Houston, We Have a Problem..Outside Thurgood Marshall

A reader sent me this and said there were 2-3 of these around signage at Thurgood Marshall.  I am told the Board knows about this.

I was kind of surprised to hear an HCC parent at Soup for Teachers say this: I agree with the sentiment (and I'm an HCC parent) but I wouldn't do it this way. Let's not shame kids.

Okay, HCC parents, do you think your child is enrolled in a "apartheid" program?  Here's what the dictionary says (after explained it means "a state of being apart," an Afrikaans word.

"Apartheid was a system of racial segregation in South Africa enforced through legislation..."

There is no enforced separate in HCC.  The program is open to anyone.   The program is not just one race, there are many, many Asian students (despite attempts to make that sound like it does count which baffles me.)  Of course, there is underrepresentation by black, Native American and Latino students and that needs to change.  But apartheid?  


Anonymous said…
Image is not showing...

Anonymous said…
This a horrifying and deeply offensive sticker, especially one posted near a school. IT'S NOT THE CHILD'S FAULT that they need HCC services. IT'S NOT THE CHILD'S FAULT that SPS has taken away all advanced learning options in schools and left HCC as the only other option. IT'S NOT THE CHILD'S FAULT that SPS buses HCC kids into Thurgood Marshall. IT'S NOT THE CHILD'S FAULT that SPS has never listened to multiple parent task forces and reports showing how to make HCC even more diverse than it already is.

Stop attacking children like this. This is not how we build a beloved community that is anti-racist and meets the needs of all children.

Harry Schwarz
Anonymous said…
Melissa, I want to thank you for posting this and I am also shocked at the mild reactions of "I agree, but it's just too bad they are blaming the children!" on Soup for Teachers. I also cannot believe what I am reading on that page. That is NOT how you build community and IMO not OK for a teacher. I'm feeling increasingly isolated from these activist teachers and apparently I'm just a textbook case of white fragility. Just wanted to say thanks for continuing to be engaged and I admire your response to your intentions being questioned.

Please Stop said…
Shameful that children are being shamed for their special need. Imagine being the HCC kid walking past that sign on a daily basis.
Anonymous said…
The District needs to respond, they have created this friction.

I am saddened that a day/week of solidarity intended to unify people around love and acceptance has turned into a day/week of divisiveness targeting the HCC program.

Differentiated learning all in one classroom does NOT work for these students.

Here's an idea: AL for all, K-2, where the teachers assume and expect students have the potential and ability to learn 1-2 years ahead of the current dumbed down curriculum. Universal testing in K offering extensions to those on the far end of the spectrum, universal testing again in 2nd, with HCC cohorts beginning in 3rd grade, check everyone again before 6th grade and all students enter whatever class level they are ready for in middle school.

Caveat--families who don't want any sort of academic acceleration or extensions in K-2 would need to go to option schools that take a different approach, like Thornton Creek or Salmon Bay.

Fix AL
Anonymous said…
Fix AL, it's funny, we are at a school with a high percentage of students who qualify for and usually move to HCC. In kindergarten, all abilities are still represented and most of our families would agree it is our kindergarten teachers who do BY FAR the best job differentiating materials to reach all learners. With smaller classrooms and instructional aides, I really agree that this approach could be expanded to K-2.

Anonymous said…
what is the image? cannot see it.

monkeypuzzled said…
It's a sticker on a sign that reads "HCC is still APPartheid."

This makes me really sad.
Anonymous said…
Was somebody carrying the sign? If any teacher's were seen with such a sticker, they should face disciplinary action, and they should be required to apologize the HCC community at the school.

Northender said…
I have to stay that there is more racial and socio-economic diversity at Cascadia than at my kids' neighborhood school. So why aren't people attacking neighborhood schools in Queen Anne/View Ridge/Bryant for segregation? They also offer programs and opportunities that other schools don't. Many people move into nice neighborhoods specifically based on the neighborhood school, and living within the assignment boundary guarantees attendence. HCC is open to anyone who qualifies, doesn't matter where you live.
The inequity comes long before the kids start kindergarten.
Anonymous said…
@K--smaller class sizes are coming for K-2, so this is possible, but the teachers needs some flexible curriculum and classroom supports to achieve differentiated learning because some kids in 1st and 2nd grade are just ready to move beyond number bonds and addition. Teachers at our school simply sent home stacks of worksheets for parents to use with kids who wanted to work ahead or deeper. That is the reality of classes with 25+ students and one teacher.

Fix AL
ruined message said…
The biggest irony from yesterday is my son's sole African American teacher was the only teacher of the day not wearing the BLM shirt NOR talking about any of it in the class. What stood out in the photos yesterday was a bunch of white people wearing BLM shirts. All that's on soup for teachers now is privileged white moms and a couple white male teachers posting about how much they care about black people, and if you don't totally agree with the commentary, you are racist or fragile.

This is not the way to bring people together to solve the issue. Did any of these righteous white people actually read the Seattle Times article quoting DeShawn Jackson?

“I’m black, and it’s always been ‘Black Lives Matter’ for me, but this was really for our kids,” Jackson said. “And then the message just kind of strayed away from the message I had envisioned.”

Talk about white privilege. I could redefine that as thinking you know what is better for black people than they do so you must come to their rescue. How embarrassing. And, I am SO SORRY this happened Mr. Jackson since your beautiful message was totally ruined.

Anyone who thinks the new leader of soup for teachers has turned a community building idea (supporting striking teachers) into a divisive hate-filled environment should drop out of the group immediately. Otherwise, Liza can take the divisiveness to the District and claim she is representing 3000+ people.
Anonymous said…
The anti-AL stickers and the vibe from Soup for Teachers are equally concerning. The SFT site seems to have been co-opted by activist teachers. Keep on, MW. Views of readers may not always align, but you provide a forum for all.

-longtime reader
Anonymous said…
And in line with victim mentality, the stickers are being justified because, you know, "structural racism."

Anonymous said…
There were also stickers that said "Fight structural racism Abolish HCC" and "HCC gentrified This school". They were plastered all over signs, handrails, fencing, the flagpole and the pillars. Not sure when they started showing up but they were there Monday and Tuesday.

TM parent
Anonymous said…
It is time to make a public records request from the district for all communications and emails pertaining to APP/HCC.

Anonymous said…
Can anyone post a link to the photo of the offensive sticker, for those of us who can't see it? I'd like to include a copy of it in my letters to district officials.

As well, I hope families at TM will report this to the district, as it seems to fly in the face of district policy--and state law--regarding bullying, harassment and intimidation. This type of behavior is not ok.

Anonymous said…
Wow this just gets better and better.

HEELAROUS.. file under white peoples problems

- Left of Center
monkeypuzzled said…
Yes, absolutely hilarious, the way some of us don't like things that are divisive and hateful and shame little kids who are just trying to get an education without feeling like they are agents of apartheid. I'm splitting a rib.
Anonymous said…
Wow, just wow!!! So, people complain about white fragility and the request for a cohort. Then this is how they treat HCC families when they are bussed to a co-housed location.... The district seriously thought this model would help close the opportunity gap and they're looking for other opportunities to emulate Thurgood Marshall?!!!!!

RE disaster
Anonymous said…
@SPSParent, the public records request would need to be more specific. I'd suggest something like limiting it to specific individuals involved, such as those teachers who have been particularly active in this effort.

Question: Are teachers' personal email accounts subject to public records requests, if they organized SPS-approved events through those?

Anonymous said…
Just turn HCC into what it was when it started as IPP at Madrona, a program for kids working four or more grade levels above their age group.

I'd also like to know specifically which schools are less diverse than Cascadia. I hear that on this blog but never see the demographic numbers.

Anonymous said…
Can you repost image? Not showing.

