingraham High School during the Open Enrollment period, ending March 1, have been moved from the waitlist and enrolled. The affected families are being notified via letter. The Advanced Learning website has been updated to mirror the language in Superintendent’s Procedures 3130SP (Student Assignment).


Charlie Mas said…
They can claim that AL is in all the CSIPs but I'm looking at the CSIPs and it just isn't there.
Charlie Mas said…
Ms Heath says that HCC identified kids who are not in the program come within 5% of test scores for those who are in the program.

First, I'm not sure what she means by that. Does she mean that the pass rates are similar or that the raw test scores are similar?

I suppose this could be evidence that the kids don't need the program, but it could also be evidence that the program is ineffective. Or it could just be evidence that families who are well-served at their neighborhood schools don't need the program and don't participate while families who are not well-served at their neighborhood schools do need the program and therefore do participate.

Also, how was it determined that 5% is a negligible difference? If all of the district's student test scores are up 5% will Ms Heath say that it was a negligible difference or will she claim a great victory?
Beth Bakeman said…
The Advanced Learning update on their website is interesting. We filled out a choice form for my youngest daughter based on the information provided by the Advanced Learning staff that a spot at Ingraham was guaranteed. Since I learned last week from Enrollment that is incorrect, we resubmitted her form today, but now are penalized for not submitting it "on time", and therefore are #5 on the Ingraham HCC waitlist.
Anonymous said…
You might as well have Jerry Lewis run the board. Gerry is simply out of touch with reality and tends to often put her pedicured foot in her mouth. Pinkham should ask the casino money rich tribes to contribute to his cause, because affirmative action might have worked form him, but it's no longer effective in securing a level playing field for natives.

Wasted year
Anonymous said…
What a joke! Peters asks Blanford what he means by "hostile" and he can't answer the question, but instead shames Peters for asking it? If Blanford's going to play the race card to bully people, he better damn well put up or shut up. Barbs, insults and slogans are no way to formulate Board Policy, but Blanford seems to be full of them. And honestly, what the heck has he done while on the Board? Nada.

Anonymous said…
@Wasted year: "Pedicured foot?" Hardly.

Hiking-booted, mountain-bike-shoed, or Birkenstocked is more like it.

Don't judge a book by it's cover.

Anonymous said…
I wasn't there but agree with Blanford. Peters and anyone on the board should have enough cultural competency or understanding of racial equity issues to tha know that if people of color say they know of people who think it's a hostile environment, then white allies should not ask them to defend their comments, particularly by saying "that's not my experience." I appreciate the efforts Blanford makes to continue to point out the experience of people of color in this district. That's not doing nothing on the board. It's not easy to have to continue to be the black person bringing up those issues.

In defense
Anonymous said…
"He stated that some had said they found the HCC schools a "hostile environment."

This is absolutely true and just not limited to families of color. Those who choose not to participate in the various AL programs tend to be looked down on by many uppity parents. I think everyone would benefit if the AL programs where placed in a single facility.

Again, you can agree with what any director said but please watch your tone.

Anonymous said…
So, broad-sweeping, generalized statements that malign a group of thousands of students, parents, teachers and staff are A-Okay with some people, for sake of equity. Well, not with me. Demonizing is never appropriate, no matter who you are.

If the point is to address and remedy problems, then we need facts to determine the scope of the problem and what can be done about it. I could just as easily claim several classrooms and people have been "hostile" toward my children and myself, but how does that address or solve a problem?

"Uppity" parents. Seriously? Sorry Toe JAMS. I get your point, but you're advocating for "self-containment" which many will decry as "exclusive." But, maybe you can see why it's not such a bad thing, after all.

What other group is as constantly maligned and libeled as HCC in Seattle Schools? Blanford knows this, and cannot wait to throw the whole cohort under the bus. That's disgusting behavior for any board member, especially one who espouses a desire for diversity, but then casts it aside in favor of divide and conquer.

If Blanford is going to court controversy by accusing groups of creating "hostile" environments for others, he'd better make his case. This is about his professionalism and fitness as a Board Member not to engage in careless, irresponsible, divisive rhetoric if he doesn't have solid facts and solutions to propose aside from "tear it down," no matter what the collateral damage will be. Decisions need evidence-based and fact-based. Rumor and innuendo will not good policy make.