Anonymous said…
This is APPalling!
Why label, blame, and shame childen and their parents who are simply participating in a state mandated, district provided program that is open to ALL students who meet the academic criteria (which are pretty much standard if you take a look at similar programs in any school district). Why should our children and families be made to feel guilty that we are somehow keeping people down/or racist when we are at the same school, with the same teaching corps, and the same curriculum but 2 yrs advanced in reading/math? NO I don't buy that and I refuse to feel guilty or ashamed of wanting my chlld to access more advanced reading/math if he meets the criteria and is clearly capable of the work. Doesn't everyone want what is the best for their children; what will help them to be well-balanced, well educated, productive adults. We ARE NOT taking anything away from any other family or child by being in HCC. The existence of HCC is not taking any educational resources away from any other group in SPS. Why are some people (activist teachers?? other parents?? who exactly is behind this?) trying to take something away from our child/family in the misguided attempt to level the playing field. Hint - it won't work. The so-called white privileged children in HCC will still be white and still have the advantages of parental education, socioeconomic group (which largely relates to parental education), and early childhood experiences. Nobody chooses HCC in order to be segregated - they choose if because it provides the most appropriate level of instruction in math/LA for their kids. Getting rid of HCC is not going to create more diversity in schools or improve outcomes for those underrepresented in it currently. It's not the district fault, or participating families fault if these groups are underrepresented - they have tried to recruit them. SPS can't change our society/fix the problems that have lead to this, nor should it be expected to. Getting rid of HCC gets rid of an option that exists equally to serve smart/high potential but poor kids/black kids. It's called 'cutting off your nose to spite your face'.
If anything, the activists will succeed in creating an even more segregated system that what they rail against - one in which families of high performing/HCC-qualifying students who have the means to do so will flee to private schools or to the other school districts (Eastside/Shoreline) that will happily provide their children with advanced learning opportunities, without the baggage that comes with SPS. Who will that leave in SPS - that's right, predominately the very children that folks claim are being 'kept out' and 'kept down' by HCC. Be careful what you wish for.

Anonymous said…
@Outraged: Hazel wolf, Thornton Creek, Bryant, View Ridge....

Cascadia is 13% Asian, 13% mixed race, a smattering of other, 70% white

Fix AL
Anonymous said…
The Equity Committee at TM is being cited as the people who are going to fix HCC. I hope Cascadia parents are attuned to this environment as we advocate for the future of north end HCC.

On guard
NESeattleMom said…
I wonder if there are any closed circuit cameras that would show who put the stickers on the signs or other places at Thurgood Marshall. That is horrible for the HCC kids at TM. If it is teachers who did it, they should be disciplined for bullying. In my opinion....
seattle citizen said…
Appalled, you write that the "so-called white privileged children in HCC will still be white and still have the advantages of parental education, socioeconomic group (which largely relates to parental education), and early childhood experiences."

Do you have data to support your contention that HCC students come from an advantaged socioeconomic group (as a result of parental education, and providing for richer childhood experiences)? Is there F/RL data on HCC?

Are you saying that HCC students are mainly the children of wealthier parents?
Anonymous said…
Also - these stickers are bullying plain and simple. It should not be tolerated by the school or the district. Just imagine how it feels as HCC student/parent now - looking around at drop off time, not know who wants you gone or taken down a notch, who wants you to be be ashamed or pay (metaphorically) for being part of the oppressive system. Who is looking at you and your kid and just seeing a precious fragile entitled racist. Who hates your and your child for what you are. This is what many groups of people have and still do experience on the basis of their ethnicity/religion/sexual orientation. Imagine if stickers making divisive comments about LGBT students/families or ELL immigrant student/families started appearing at schools. Who would tolerate that or think it is OK. Who would do this to makes elementary-aged CHILDREN feel unwelcome in their own school. These children can not help that they score >98th percentile on IQ tests and >95% percentile on math/reading tests any more than they can help the color of their skin or their sexual orientation. Yet it's now OK to persecute and bully this group because of some educational agenda??? Bullying anyone on basis of color of skin (ANY color), religion, sexual orientation, political view, medical/special needs or ACADEMIC ABILITY should not be Ok in our schools.

Anonymous said…
This saddens me. My child was at a very racially and socio-economically diverse school for 4 years, and we absolutely loved our time there. The reason we left had zero to do with a desire to remove my child from the kids/diversity at my child's former school and everything to do with needing differentiated and accelerated learning that we couldn't get at a gen ed school. And, we tried, meeting with the math specialist and getting our child into more advanced reading groups. In the end, it was hard for the teacher to keep up with my child's needs and the needs of kids who were struggling to maintain grade-level achievement. To imply that advocating for our child means we are complicit in some type of institutional apartheid is insulting. Can we do better as a society to ensure that children of color receive a rigorous education that will prepare them for college and beyond? Of course, but how we go about doing that is far more complicated than putting up a bunch of stickers with pithy and divisive language.

Anonymous said…
@ seattle citizen. One of the key criticisms of HCC is that it is not very racially diverse (by that people mean its mainly white, Asian, and mixed race - very few African American students) and has a low percentage of FRL students. This is what I have seen reported here and folks have posted the actual statistics that support this. Note - there are gen ed schools in some parts of town that have even less racial diversity and lower numbers of FRL students. I don't see HCC parents as being particularly wealthy (perhaps most are reasonably secure though) but I do think they even if they are not necessary well off financially, a great majority of them are college-educated.
I think it is pretty well accepted /there is a lot of research that children of financially comfortable, well educated parents with a stable home life get a lot of advantageous early childhood educational experiences - reading aloud, exposure to greater vocabulary than children of poor, less educated, otherwise socially disadvantaged parents and this gives then an educational advantage that persists one they enter the school system. There is probably some luck of genetic lottery too (ie you'd expect the offspring of highly educated high IQ parents to also have a fairly high IQ) That probably accounts, in a fairly large way, for the demographics we see in HCC - not institutionalized racism in SPS, or parents seeking segregation, just the hard facts about our society, brain development etc. If we really want to level the playing field it, much of the work needs to be done outside of the school system and well before school age.

seattle citizen said…
Thanks for the responsive...response, APPalled.
I agree that it is a combination of, perhaps, genetic lottery and wealth that leads to the conditions that have a kid being advanced in ability (content and skill, both) in some respects.
Yes, it is a societal issue (why can't ALL kids have that opportunity, the wealth part that allows for enrichment?) but perhaps this is a big driver of those who express dissatisfaction with advanced classes: "the rich get richer"; or "it's a self-perpetuating loop - the children of wealth benefit and therefore GET the benefits; why can't we all?"
These are legitimate questions. I in no way condone the stickers or the attitude - it IS "Appalling" - but I understand the frustration of those who feel they are left out of the loop.

I have no solutions, but there are equity issues that need discussion.

Stickers around HCC program schools are not that discussion.
SusanH said…
I like Fix AL's idea above: everyone being taught together K-2, then advanced learning starts in 3rd grade. That's the way Mercer Island does it. Use those first three years of school to give everyone the opportunity to catch up if needed and learn as fast as they can, then figure out who needs more acceleration.

(Conversely, 9th grade is not the time to do this. Advanced level classes should exist in 9th grade, on an opt-in basis so anyone can choose to take them).
Anonymous said…
Seattle Citizen-- I agree with APPalled. " I don't see HCC parents as being particularly wealthy (perhaps most are reasonably secure though) but I do think they even if they are not necessary well off financially, a great majority of them are college-educated."

However, that being said, I know of families with single parents who are F & R lunch. I also know of families who likely just barely do not qualify for F & R lunch. They are certainly not all wealthy. Many parents seem college educated, but my observation is anecdotal. I wish the district broke down socio data better than F & R lunch status alone.

Recent research by Reardon out of Standford is pointing toward income gap as the primary determinant of the achievement gap. They state that actually black/white gap has narrowed over 30 years. Problem is that African Americans are disproportinately low income.

Poverty affects achievement scores. Why can't HCC enroll a percentage of the top scoring cogat/achievement underrep kids? OR why can't their be a program tailored to low socio/underrep kids? It could offer mentor and support services as well as acceleration and be funded more per pupil than HCC is now.

Anonymous said…
I agree. And NE schools, which IMO already have the resources to support Spectrum and HC learners but do not, would be forced to adjust, which could go a long way to alleviating pressure on the self-contained HCC that we are all dealing with now.

Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lynn said…
Poverty affects both achievement and cognitive scores. The AL department looked at dropping the achievement requirement at one point and the result would be a higher proportion of white students qualifying.

I don't understand why all the hand wringing is focused on the demographics of HCC when the real issue is that Black children in Seattle overwhelmingly grow up in poverty. That's what we should be outraged about.
Cap hill said…
It really speaks volumes about where we are in Seattle that we are stuck in a discussion about the tradeoffs between teaching kids more and closing the gaps. We've really set up a false choice for ourselves. Here's why I think that:

There is no evidence that having an AL program is the proximate cause of attainment gaps for African Americans. Supporters of "detracking" suggest that it does improve attainment but that isn't the same thing. Does anybody really believe that if we eliminated the HCC program, that attainment gaps would just close? Given that it is a small number of students relative to the general population, and that many students test in but don't attend, this seems really implausible.

Which leads me to my other point: the conversation about eliminating APP/HCC really feels like what you do when you have run out of other ideas. In a city where we have a number of companies literally changing the world, is the most ambitious idea we have to close the gaps to eliminate advanced learning? Given that we self-fund a large part of the school budget through the levy, why isn't there a proposal to increase funding to create more support programs? If that came with specific goals and accountability, I believe a lot of people could get behind this.

As I have read on this blog a number of times, there is a false scarcity issue here. AL programs in general cost less. Why not just make the program open to all who want to take the accelerated classes? (Note that this was the case at Garfield - all Honors and AP are open to all). Why throw the baby out with the bath water?

My personal assessment is that we have a broken system with really bad leadership coming from a number of directions. I will credit the teachers behind some of these things with good intentions, but really bad judgement and poor decision making. The school board, as evidenced by your coverage, is totally ineffective. And the Stanford Center is just sort of letting this happen.

There is a very reasonable solution here: keep advanced learning and widen the intake considerably. We can either hope for the teachers to start thinking like adults, hope for leadership from the Stanford center - or maybe we start targeting school board seats. Blanford is up in 2017.

Cap Hill
Please Stop said…
Given the stickers, I now support giving HCC students their own school. Students should not have to be subjected to these stickers and I question the wisdom of teachers for bringing this fight into the school.

HCC families can't win.
Anonymous said…
HCC should be for gifted kids four or more years ahead, the way it was designed when it started as IPP at Madrona.

SusanH said…
I've said this before on this blog, but I believe that if we took all the children of color who attend private schools in Seattle and dump them back into SPS, that the racial makeup of HCC would change significantly.

I live in Rainier Beach, and just within a couple of blocks of me, I know of 5 kids of color who are exceptionally smart and attend private schools: three at Lakeside, two at other private middle schools. Look at Lakeside's home page; they care deeply about diversity and work hard to get a diverse student body. When we toured Lake Washington Girls School a few years ago, they boasted that a full 50% of the student body consisted of students of color: that obviously is a higher percentage than the city as a whole.

I'm just saying that if African-Americans are underrepresented in HCC, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are all languishing in under-performing schools.

Get Real said…
The real “opportunity” gap occurs because; (1) the teachers in these schools have to deal with disruptive students that can’t be suspended; (2) because the requirement for remedial focus brings down the targeted teaching level; (3) because instead of getting $45x28 students=$1260 for classroom supplies, they are lucky to get $20x10 students=200 because students just don’t bring it; (4) because for example the science books that are supposed to be in the library just aren’t there; (5) because instead of having 75% participation in the instrumental program they have 10% participation; (6) because there is no money for after school chess and Lego Robotics and programming because parents don’t have the money to sign up their kids or drive them to tournaments; (7) because these kids don’t have piano skills to show off at talent night because they don’t have private music lessons; (8) because these kids don’t have parents that can help them with science or math night; (9) because teachers don’t have room parents and volunteers to help.

These are all real issues with equity of opportunity in Seattle schools that lead to problems with equity of outcomes. To fix them, the district needs to cap the class sizes at the high FRL schools at 15 through 5th grade. It needs to staff full-time music teachers and librarians and science and math aids. It needs to provide free after school music lessons and chess and robotics classes. And it needs to provide block grants to teachers for supplies at these schools.

With money, the real issues of “equity of opportunity” could be fixed. But it’s going to cost a lot of money.

On the other hand, getting rid of “Spectrum” and “HCC” and other “tracking” doesn’t cost any money. That may make some people feel better, but it’s not going to make any meaningful difference in fixing the real problem.
Anonymous said…
These stickers first appeared on Saturday when there was CogAT testing going on at Thurgood Marshall, so they were apparently aimed at families bringing their kids to get tested for Advanced Learning.

I suspect these came from outside the Thurgood Marshall community.

Sad at TM
T2 said…
If the issue is racial equity, has anyone looked into why McDonald, Bryant, John Stanford, Salmon Bay, Catharine Blaine, Green Lake, Lawton, Loyal Heights, North Beach, Queen Anne, Thornton Creek, View Ridge, Wedgewood, and West Woodland don't have more racially diverse student populations? Is there any question that there is horrific inequity between Seattle's public schools? Do people really think it's fair the things that some of the kids are being offered but not others?

This focus on HCC is crazy given how inequitable the resources are between pretty much all the elementary schools in the district. Seriously. Go visit the school libraries at a bunch of different SPS schools. If you love books and kids I pretty much guarantee that one of the libraries you visit will have you on the verge of tears. Utterly inequitable. SPS needs to fix the problems with its HCC admissions system, yes, but it's only a tiny fraction of what needs fixing.

And it's not just the libraries! It's after school class offerings, it's access to art, access to counselors/librarians/PE teachers, recess monitors, whether the kids are allowed to to have recess when it's raining or have to sit at their desks, whether you get in big trouble for saying the word gun or no one really cares, whether you lose recess time as punishment or not, whether the kids who start out at your school with you in kindergarten and you make friends with stick around or whether you have to make new friends every year because families are pulling out of your school the minute they can or have to to try for something better. The list goes on.

I just don't understand why the debate is focused on HCC. It's such a small part of what's going on that affects such a relatively small number of the district's more than 50,000 kids. Why so much focus on HCC? The district (and the state) has WAY bigger problems in terms of equity of opportunity for all students to learn and thrive.

Anonymous said…
HCC is not racist. It is not an apartheid program. Saying so is profoundly offensive to the victims of actual apartheid and demonstrates a profound ignorance of what apartheid was, how it worked, and how HCC works.

HCC parents and teachers have been pleading for improvements to the way children are identified and placed in the program to help make it more diverse. And parents more broadly want SPS to reverse their attack on advanced learning in neighborhood schools. This is all easily solved if we restore and improve Spectrum (or something like it). HCC enrollment would drop and more kids of color, especially Black kids, would get included in advanced learning.

Let's keep in mind the true racism here was when SPS went after Middle College. Where were all the anti-HCC folks when that was going down? Where were they when SPS imposed racist standardized tests? Should I go on?

As to Soup for Teachers...don't leave, don't quit. Push back. Gently, but firmly. Don't let a small group of people nursing deep personal resentments take a great community - or an important issue like racial equity - and hijack it for their embittered agenda of crushing HCC and the kids who need it.

Finally..."white fragility" is a ridiculous concept used to gaslight people. Conversations about racism are hard. You're not "fragile" if you find them hard, you're a human. And you're not "fragile" if you disagree with someone. Disagreement is OK as long as we are committed to working it through together - and committed to ending racism.

Harry Schwarz
Anonymous said…
@T2 - agreed. The only reason, I can see, that the emphasis is on HCC is that this is something the district can "do" about it. You can't legally force neighborhoods to look be representative of the braoder demographics of a city, but you can eliminate a program that creates bad optics from a public relations perspective.

1) Can anyone see the image? It comes up on my screen.

2) Cap Hill, please consider running against Stephan Blanford next year when his term is up. Contact me if you want just to talk about what a campaign would look like,etc. Happy to help.

3) Get Real, very helpful, cogent thoughts. No matter what, Advanced Learning is not the big or real reason for the opportunity gap.

Sad at TM, I am aghast these got put up during testing.
Anonymous said…
I can't see the image - I tried 3 different browsers (Opera, Chrome and Firefox). I did see it on the Soup for teachers page.

I agree with SusanH, I know several exceptionally bright HCC-eligible (by testing) black kids who are not at all well off financially. They were in public school. These kids have all been offered full ride scholarships to local private schools which were accepted. I applaud Lakeside and Seattle Country Day for their generous scholarships for these students in need.