Anonymous said…
@Beth Bakeman, HCC qualified students that submitted a choice form on time for IBX at Ingraham were admitted and taken off the waitlist. If you have proof of on time enrollment, your child should not be waitlisted. The decision was made (perhaps begrudgingly) to not cap enrollment for qualified students, based on the language posted. Next year will be a different story. Contact enrollment tomorrow, and ask that your child be taken off the waitlist, as other HCC students were. If you do not get resolution, contact AL. Open enrollment ends May 31 (?) and waitlists dissolve. Do you have a copy of your choice form? Lesson to all - go in person to enrollment and get a date stamped copy.

-good luck
Anonymous said…
Melissa, I really appreciate you posting these notes.

I wasn't at the meeting but based on what you've written I have a hard time understanding the value of the discussion. As I’ve observed in the HCC Advisory meetings that I’ve attended, people make unsubstantiated assertions, there is no real grasped of the data that must actually exist somewhere, the discussion wanders off on insignificant tangents, and nothing much if anything is accomplished.

I can’t tell if this is done on purpose or is intentional, but it suggests a clear lack of any real leadership. I always get the feeling that the people leading these afterwards must be thinking, "boy, made it through that without too many problems", when the goal should have been, "I accomplished a, b and c and need to circle back on d."

Perhaps I'm missing something. And if I am, I would appreciate it if someone would explain. Otherwise, it seems the discussion should be about advocating for new HCC leadership. Because the lack of any real leadership seems to be the main problem.


Anonymous said…
As far as that 5% difference - that's based on a grade level test!! Students were also admitted to HCC based on a 95th percentile score on achievement tests. If the tests are grade level, there is not going to be much difference in scores, because there is a ceiling on the top scores, and students already needed to score 95% or higher to qualify. Students would need to take an out of grade level test in order to show the spread in achievement scores. You also have to wonder if those choosing their neighborhood school over an HCC program were perhaps not interested in as much acceleration as those choosing HCC.

Is T&L trying to prove the program has no effect, so it should be eliminated, when in reality it's being neglected and they are slowly eliminating a good deal of the accelerated material, which in turn results in lower achievement? Gah.

-just gah
Anonymous said…
One (likely) correction: the "Matt McQuinn" from Advanced Learning (mentioned above) is probably Matt Okun of that office.
Anonymous said…
Charlie Mas said: "I suppose this could be evidence that the kids don't need the program, but it could also be evidence that the program is ineffective. Or it could just be evidence that families who are well-served at their neighborhood schools don't need the program and don't participate while families who are not well-served at their neighborhood schools do need the program and therefore do participate."

My thoughts exactly. This data point on its own is absolutely meaningless.


Anonymous said…
For example, in aggregate, the math and English test scores for the entire Bryant population look to be with 5 percentage points of Cascadia. Presumably, parents of HCC-eligible students in the AAs of these wealthy, high-test-scoring, well-resourced schools are more likely to just send their kids to their neighborhood schools than parents in AAs of schools where the students are scoring as well on tests.

I'm not sure if Shauna Heath was being disingenuous when she said that, or if truly she hadn't considered this obvious explanation. Either way, it's not good.

Anonymous said…
I meant to say "where students are NOT scoring as well on tests."

Anonymous said…
Staff no doubt attempting to lay groundwork to get rid of self contained and just have HCC kids in neighborhood schools. Either that or to tighten the HCC standards substantially to whittle down the number of kids getting in. Either way groundwork to change the program IMHO. Peters is a backer of HCC but can't see the rest arguing to keep it in its current form.

Seen it
Po3 said…
Too bad Banda shuttered Courageous Conversations. We could use the curriculum starting at K up to the board.

Anonymous said…
Staff aren't clever enough to think that far ahead. They're constantly floundering in the wake of their own errors - release of confidential student information, overstepping the limits of their authority to change procedures and disregard board policy, implementing new tests without taking the time to read the published guidance on their use (CogAT screener), etc.

What was Stephen Martin doing there? Isn't he on medical leave?

Fat Chance
Thanks for that update, Hello. I'll fix that.

I talked to Mr. Martin and he is feeling (and looking) much better. I didn't ask but I assume his presence means he's back at work.
Greenwoody said…
Agree with Seen it - SPS staff wants to get rid of HCC and put these kids in a standardized classroom, learning a standardized curriculum, where they don't get their needs met. There are obvious problems with diversity and inclusion, but simply ending HCC doesn't solve the problem either.

And I'm sure Sue Peters did not intend to walk into Blanford's trap. Lesson learned for next time.
Anonymous said…
Results such as that 5% difference are just data--the key is in the interpretation of those findings, and that's where staff seem to have fallen down. Very simplistic thinking, suggesting a complete lack of understanding re: HC children and their needs--with a dose of denial about their own program's effectiveness thrown in for good measure. But I can't say I'm surprised.

@ just gah, you're right to wonder if those choosing their neighborhood school over an HCC program were perhaps not interested in as much acceleration as those choosing HCC. That's probably true for many. In our case, however, it was the reverse--HCC didn't offer enough acceleration, so we chose to stay in our neighborhood school and supplement. I know of others who've done the same.

Anonymous said…
JvA said

For example, in aggregate, the math and English test scores for the entire Bryant population look to be with 5 percentage points of Cascadia. Presumably, parents of HCC-eligible students in the AAs of these wealthy, high-test-scoring, well-resourced schools are more likely to just send their kids to their neighborhood schools than parents in AAs of schools where the students are NOT [sic] scoring as well on tests.

Families of advanced learners who stay at Bryant supplement like crazy. This means HCC students who stay and also students formerly known as Spectrum. Holy Kumon.

Regardless, two words for Heath to understand about SBA : low ceiling

Anonymous said…
Visual for low ceiling of SBAC:

1) 5th grade math SBAC, all students, Seattle Schools


Do you notice the spike at the end of the distribution? It looks like district wide, some 120 students maxed out on the test.

2) 5th grade math SBAC, Cascadia


Same ceiling effect with Cascadia - some 20 students topped out. At Thurgood Marshall, another 12 students topped out. District wide, over 100 students, presumably not all HCC, topped out on the 5th grade math test and only around 30 of those were in HCC programs. Similar results are seen at other grades, for both math and ELA. Whether students are in HCC or not, the tests don't show significant differences at the tail ends of the distribution. How then, can SBAC be used to make meaningful comparisons between HCC-enrolled and HCC-not enrolled students?

-low ceiling
Anonymous said…
What I noticed from reading the meeting powerpoint (thanks Melissa) is that staff claimed one of the reasons it is not able to handle HCC better is because they are too busy with Spectrum identification. Yes, it really said that. And then Melissa reports that they didn't touch the Spectrum topic in the work session which not too subtly IMHO signaled that they do not consider it part of 'real' HCC. Probably because it is not mandated by the state which has nothing to do with the history of the program here or more importantly the student need for it.

None of this is new to Melissa and Charlie and some of the bloggers here who have proclaimed Spectrum dying for years and now in essence dead. But I do find it fascinating to dissect how Downtown does a hatchet job on this and other programs it does not want to support. Wouldn't everyone be better off with a frank Downtown-sponsored discussion of the pros and cons of Spectrum or any other not-general-ed program in our schools together with a roadmap of plans or non-plans in the case of Spectrum. Why are straightforward conversations so damn hard for Downtown no matter who the Superintendent is? I am not asking this in a snarky way. I really do not understand why program reviews and roadmaps and community tie-in seem beyond the scope of Seattle schools.

Seen it
Anonymous said…
We know staff are lying when their lips are moving. Staff credibility and honesty are at an all-time low in SPS, and neither Shauna Heath, nor Michael Tolley have an ounce of credibility. Their agenda could not be more obvious. Whatever either of them say, you know the opposite is true. How long must we endure these frauds? Good Lord.

Seen it, I was sad that Board directors did not ask about Spectrum. I will say this is such a touchy subject that even asking a question would bring cries that one director or another only cares about one program or another.

I think Michael Tolley may just be on his way out. Why? 1)He did apply for another job as superintendent locally but didn't get it, 2) his name, along with several other SPS staffers, was in the e-mail inviting people to a charter rally early after the court decision. Why would Green Dot invite him? and 3) He is to speak for SPS at the Mayor's Education Summit on Saturday. Could he be aligning himself with the Mayor's ideas on public education?