For this reason, I do not believe that the racial disparity stats represent all the data. I also believe that the district is inflaming the divisiveness as an opportunity to eliminate AL services to students because it makes it easier to manage capacity and allows them to spread those kids through the district to raise the test scores. That's how I see it.

Also, I would urge you to write to the Board and the Superintendent and ask them to 1) make sure those stickers are gone (they could on the block where the school sits) and 2) how polarizing this topic has become and the district needs to act.
Anonymous said…
Melissa, I still can't see the image. I get this error when I click on the .jpg:
"403. That’s an error. Your client does not have permission to get URL"

Again, it makes me sad to see the vitriol directed at HCC students and their families. We just care about our kids and want an appropriate education. And no, we sure don't get any special benefits from the district. If anything, we get less and we give more. For evidence of that I'll cite the two moves my son had to make which entailed setting up two new schools. One of those schools, Lincoln, has had 500-700 students for now 6 years without ever having a real playground.

I remember the Board meeting - I think in November 2013 - when HCC parents were desperately trying to get their kids grandfathered for 8th grade at Hamilton, instead of being moved during a sensitive time in life to JAMS which would be a brand-new school in an old building. Every other group lobbying for relief that night got it, except the HCC kids: Pinehurst and Native American kids were given an interim home at Lincoln and then a permanent home at Eaglestaff, Wedgwood kids were taken out of JAMS and assigned back to Eckstein, a boundary issue in the south end was agreed upon, etc.

HCC parents put up with a lot in order to get an appropriate education for our kids. Many students go to HCC from schools with much richer PTAs, more active volunteers, better buildings, etc., but they do it because it's necessary for the kids' education.

Anonymous said…
Can't see image - it appears to want you to signin to gmail to view.

Sadly, I think IMO is on the right track - there's something afoot here at the district level, who as usual, seem to be seeking the lowest common denominator to handle highly complicated issues - how much simpler would Enrollment/Capacity planning's life be without having to factor in HCC pathways etc?

Anonymous said…

Could you please explain what you meant by this?
"kids were taken out of JAMS and assigned back to Eckstein"

I'm sure some parents tried to get their kids back into Eckstein through open enrollment, but 7th and 8th graders were geo-split from Eckstein to JAMS.

-North-end Mom
Anonymous said…
North-end Mom, if I remember correctly, the district was proposing the Wedgwood attendance area attend JAMS rather than Eckstein. Due to a large response from parents, that idea was dropped and Wedgwood remained in the Eckstein area.

Anonymous said…
IMO- "For this reason, I do not believe that the racial disparity stats represent all the data."

I agree as well. I also know of at least four African American kids who are attending private schools. They are kids of African American parents who are middle class and/or educated, or affluent. There is a larger picture.

If they take away a public school program that largely serves asian & white bright middle class kids, those kids will move to the suburbs or if they can afford it private school. It does not fix the root cause of the issue.

I also believe high poverty schools get much more in funds than schools with low F & R lunch. The district is spending more on lower income kids. We just are not spending enough & there are some issues that need a broader economic solution than SPS can provide. If we do away with achievement tests and it still does not help diversity within HCC, I think creating a targeted scholars program for bright low income and/or African American kids is a solution. More money and supports could be provided to these students than what they would receive in HCC.
Northwest Owler said…
Melissa, the images are linking back to a Gmail account. Here's part of the first image's path: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/... (etc). They probably need to be hosted somewhere or uploaded to Blogger.
TY, the district may spend more on F/RL students (via LAP and Title One) but that is very restricted spending and so does not allow for enhancements that the school/district wishes it could provide to those students.

I redid the photos; can you see them now? (I feel like I'm in a Verizon commercial.)
Anonymous said…
Yay! There they are. I mean YUCK!

Anonymous said…
Actually, one of the images may still have a broken link but the top two are there. Disturbing images to be sure.

Anonymous said…
Add University Prep to the list of schools recruiting/enrolling students on scholarship.

big picture
Po3 said…
What efforts to increase diversity in HCC has the district made in the last few years?
Abby said…
They've effectively dismantled Spectrum and ALO and tried to get principals to stop allowing walk-to-math to try and bore the heck out of "gifted" kids of absolutely every demographic type in an effort to convince their parents to think about requesting AL testing for them by the 2nd or 3rd week in school so they can then get up on a surprise announcement next Saturday morning weekend test to see if they qualify for a second test so they can turn in their request to get their kid into whatever program they qualify for during the 2-4 week open enrollment window when you can try to select a slot at a school that offers some form of AL but you're not guaranteed there'll be room at the school and, oh, fooled you! you have also sign up not just to be at the school with the program your kid qualifies for and hope they have room for your kid but your kid won't actually be given any different school work unless you actually opt them into the separate program that has the more rigorous school work that they tested as qualifying for unless you sign them up to be in that program at that school that might not have room for them and then after you send them there you find out Spectrum is a joke and the kids aren't doing anything different than gen ed anyway and the teachers only teach to the low middle and NOT EVERY KID IS IN THE LOW MIDDLE.

Fix advanced learning.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Abby said…
By which I mean, SPS is actively trying to keep everyone out of AL, including children of color. If they wanted children of any racial makeup to be in AL, there wouldn't be a long list of crazy deadlines (October 8, test Saturday, follow up test, open enrollment, etc.) to jump through hoops in order for SPS to meet the educational needs the kids had regardless of the color of their skin or whether or not their parents jumped through any of the countless hurdles SPS sets up between children and their educational best interests.
Anonymous said…
Abby nailed it!

Anonymous said…
I just want to say, I appreciate so much the outpouring of support for HCC on this post. This was an incredibly offensive thing someone did. The sticker combined with the "detracking" aspect of the BLM day, things some school board members have said against the program recently, and the generally confrontational tone of some Soup for Teachers discussions about HCC--together these have made me feel like things are completely going off the rails, that people are deep into a narrative about HCC that just isn't true. This discussion shows that people here aren't buying it. So thank you for speaking up today! I hope you'll share your thoughts with the school board too.
Anonymous said…
@ APPalled said "Doesn't everyone want what is the best for their children; what will help them to be well-balanced, well educated, productive adults. We ARE NOT taking anything away from any other family or child by being in HCC. The existence of HCC is not taking any educational resources away from any other group in SPS."

Unfortunately the above statement is untrue and especially untrue at Thurgood Marshall. When SPS moved the HCC (then APP program) from Lowell to TM the socio-economic make up of the school changed considerably. The influx of the new, more affluent community resulted in TM losing Title 1 funding and all the supports previously provided to economically disadvantaged kids and families. Did HCC families intend that to happen? Of course not - and many in the HCC community expressed concerns to the school board and were ignored at the time. But the reality is that neighborhood kids suffered due to loss of funds, counselors, and supports. - NP
Anonymous said…
Here in Judkins we just peel the stickers off and dispose of them. It's graffiti and it's litter. Don't fight your battles by defacing the neighborhood. So passive aggressive. It's pot stirring, and it's ineffective. And it's litter
- 98144
Anonymous said…
I don't understand why they put HCC at TM if it caused those families to lose the supports they need? They were trying to do the same in north seattle at Olympic hills but the community hopefully stopped the horrible idea. Is this bean counters in capacity planning not caring about realities of program delivery and school culture in the buildings?

Capacity mismanagement
Anonymous said…
The district benefits from the test scores going up significantly in the school as well as not having to fund the school as much :-(

Anonymous said…
Ah...so the HCC kids need to boycott testing.

Capacity Mismanagement
Charlie Mas said…
This is part of the reason that the experts from the University of Virginia strongly discouraged the District from co-housing HCC with a neighborhood school and, if the District had to co-house, to co-house with a school with similar demographics and achievement.

But did the District do that? No. The District went exactly against the recommendations from the experts and put HCC into a predominantly Black school with high poverty and low achievement.