We'll see.
Anonymous said…
It's great that Blanford responded to Peters. She was so condescending to challenge the fact that people of color felt they were encountering a "hostile" environment. As a white person, how can she really know what it's like to be a person of color and how terribly wrong of her to lecture an African American on how people feel. I would think that people of color are most likely more open with him about these issues than with Peters.

Helen, were you there? I was and Peters was not condescending nor lecturing at all. She was reporting HER personal experience in talking and knowing parents of color at her school. She gets to put her two cents in.

Blanford admits, though usually not publicly, that some parents of color are happy with the school.

Anonymous said…
I can see where you are coming from, Helen. I think those of us who support Peters may be doing so in part because Blanford hates HCC and the families in it so much, has said such cruel and dismissive things about hcc students, and has since long before he spoke with any of them, that it has become hard to trust the veracity of his claims about how people feel. I would feel differently if Betty Patu said something similar, for example. And I doubt director Peters would have questioned anyone but him in this way. For better or worse.

Anonymous said…
One of the issues with Blanford's statement is that if you make a claim like that and then don't follow it up with context and discussion, it comes across as trying to make a general statement--or accusation--based on anecdotal reports from a few parents. I'm not denying their experience, but it would benefit everyone for Blanford to ask more questions and understand the issues a bit more before making such generalizations.

Are there some parents of color who have found HCC schools to be what they consider a hostile environment? Apparently so, and I'm not surprised. But what does that mean? Is this a problem with all HCC schools, just one, or some? Is it widespread, with lots of persons of color, reporting this, or just a few? Are these families of kids who were actually in HCC, or families who decided not to participate because of the perceived hostility? What do they mean by hostile environment--kids/families don't feel like they fit in, or they face outward hostility--such as? Is this really an HCC-specific issue, or do you find the same thing in any school that is disproportionately white or Asian, or higher income? Does it work in reverse, too? (My non-black partner, who was beat up all the time in his predominantly black elementary school, would have called that a hostile environment!) Was the perceived hostile environment due to racist comments or actions by kids, parents, and/or staff, or due to programmatic things like curriculum, expectations, discipline, stark differences between how things were done at their prior school, etc.? Is it only persons of color who experience HCC schools as hostile environments, or do other families feel the same? Are non-HCC schools sometimes perceived as hostile environments for HCC kids? (I seem to recall some "we don't want you HCC kids at our school" cries a few years ago).

Discussion is good. We need to understand the issue in order to fix it. Just saying that some people of color find HCC schools to be a hostile environment doesn't help at all. It doesn't help us understand the extent of the problem, and it doesn't help us fix the problem. All it does make a whole bunch of parents feel that they were unfairly accused of racism. What Sue Peters said may have been a mistake, but for Blanford to imply that HCC and HCC families are racists was also a mistake. If he'd said something like "I've heard from a couple of persons of color that they find HCC schools a hostile environment, and I'd like to try to understand that issue more--get a sense for whether that's a widespread issue, whether it's unique to HCC, and so on," then I doubt Sue Peters would have responded as she did.

Dig Deeper
Anonymous said…
Blanford is caustic and shameless. And his race-baiting is disgusting. If a School Board cannot talk openly about race, when it's front and center, every day in our schools, and society, then we're running in circles.

Does he know what it's like to be in Peters' shoes? No, he doesn't. And he couldn't give a flying you-know-what. But he's black, so we have a double standard when we judge him versus Peters, right? Have we completely sacrificed meaningful discourse at the alter or political correctness? Or is there a faint heartbeat of it left?

Blanford might well have said, "Only I can talk about race," because that's the root of his "how dare you question me(?)" stance.

Blanford's a grown man. If he's going to court those controversies and throw labels around, he'd better be ready to stand behind his comments. Silencing dissent or disagreement from others through scolding and intimidation is the coward's way and has no place on the Board.

I'm disappointed that anyone would defend Blanford's caustic behavior and remarks, but I'm not the least bit surprised.

Dig Deeper, you make a good point. He has anecdotal reports and so did Peters. With Blanford being an African-American, I'm sure parents of color may have spoken more openly with him on the issue. But again, Peters has the right to tell her experience as well. It's not challenging him on what he heard but rather, what she heard.