The problem is manufactured by forcing these two contrasting populations together. There is no claim that HCC in the north-end is apartheid, is there? No. There isn't. The objection isn't to HCC; it's to the sharply contrasting demographics.
Charlie Mas said…
Po3 asked "What efforts to increase diversity in HCC has the district made in the last few years?"
Lots. Check their web page.
Anonymous said…
Capacity Mismanagement,

It would be great if more HCC kids would boycott testing. There's nothing they need to prove and no effort is spent on test prep beyond how to run the test on the computer. Many do opt out. But it gives the program more zero scores which are averaged in, then used against the cohort. See, they say, kids in the cohort score lower ON AVERAGE than eligible kids who stay at neighborhood schools. Therefore, they say, the cohort isn't a needed intervention...

open ears
Anonymous said…
One of the main misunderstandings about giftedness and gifted education is that it is entirely about academic success. It is a collection of services and a teachers affinity for providing those services for students who have been diagnosed with needing that intervention.

It does not mean that simply saying 'we've increased rigor' or 'this is honors for all' meets the needs of gifted students. These uninformed reactions entirely miss the point. The point these statements do make is that those individual have purposefully allowed their rigor to lapse. Who should really take the blame there?

These are students who need cognitive interventions to help them understand and grow into themselves. That's it. The byproduct of these gifted diagnoses often translates into academic success but it is not the root of giftedness.

This core misunderstanding then creeps into an equity perspective because if you think that gifted education is merely advanced coursework without the targeted interventions then of course it looks like preferential treatment of some sort.

It is not. If a teacher can't believe in their students who are needing these interventions then how is that any different from a teacher not believing in the abilities of students of color?

There is a brutal lack of support and absolute silence to defend these students when they and their program is attacked. That is a true shame because when we talk about solidarity and every student in every class every day there is a glaring omission.

I have asked my students to tell me a time that they were praised for being who they are as gifted students. None of them could answer except for awards they earned. Never a compliment or encouraging statement about who they are. In fact none of them even knew what HCC or Spectrum was there to do for them. That it is a service specially designed for them. That they have intrinsic human value and that it is okay to love yourself for being gifted rather than made ashamed by adults for who they are. Adults who don't believe in them but will reap the rewards of their intensity, focus, creativity, and especially their forgiveness. The beauty of the students I've gotten to work with is that they will forgive and 'understand' even when they are being wronged.

Mr. Theo Moriarty

Former Lowell parent said…
The problem with hcc being mixed with gen ed kids is the lack of focus and attention paid to the gen ed kids. We started at Lowell when it was a mix of app, gen ed and special needs.
It seemed as if the app kids and their parents took up all the oxygen in the room. The focus of the school was on the app kids and their needs. I'm not talking about any additional district resources but local administration energy and pta funds went disproportionately to the app needs.
I and most of the gen ed parents were happy when the app kids got their own school, so they could thrive in an appropriate environment and our kids too.
Unfortunately we are now at Washington where it feels as if there is a two track system, my kids feels like a second class students because the hcc kids get the best teachers.
Former Lowell parent said…
I found it funny that the district and administration did not inform the Lowell community last year about any of the dates for testing into hcc.
Of course the students at TM should not be subjected to any kind of negative politics, but in many schools around the district there is a feeling that the process is not fair for all.
Anonymous said…
Former Lowell,

I find your comment SO disrespectful to the committed and hard-working Washington teachers who are pretty stellar staff-wide. HCC kids get the best teachers? A total of nine teachers out of the whole staff? Yes, they are good, but so are the rest of the staff. Again the perception that HCC kids get something special, something more, rather than just an appropriate education for where they are academically.

open ears
Scott said…
Those stickers have been up for years in our neighborhood, before HCC was at TM. They used to say APP is APPartheid, presumably for Washington Middle School. Even if you don't agree with that sentiment, there's little arguing with the one that said "HCC gentrified this school".
Anonymous said…
Mr. Moriarty,

Thank you, once again, for speaking up. I was close to tears reading your comment. You are one of the rare teachers who really "gets" these kids and sees that they do need something different. Not better, but different. I've been impressed over the years by your ability to engage students in meaningful discussion and inspire them to finally challenge themselves. I also greatly appreciate your understanding of the complexities of feelings these young people are experiencing as they try to find their way in a world in which they are often out of sync, and in which they face multiple internal, external and often competing pressures to excel, fit in, be a role model, be a regular teen, etc. Their road it much tougher than people on the outside often assume, and it's good to know that at least one teacher truly understands them and thinks they are worth fighting for. Thank you.

Anonymous said…
@ Scott, HCC didn't gentrify the school, the district did. Don't blame the cohort.

Can argue
Anonymous said…
Gentrified - renovate and improve (especially a house or district) so that it conforms to middle-class taste. make (someone or their way of life) more refined or dignified.

So people think gentrified is a bad thing? It seems like that's what the American dream is all about.

End PC
Lynn said…
I can argue with it. An accurate statement would be "Seattle School District used HCC as a tool to gentrify this school". HCC parents don't make program placement decisions. They just put their kids on the bus to whichever building is currently housing the program designed to meet their academic needs.
Anonymous said…
I also have to respond to Lowell parent. I found this comment offensive: "It seemed as if the app kids and their parents took up all the oxygen in the room. The focus of the school was on the app kids and their needs. "

I was a Lowell parent at this time and this statement is NOT true. The gen ed kids were added into Lowell when half of the APP cohort was sent to TM and the three programs were only at the school together for two years so everyone was new to having three programs in the building. I went to virtually every PTA meeting and was very involved. Parents and staff worked really hard to try to make the school work. PTA funds were NOT disproportionately spent on APP. Funds were spent so that every kid got to go on field trips, the 5th-grade camping trip, etc, regardless of the parents' ability to pay. APP was the biggest program in the building, but the entire PTA worked hard to make every kid feel welcome and included.

It seems like you want to feel slighted, no matter what.

Anonymous said…
These conversations always have the same pattern. Attacks are thrown at HCC/APP/AL, some of which are based on gross misperceptions, then efforts are made to explain the valid reasons for HC services. Same discussion, different day. Everyone offers their opinion on what needs to change. Go back 10 years and you will realize not much has changed. It actually seems worse, rather than better. The attacks are more open while services are declining.

Debbie downer
"Unfortunately we are now at Washington where it feels as if there is a two track system, my kids feels like a second class students because the hcc kids get the best teachers."

What's your proof of this? (I've heard this charge before.)

I agree with Debbie downer.
juicygoofy said…
Another nod to Mr. Moriarty,

I cannot write as eloquently as ex-Hamiltonian did previously, but my sentiment is the same. Thank you.

Current HIMS parent
monkeypuzzled said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
Thank you Mr. Moriarity. Where I grew up gifted ed was under special ed. I believe it is still in that district, which is a small district. The teachers had endorsements in the area. My brother was in gifted education and went to a public school that focused on gifted education. It was transformational for him. He finally was engaged in learning and developed friendships with similar peers. He had been acting out in class previously in the general ed classroom. The elementary ed teacher used to bribe him with quarters to stay in his seat!

You obviously have much more knowledge than some people who are at our district level and some teachers. I really appreciate you sharing your understanding of what gifted education is about.
Thank you,
another HIMS parent.
Anonymous said…
Pasting a teacher's comments (um...are you posting on school time??):

"I think we're missing an underlying factor here. Teachers make assumptions about students of color and overlook these students from day one! They don't design culturally responsive lessons that engage all learners. The assumptions we make as educators can prevent learning. It's not about ability. Its about color. This is why teachers are "activists." I know that's meant to slander, but that's a badge of honor for me. I work hard to correct these errors. For many teachers it's a case of ignorance and a fairly easy fix. For others, they've dug their heels in the sand and say stupid things like, "I don't see color," the most common of all microaggressions, and the most insidious, imo. The people who fall in the latter category need to go! I was accused of shutting down conversations because I take the stance of being correct. Yes. When you try to move the conversation away from race, you are wrong. Period. All data proves you wrong. There is no discussion at that point. At that point you are using typical white fragility tactics."

Signed: Floored
monkeypuzzled said…
>>When you try to move the conversation away from race, you are wrong. Period. All data proves you wrong. There is no discussion at that point. At that point you are using typical white fragility tactics.<<

Yikes. Trying not to engage in hyperbole here ... but this seems undemocratic.
Anonymous said…

I wonder how many times a day this teacher delivers the message to students, whether overtly or inferred: You are wrong. I take the stance of being correct.

Signed: Floored
Stevens parent said…
I find the level of work required at Washington to be at a subpar level for sixth grade. Many of the kids ( gen ed and HCC) had to write about a scientist. The HCC kids needed to write 7 paragraphs and the gen ed kids nedded to write 2. My son did this level of work in 4th grade and should be expected to perform at a higher level.
My assumption is not that there is a " two track system", but the level of expectations is low for the kids in gen ed at Washington.
Erik Tanen said…
I was the pta president at Lowell when the app kids went to Lincoln. I don't think any resources were disproportionately allocated.
I know that the pta in years earlier tried to include the gen ed and special needs kids. But, I did hear from many parents after the split that many of them felt like second class citizens. This may be because the App was the largest group of kids and the gen ed was new to the school. I think it was and is a challenge to incorporate different programs into one building and have them integrate into one student body.
But we should not get off message in condemning anything that would shame kids for conditions out of their control. No kid should feel like they have done something wrong just by going to school.
Floored, before I delete that comment (and comment on it myself), where did that come from? I don't see it among the comments (or missed it.) Those are some fairly heavy-duty comments.

Thank you, Erik, for your on-the-ground assessment.
Anonymous said…

I simply cut and pasted it from above, since the original was unsigned Anonymous. I didn't want it to be deleted, so I cut and pasted it and signed it. Since I can't confirm its source, I would have no problem with you deleting my comments. Maybe the original poster can enlighten us as to its source.

Signed: Floored
JLardizabal said…
APPalled, you don't see institutional racism in how SPS administers HCC, so here are a few examples: HCC is an opt-in program, so you have to have super engaged, English-speaking parents to even know about the testing and application deadlines. SPS could simply test all of its students in order to overcome this barrier. SPS also allows private re-testing for those who don't test in the first time. It costs about $500 and is almost always successful, but private testing is only available to families that can afford it. Eliminating private testing would also reduce inequality in the program.
monkeypuzzled said…
It's not true that private testing is only available to those who can afford it. SPS pays for all FRL students, though they certainly don't publicize that fact. Otherwise, I agree with you, JLardizabal.
Lynn said…
Melissa - I just mentioned your name on Facebook to direct you to this comment.
Anonymous said…
The content was copied directly from a 10/21 Soup for Teachers post. Name purposely left off. I think it is important to hear how some teachers are discussing issues.
Anonymous said…
I too wept at the words of M. Moriarty.

This part in particular had me shaking and in tears:

"Adults who don't believe in them but will reap the rewards of their intensity, focus, creativity, and especially their forgiveness. The beauty of the students I've gotten to work with is that they will forgive and 'understand' even when they are being wronged."

I was jolted by the ominous single quotes around 'understand'. The word sent a shiver up my spine thinking about what these forgiving, focused, creative, intense "students of yours" might 'understand' about people like me, who wronged them, by saying the cohort should shrink to its original target group of kids working four or more grade levels above their peers.

What if one of these kids is my doctor when I'm old and they find out I advocated for changing the program, that I wronged them?

Will they 'understand' as they 'forget' to tell me about the new life saving genetic treatment?

You spin a scary tale M. Moriarty.

All of the above is my opinion and/or satire.

Umbrella Bird
JLardizabal, you are mistaken. Private testing for appeals is free for F/RL students and has been for years. You are correct that it is not easy for parents who don't know about the program to access it. A great deal of that problem stems straight from schools that do not do the work - for whatever reason - to let parents with students would could use it. There are teachers and principals that don't want to lose bright students and/or don't believe in the program so they take it upon themselves to make a decision that parents should make.

We would not eliminate private testing because you would eliminate more students of color (likely thru appeals testing) AND you would get fewer twice-gifted kids.

So to the anonymous comment by a teacher. Not good.

I am going to start a different and difficult thread on that.
Lynn said…

Yes - the district should screen every student.

If private testing is almost always successful (and where's your data on that?) it is most likely because when the scores from private testing aren't high enough to qualify, parents don't use them in an appeal. Who files an appeal with IQ scores below the 95th percentile? That's what it would take to make private testing less successful.

Eliminating private testing would increase the number of children who need services but can't access them. Is that what equity looks like to you?
Anonymous said…
Wow, the sooner people get their kids out of the SPS mess the better. I'm looking at on-line solutions or other districts. Sorry to bail on SPS, but this will not end well for any white student.

Bye Bye
Outsider said…
I would say definitely don't be angry at the "correct" teacher or delete the comment. It's a waste of time to be in an echo chamber. You learn the most about how the world really is when people fly their true colors. The comment has a very authentic ring to it.
Anonymous said…
Jill Geary says this:

I think it will be very difficult to get a culturally responsive self-contained HCC program that supports true and deep diversity across races. I would welcome an example in a different District with similar demographics. The percentages of kids by race in itself has an identity impact.

Then this
The stickers are meant to be offensive, no? They are statements of rage. The rage is part of the conversation. To ignore it will likely result in same ol', same ol' seems to me.

I read this as pretty open opposition to self-contained HCC.

Outsider, my issue with the teacher comment was to authenticate it, not because I didn't like what was said. I try to to that to protect my readers, not to limit discussion.

TC, I have heard Director Geary discuss HCC and I believe you are correct.

So offensive rage is okay? Good to know.
Anonymous said…
@JLardizabal, unless things have changed, the district also sends letters to the families of all students who meet the achievement threshold, informing them about the opportunity to apply for the cognitive testing component. This means you DON"T have to be "super engaged" to know about the testing and application deadlines--you just need to read your mail. Assuming they send the letters in appropriate languages, then, families of students who may be eligible for the program should be aware of the opportunity. Whether or not they know enough about the program to be interested is another issue, as is whether or not they think it's a good fit for their child (socially, academically, philosophically, logistically, etc.).

As to private testing, there's no evidence that private testing is almost always successful (people usually only submit qualifying scores to SPS, since there's not much point to submitting lower scores), and there are valid reasons to allow retesting (e.g., students with special needs, learning disabilities, ADHD, anxiety issues, etc.). As noted previously, free private testing is available to FRL students.

While testing all students might help reduce disparities (or it might not, if it identifies proportionally more whites and/or Asians), testing is (a) expensive; (b) requires parental permission, by state law; and (c) is a waste of time, since students not meeting the achievement requirements are not eligible for the program in the first place.

Anonymous said…
So much going wrong here.

First, wtf Jill Geary? Your job as a board director is to listen to parents and then help find a solution that works for everyone. It is NOT OK for you or any other board member to endorse offensive attacks on SPS children. Ever. For any reason. Jill Geary owes the entire city an apology.

Second, HCC parents have been working for years to address inequities. To erase that history is to mislead people about the truth. HCC is currently the only form of advanced learning left in the district, which is a problem. Restore real advanced learning in neighborhood schools and a lot of this problem gets solved.

Third, let's have a discussion about "white fragility." This is a flawed, gaslighting concept used to intimidate white folks into shutting up and endorsing one particular individual's interpretation of things. Every parent should be obligated to center their own child's needs. That's a good thing and needs no apology - because if that doesn't happen, those children get neglected, maybe even abused. But what should happen is people recognize that your child isn't alone, that other kids have needs too, that racism is real and must be addressed, and that we can do that while also advocating for our own kids' needs. If anyone tells you that you're wrong for advocating for your child, they're wrong. You would do well to step far away from such a person and no longer engage them.

If someone says you're a racist showing "white fragility" merely for advocating for your child, don't respond with anger or defensiveness. Just calmly yet firmly point out that they are wrong, that anti-racist work must never mean we neglect our own children, and that a beloved community such as the one MLK fought for is one where we work together to eliminate bias, hate, structural racism, and ensure everyone's needs are met. Keep persisting with that calm, loving, firm approach and message and you'll be able to handle whatever ridiculous gaslighting nonsense is thrown your way.

Harry Schwarz
RT said…

Is free retesting also available for the achievement tests, or only the CogAT tests for FRL students?

I support appeals because there could be a variety of reasons why a student, say a kindergartner, might not do their very best on their first tries at 4 tests (math achievement, reading achievement, and two CogAT sub tests) in a single year, but may very well be qualified with a single retest.

But I didn't realize the district would pay for new achievement tests as well. If they do, that's great. If they don't, that's clearly discriminatory against FRL students.