I think you ask good questions and one that should be asked - what were the conditions for those parents who said HCC was "hostile" to them or their child? That's really important to find out and address.

I just want to say I meant Peters mistake was asking this in an open meeting rather than taking Blanford aside because I knew, in that moment, that it wouldn't get discussed thoroughly.
Anonymous said…
Just reverse the scenario.

Suppose Peters reports that parents of some girls she knows felt some high school STEM classes felt "hostile"; and then Brandford told her he had heard otherwise from parents he knew.

Would you expect Peters to stand up for her reality or would she aquiesce and "maybe there could be another word used"

Peter's subcutaneous white privilege and what are nowadays called "micro-agressions" are on full display.

She needs to spend some time in high FRC schools and in high Ell and low percentage white schools. She seems to not have familiarity with folks outside the QA/Mag centered crowd.

If she wants to do a better job she needs to listen the whole district and public at large.

Again, everyone is entitled to their perspective. That perspective certain is thru different lens of race/life experience and one person's might be more in-depth than another's.

I disagree with your assessment of Director Peters who was known before she was elected for standing up for students throughout this district.
Anonymous said…
Would Blanford object to my reality, which is that he and many SPS staff and administrators and many non-HCC families across the district are hostile to HCC and HC services and create a hostile environment for white and Asian kids who qualify? Or would he acknowledge that there's a legitimate basis for those concerns as well?

There's plenty of hostility to go around.

Why Bother

Anonymous said…
Any kid who finds themselves in the midst of a bunch of HCC kids and finds the atmosphere to be "hostile" must be quite the fragile flower.

Anonymous said…
If Peters had spent the election season saying she "wasn't going to worry about" children who enroll STEM classes when asked what the district was going to do about STEM, that we should get rid of them altogether, that parents who enroll their children in STEM classes were "uppity," then yes, I might expect her to acquiesce if someone said they didn't experience hostility. And I would not be surprised if another board member asked for some clarification.

There's just a heck of a lot of history behind Blanford's comments.

Anonymous said…
So, Peters knows people of colour who don't believe there is a hostile atmosphere within HCC for African American, hispanic and other underrepresented groups.

How is that relevant to Blandford's statement except to diminish it?

She did indeed cross a line. Maybe she hasn't read the news lately but black and brown and powerless people of all colors are tired of being told we don't know what we're talking about, we're exaggerating, things are getting better.

The demographics of HCC are really middle class and really white and asian. It's also getting bigger. I hope the directors can get beyond this, Ms. Peters needs to take the district white privilege unit that I'm sure her kids have taken. Maybe talk to her kids. That was just a big mistake on her part.

Anonymous said…
So, Peters knows people of colour who don't believe there is a hostile atmosphere within HCC for African American, hispanic and other underrepresented groups. How is that relevant to Blandford's statement except to diminish it?

It's relevant because (a) Blanford has a reputation for hostility toward HCC, and (b) Blanford was relaying what he apparently thought he heard from some community members, but unless you ask you don't know if those were their words or him putting words into their mouths.

Dir. Peters may have not been clumsy in her question, but the idea that no questions are allowed is rubbish. Dir. Blanford was overly aggressive in his response. He could have simply responded with "Those were their words, not mine. I'd need to do more investigation to really understand what they meant by that."

Anonymous said…
It's pretty clear that Peters should just feed her questions to Betty. What would the haters do then?

And, I'm mystified that Asians are seemingly not minorities. I'm sure that would come as news to them.

Again, Peters was expressing HER experience, not expressing a broad one for HCC. If she had,then she might have been out of line. People get to express their truth.
Anonymous said…
From a recent meeting at Cascadia: Garfield is projected to be 2400 in a few years and the district has had conversations about making Ingraham the default north end HCC pathway. Any speculations about how that would play out?


Anonymous said…
I'm an HCC parent and supporter and a huge fan of Director Peters, and I take Director Blanford's comment very seriously. If the district wants to increase minority participation in the program, they should work to determine why those families feel this way, and then work to address the root causes. This concern is too important (and also close to the core of what the district is trying to improve) to be dismissed as anecdotal.

I don't have an answer at the ready, but a survey of minority parents who have been involved in HCC comes to mind.