Anonymous said…
all re-test are free for frl kids.

no caps
WMS/GHS mom said…
Just a quick comment about Washington. There seems to be fairly open hostility toward HCC coming from the principal (who eliminated Spectrum services there in the name of equity), and I wonder what will happen next year with the opening of Meany. Based on neighborhood demographics, WMS may then have even higher proportion of kids of color; but since it looks like they will continue to house the HCC program for the area, there may be even more division between them and the 'gen ed' kids. It may feel to kids that there is even more stark two-track or two-tier system, with little support for the HCC kids.
Anonymous said…
I saw Director Geary say on FB she is interested in a program in Virginia that pulls the gifted kids out one day a week for deeper learning and special projects. If she thinks that's going to cut it then the HCC community needs to wake up and be ready to move to private or out of district.

Fix AL
Anonymous said…
Does anyone know of any districts with similar demographics as SPS using models that successfully identify, recruit and serve historically under served (F & R lunch, African American etc) gifted students? Are there any districts more successful with cohort models? Jill Geary seems not to think so according to statement above. I would like to learn if that is correct.

I have been reading about gifted education models, advantages & disadvantages of various models. As one comparison (not stating this is the best model) where I grew up they use a pull out once per week model grades 3-6, kids are transported to school that provides specific gifted curriculum & resources. Information about the program is very clear and posted on the website. It is referred to as a "Gifted & Talented" program. They proudly display the activities and projects of these students on the website. The rest of the week they are mainstreamed at their regular school. In middle school they take honors classes & high school AP. But demographics are different than SPS & it is a very small district.

1) Here's what Geary should have said (caps mine), "The stickers are meant to be offensive, no? They are statements of rage. The rage is part of the conversation."

After "no?" she should have said:

"And they are offensive to the students in the program and their program. But the context is it comes from a point of rage."

As for pull-out programs, they don't really work. I researched those years back and what ends up happening is the kids who stay behind in class wonder what they are missing and parents of those kids wonder and everyone is once again unhappy. (Not to mention that one day provides no real continuity in learning.)
Anonymous said…
The problem is that SPS is not identifying correctly for HCC. Until they do, the problem will look racially excluding...because it is! Whether it's housed at TM or somewhere else, the real injustices remain.

This is about research and best practices,which SPS is not following.

From David Lohman, author of CoGAT:

Nonetheless, inferences about aptitude that are sometimes made from test scores
presume that examinees have had similar opportunities to acquire
the knowledge and skills that are sampled by the test. I refer here,
not to the case in which inferences are made about innate ability,
which are never justified...The issue is particularly important when test
scores are used to identify minority students who do not currently achieve at an exceptional level but who are most likely to develop academic excellence if given
additional assistance. Such comparisons are best made by compar-
ing a student’s scores on the relevant aptitude test to those of other
students who have had similar opportunities to develop the knowl-
edge and skills measured by the test. Elsewhere (Lohman, in press),
I demonstrate how one can simultaneously compare a student’s
scores to three reference groups (the nation, the local population,
and a subgroup within the local population) using a few simple pro-
cedures on test scores that have been entered in a spreadsheed.

Anonymous said…
I grew up in Spokane and they had (have!) a pull out system. I was repeatedly referred based on test scores in the 99th percentile, but for some reason the teacher and parent surveys didn't qualify me. I felt really upset by that, and I had seen the questionnaire I "failed" and it to me it seemed sexist, things like "is able to sit still and pay attention" mean someone has developmentally appropriate social skills not that they aren't intelligent, and it doesn't mean they aren't bored. http://www.spokaneschools.org/Page/27473. Melissa is totally right about this.

wrong direction
Anonymous said…
All of this talk leaves me feeling a bit helpless for my kids, should HCC go away. I can't afford to send them to private school, without jeopardizing our ability to help them pay for college later on. Our neighborhood school is consistently under performing. For some kids, if HCC goes away, a return to their neighborhood school might mean less rigor, but the enrichment clubs and the like are still there. For us, we would be returning to a struggling school. I need to write the School Board.

Anonymous said…
My child did pull-out for random "projects" in a non Spectrum SPS elementary school (around 10 years ago?). Only later did my child inform me it meant missing science!! Hello? Our child moved to the APP cohort not long after. Is Geary's pull out suggestion meant as a replacement for what we have now, or as an alternative for AL qualified children remaining in the neighborhood school? Can anyone provide the additional context?

Lynn said…
They are using appropriate procedures to identify students for HCC - which is a program designed for students who are intellectually gifted (98th percentile) and academically advanced (95th percentile). As various people have explained to you over and over again, even the CogAT author says this. If the district wanted to discover students with potential, your preferred identification methodology would be appropriate. New services would then have to be designed for these students who are not academically advanced. Nobody believes Title I schools are going to be interested in creating special programs to support for their highest-achieving students because they are busy putting out other fires.
Jet City mom said…
Although I do not think qualifications have changed for frl for years.
You can be making below Seattle median income and not qualify for FRL, or be able to afford private testing.

Our kids had private iq testing that was actually covered by insurance because it was part of a study at the UW for high risk kids.
The results were interesting, but we did not use it to enroll in the gifted program, ( although one child measured above 160)
I agree that many parents do not know about the qualification process, and we would not have known either normally.
It is fascinating to me now to look compare how they did in elementary school, with how they did in high school and college, and how they are doing now as adults years afterwards.

Good lord Stevens parent, I would agree that seems rudimentary.
In 6th grade at Summit, all kids had to write and perform a short speech in character ( without notes)- about 6-7 minutes.
Many kids did choose scientists of some type.
I really appreciated the culture of performance Summit provided.
The arts were a huge part of the school, choir, dance, drama as well as studio arts.
They learned a lot from being in front of an audience.
But of course that sort of experience can be hard to quantify.
I have no idea what Geary means by this for HCC:

"I am going to Nashville the beginning of November and will attempt to see what they are doing. It appears they serve their kids with a weekly project pull out class that is in every school."

Does she mean for all kids who qualify for AL? Don't know. It is NO replacement for HCC.
Lynn said…
The program she referred to in Nashville is a pullout for gifted and talented students within each elementary school (they don't leave the school) to work on special projects once a week. No mention of how their needs for enhanced and accelerated instruction are met the other four days a week. She seems to think this is a substitute for HCC.
Anonymous said…

"various people" can keep explaining, but unless it is based on research and state law it is incorrect information. The state law part about "age, experiences, or environments" draws from the research of Lohman. SPS is actually REQIUIRED to identify by using correct norming, which they currently are not doing:

WAC 392-170-035
“…students who perform or show potential for performing
at significantly advanced academic levels when compared
with others of their age, experiences, or environments.
Outstanding abilities are seen within students' general
intellectual aptitudes, specific academic abilities, and/or
creative productivities within a specific domain. These
students are present not only in the general populace,
but are present within all protected classes according to
chapters 28A.640 and 28A.642 RCW.”

monkeypuzzled said…
In what context did Geary make those remarks, does anyone know?
Anonymous said…
Nashville? Tennessee does not come to mind as a place of best practices in education. Where are people getting this info?


MonkeyPuzzled, at the Soup for Teachers Facebook page thread about the sticker issue.
Anonymous said…
"As for pull-out programs, they don't really work. I researched those years back and what ends up happening is the kids who stay behind in class wonder what they are missing and parents of those kids wonder and everyone is once again unhappy. (Not to mention that one day provides no real continuity in learning."

Thank you Melissa. I am guessing there are ALOT of variables as to how well they work. My child was moved to HCC in middle school. The once per week day of enrichment that provides a special gifted curriculum is more than what she received in her ALO elementary. I am reading about a Maker's Faire kids attend etc. It sounds really great also reading about specialized gifted curriculum and resources provided at that district. Besides a cohort of similar kids, I am not really seeing gifted services in middle school in Seattle. Why not opt in honors classes in middle school plus a gifted pull out one day per week for gifted kids? Elementary could offer opt in spectrum. Acceleration could be treated separately. Gifted curriculum offered one day per week for students who qualify. I don't think acceleration alone is great either.
monkeypuzzled said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said…
A top ranked public school that serves advanced students in a citywide magnet school, grades 7-12:


The district serves 35,000 students, and has a significantly higher AA population than SPS. Excellence is out there.