Anonymous said…
According to the latest OSPI report card, there were 2 African American students at Cascadia. There were 450 white students. 75 Asians.

Hamilton had 25 African American students (presumably not a majority HCC), 789 white students and 118 Asians (again, not all HCC for both groups).

The sample group for people described as "of color" at the northend HCC sites is very small, so I kind of wonder who they are talking to or if it's just a couple of people? Peters represents and has had kids in the northend, while Blanford's represents the southend and has a child in a southend school. So their conversations could be much different given the two constituencies they interact with. The numbers are a stark reminder of the underlying problem with demographics both in the HCC program and the segregation of our schools that the NSAP has created.

Perhaps the wording "of color" or "minority" in this context really refers to the "historically underserved" in education.

Anonymous said…
Given the expense of the IB program and that the district is not funding it, Ingraham as a northend HCC site would have to do a tremendous amount of fundraising and grant writing to be able to serve all northend HCC students in an IB program. Maureen noted that it costs $250,000 currently to run the IB program, and those costs will go up with each body added. The demands on each family to raise those kinds of funds would make Ingraham into a semi-private school.

PW, I think Director Patu might disagree with you on who is and isn't underserved.
Anonymous said…
@PW, to note, there are some schools that have gotten LESS segregated under the NSAP.
Anonymous said…
There seems to be an increase in the number of kids in the far northeast (Lake City) who are being tested for HCC...probably because of the HCC program at JAMS. I have no idea how this breaks down racially. For elementary school kids, it takes about 45 min - 1 hour each way for Lake City-area kids to get to Cascadia at Lincoln, so it is not a very attractive option for some families.

-North-end Mom
Anonymous said…
North-end Mom, would it help or hurt the far northeast schools if there was an HCC elementary site at Olympic Hills?


Anonymous said…
Personally, I feel that HCC at Olympic Hills is a horrible idea. The Olympic Hills school community is lobbying hard to keep their most high-needs kids at their school, instead of them being re-assigned to Cedar Park. These kids live in "the slice" between 30th Ave NE and Lake City Way. I don't think there is room to retain the kids in "the slice" AND house an HCC program at Olympic Hills. It makes no sense to me to cleave kids out of their nurturing, neighborhood school community to make room for another group of kids.

The new Olympic Hills building (scheduled to open for Fall 2017) was intentionally-designed to serve children living in poverty and ELL students. There is a health center as part of the school design, and there are several small group work areas for ELL, Math, and Reading instruction. It was a shock when the School Board approved plans as part of Growth Boundaries which will reassign kids coming from low-income housing areas (i.e. Little Brook and Jackson Park Village) to Cedar Park, as these are the kids the building was designed to serve. There is also a concern that City levy funding will not be available to support staffing of the health center if Olympic Hills FRL population decreased significantly, due to the planned geo-split. Putting an HCC cohort in the building would most-likely drop the schools FRL percentage to a level where it would not qualify for health center funding.

Finally, Olympic Hills has shown amazing student academic growth, particularly for students of color. The school was recently recognized as a school of distinction. The educational models used at Olympic Hills are very inclusive. When the idea of putting a self-contained HCC program in the new building was first proposed back in 2013, much of the push back was due to it not fitting in with the educational pedagogy of the school.

-North-end Mom
Anonymous said…
Thank you North-end Mom. Well and clearly stated. Would self-contained HCC at Cedar Park (with students currently slated for CP being reinstated at OH) address some of those concerns (plus provide a closer site for Lake City families)?

Anonymous said…
HCC has really dramatically varying enrollment, which makes it a poor fit for cedar park. I think it should go to Decatur, and leave cedar park as an interim location. Or let the city foot the bill to fix it up for pre-k, if they want sps space so badly.

Anonymous said…
Why is Decatur more suited to varying enrollment than Cedar Park?

Also, isn't Decatur too small for the NE cohort of HCC?

Anonymous said…
I was under the impression that it was slightly bigger. And in an emergency I believe could have a portable(or, there is a building across the field that could maybe share pcp/resource space in a pinch), which is not true at Cedar Park. Decatur is just a more flexible space.

But yes it is too small for the whole ne cohort at the size it is at now. I don't think they are thinking about splitting off the whole cohort, though.

Anonymous said…
Interesting. I thought I had seen a bigger capacity listed for Cedar Park than Decatur, but I guess that includes all the modular classrooms...?

Is it a grade-level cohort they are thinking about? Isn't it too far east for a north-end K-2 population, for example?

Lynn said…
Cedar Park's capacity is 400, Decatur's is 325.

Anonymous said…
Hmm. Well that is bigger! I would still like to see a list- x classrooms, y multipurpose space, z bathroom stalls. But I am pretty sure I would have to physically walk the sites myself to see them.

Anonymous said…
The stated capacity for Cedar Park (400 seats) is a bit of a myth. Olympic Hills is in the building now, with 300 students plus a head start preschool classroom, and they are a very tight fit. There is no dedicated library space in the building. Olympic Hills is using one of the classrooms as a library and one as a computer lab. There is no art or music room. Olympic Hills uses several classrooms for SpEd, ELL, and intervention specialists (I don't know how many support classrooms, exactly). It is possible that more than 300 kids could fit at Cedar Park if there were less need for support spaces...but 400 would be tight.

Basically, I believe the building has 11 or 12 interior classroom-sized spaces and 8 exterior modular classrooms (portables on foundations), a lunchroom, gym, covered play area and no library. There is a nice outdoor play area that was formerly a neighborhood park.

As far as flexibility goes... Attendance-area schools in the area have grown rapidly over the past 5 years. John Rogers has grown by over 140 kids since 2011, and Olympic Hills has grown by about 30. The Cedar Park attendance area includes most of the high-density housing in Lake City, some of which is geared towards families, and more continues to be developed. Attendance area schools must take anyone who lives in the attendance area, so enrollment may grow all year long. The current plans have Cedar Park maxed out at opening day, with no room to accommodate growth.

An ideal use for the Cedar Park building would be an option school or similar program, where enrollment could be capped or at least better controlled.

-North-end Mom
Exactly my thoughts JvA.

If the boundaries keep the changes proposed for Olympic Hills, then no way put in HCC. It would be a terrible idea.

As for Cedar Park versus Decatur, Cedar Park is going to have a lot of portables with no extra bathroom or cafeteria space. And I agree that Cedar Park should be an option school.

It will be interesting - given the demographics of Olympic Hills of students scheduled to go to Cedar Park - if the Board acts. I mean the district appears to many to be segregated because of housing and the district shouldn't add to it on purpose.
Anonymous said…
With every passing day, John Stanford's eternally wise decision to remove APP/HCC from neighborhood schools and put it in it's own building beats like a drum against the calamity caused ever since by splintering the program throughout the community. With the cruel joke of ALO's and the virtual erasing of Spectrum as an option, of course we get ballooning HCC populations, test prep, in-your-face arrogance and competitiveness, and all the crap people hate and complain about at their schools. HCC never belonged in neighborhood schools. So, thanks, SPS. Couldn't handled these issues worse if you tried. Everyone saw these fights coming, because they lived through them for a decade before. But who cares about history? It's not like it repeats itself, or anything.

It is truly shameful how academic needs take a back seat to social engineering and temporary feel-good "solutions" that all come back to bite every child in the rear end.

It goes without saying that John Stanford was the last Superintendent who actually gave a damn about the kids at the end of the day. All kids.

Anonymous said…
When I look at the location of W-P (it's smack in the middle of the north end, with metro service, freeway access, and field space), then consider the impending crisis of high school capacity, it is just draw dropping that it was not built as an all-draw high school. It could have potentially prevented what will be contentious redrawings of high school boundaries, and taken some pressure off Garfield. I know - woulda, coulda, shoulda - but why was FACMAC not taken more seriously? Would all this moving around and splitting have been minimized? It's painful to watch this district operate as it does.

-so tired
Anonymous said…
Take the top 100 K-8 HC and give them a site, everyone else back to the neighborhood like the 1000 HC kids who have stayed local already.

You can glorify John Stanford but he would not recognize the program and would be aghast at its demographics and the mad scramble to "get in".

We can't have a two tracks like we have now.

If parents need their kids away from gen-ed kids, they need to shell out and go private. We could use the room.

Sunset Strip
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sunset Strip, when you go over the top, it's hard to take you seriously. But thanks for the laugh. As if it would be possible to find the "top 100 HCC" kids.

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