-looking around
Anonymous said…
FWIW, glad you are here. Every time I post this from Lohman, from the same paper you keep quoting, you do not return to the thread.

Suggestions for Policy
How can educators implement a policy consistent with the principles outlined here?
1. What are the purposes of the TAG program? Is the emphasis on T (Talent) or
G (Gifted)? Is the goal to identify and serve those students who demonstrate unusually
high levels of academic ability and accomplishment? If so, then traditional procedures of
identifying and serving academically "gifted" students can be used.
Poor and minority
students will be included in this group, although not at a level that approaches their
representation in the population. Attempts to achieve greater minority representation by
using nonverbal tests and other measures that are not good measures of scholastic
aptitude will indeed include more ELL students in the program. Unfortunately, these will
not in general be the most academically promising students. On the other hand, if the
goal is to identify the most academically talented students in underrepresented
populations regardless of current levels of academic attainment, then procedures like
those outlined in this paper will be more successful.

FWIW, are you advocating for the development of a new program specifically for talent development minority and ELL students? Qualification for HCC is designed to be based on current academic achievement levels.

Misquoting Lohman
Anonymous said…
I have written to several gifted and talented researchers to learn if there are successful cohort models that do a better job identifying and serving historically under-represented kids such as African American, Free & reduced lunch in similar (demo etc) districts to Seattle etc. I will report back if I have anything to share.

Anonymous said…
Misquoting Lohman,

Lohman's research informed state law but is not the state law itself. From the WAC that I just referenced above:

WAC 392-170-035
“…students who perform or SHOW POTENTIAL for performing
at significantly advanced academic levels when compared
with others of their age, experiences, or environments."

Sounds like SPS has some work to do since it currently
excludes these students and is not following state law.

Anonymous said…
Program Delivery: Research and best practices recommend Continuum of Services for HC, and state law REQUIRES it. The service/placement must depend on the needs of the individual student.

Jill Geary does not need to visit another one-size-fits all program. The school board directors should concentrate on understanding and applying HC state law to SPS. The services should range from in-class differentiating to clustering to pullout to self-contained--depending on the (sometimes changing) needs of the individual child.

WAC 392-170-078 Program Services

"Districts shall make a VARIETY of appropriate program services available to students who participate in the district's program for highly capable students."

WAC 392-170-080

"Each student identified as a highly capable student shall be provided educational opportunities which take into account such student's unique needs and capabilities."


Anonymous said…
Misquoting Lohman-- I have also thought development of a new program tailored specifically to the top % low income & under-rep students is something our district should be offering. Like rainier scholars. It would enable the program to provide additional services beyond acceleration that HCC does not provide, such as a culturally relevant curriculum, lower class sizes, support services etc.
Anonymous said…
There's an "or" there, not an "and." They don't have to be included. We should, but that will grow the size of our advanced learning program, which is unpopular in the blogosphere.

Anonymous said…
From the Rainer Scholars website:

"Our Scholars

We now have 600 scholars in 14 cohorts, with a new class of 60-65 students added each year. After successful completion of the 14-month Academic Enrichment phase of Rainier Scholars, more than 95% of students in middle and high school are enrolled in private, parochial or public Advanced Learning programs, with approximately 40% public (APP/Spectrum, Challenge, Discovery, AP/Honors) and nearly 60% private (independent, parochial and boarding school placements)."

Anonymous said…
Actually,they do need to be included.

Your parsing of wording led to the wrong conclusion.
"Or" means both child profiles should be included,
and the "or" was used to distinguish between the

It is up to the "blogosphere" to determine who
keeps getting excluded illegally from HC.

FWIW, say what? It's up to the blogshere to determine who keeps getting excluded illegally from HCC?

Are you being sarcastic? (If so, don't do that because it's very hard to discern in written form unless you are Fran Lebowitz.)
Watching said…
The stickers need to be removed and the board/district needs to condemn this action. There is no reason students should be subjected to those stickers on a daily basis.
Anonymous said…
It's not parsing. It's basic statutory construction. If a statute means to include both groups, it says "and." My guess is it was meant to allow flexibility in identification practices, ironically, but we would need the legislative history to tell us.

I would love to see a wider variety of advanced learning programs. Rainier Scholars is very small, selective, and incredibly intense. Maybe a lower key version.

Anonymous said…
"Unfortunately we are now at Washington where it feels as if there is a two track system, my kids feels like a second class students because the hcc kids get the best teachers."

I have to agree with this comment. Not the part about the teachers necessarily, but definitely the two track system. We toured Washington Middle School a few years ago and the emphasis at the general parent meeting and during the tour was clearly on APP (and at that point Spectrum). NO mention of General Ed classes - AT ALL. When I asked, the people leading the tour looked at me like I was crazy and said they had no information on that. Another person suggested I go find a counselor - none were available. We chose not to enroll our child at Washington. -NP
Anonymous said…
Had they put in "and" it could have excluded either group who isn't both.
But sometimes I don't know what the meaning of is is.

I'll be the first to admit I'm not a lawyer. The point is to let
people know that the potentiality of students is part of the law, unlike
what some posters on this thread implied.

SPS is diverse. One demographic keeps getting
identified in higher proportion by far than Eastside schools
with similar demographics, Historically oppressed groups are
highly underrepresented.

Even for a non-lawyer reading HC law on OSPI, it is very
clear that SPS is not following either the intent
or mandate of HC law.

Many people in the community have made it clear that this will
no longer be accepted or tolerated. That's good news.

Anonymous said…
For more about White Fragility, please read below regarding an upcoming talk at UW which is already at capacity:

White Fragility
Wed. Oct. 26, 2016 7:30 p.m.
Kane Hall 130, UW Campus

Robin DiAngelo, ’95, Ph.D. ’04
Director of Equity, Sound Generations, Seattle/King County

White people in the U.S. live in a racially insular environment. Because of this environment of rarely challenged racial perspectives, a stamina needed to tolerate racial stress is too often underdeveloped. Dr. Robin DiAngelo conceptualizes this lack of stamina as “White fragility.” White fragility triggers a range of defensive moves including: argumentation, invalidation, silence, withdrawal and claims of being “attacked” and “unsafe.” While these moves are effective at blocking the challenge and regaining our racial equilibrium, they are also damaging to people of color and prevent the development of skills we need to create a racially just society. Dr. DiAngelo will overview the socialization that leads to white fragility and provide the perspectives needed for more constructive cross-racial interactions.

DiAngelo has numerous publications and just released her second book, “What Does it Mean to be White? Developing White Racial Literacy.” Her previous book (with Özlem Sensoy), “Is Everyone Really Equal: An Introduction to Social Justice Education” received the Critics’ Choice Award by the American Educational Studies Association. Her work on White Fragility has appeared in Alternet, Salon.com, NPR, Colorlines, Huffington Post and The Good Men Project.

Anonymous said…
Copied from earlier:
"If someone says you're a racist showing "white fragility" merely for advocating for your child, don't respond with anger or defensiveness. Just calmly yet firmly point out that they are wrong, that anti-racist work must never mean we neglect our own children, and that a beloved community such as the one MLK fought for is one where we work together to eliminate bias, hate, structural racism, and ensure everyone's needs are met. Keep persisting with that calm, loving, firm approach and message and you'll be able to handle whatever ridiculous gaslighting nonsense is thrown your way.

Harry Schwarz

10/21/16, 2:42 PM"

seattle citizen said…
There have been a couple comments here that indicate that HCC is an escape from "underperforming" schools. This sort of comment certainly doesn't help HCC supporters make their case. Those who believe that HCC is an escape might think about the optics of such a statement.
Anonymous said…
From Hillary Clinton's Dinner Speech last night:
"And there are a lot of people in this room tonight who themselves, or their parents or grandparents, came here as immigrants, made a life for yourselves, took advantage of the American dream and the greatest system that has ever been created in the history of the world to unleash the individual talents and energy and ambition of everyone willing to work hard."
Anonymous said…
Thank you Mr. Theo Moriarty, you have nicely summed up what HCC is. My child is 2E, he definitely needs what he gets as being part of the HCC program. The reason we moved him from his neighborhood school is precisely because they could not, would not treat him as highly capable. He is thriving and having fewer behavior issues because the HCC staff see him as capable of doing the work and challenging him. There was almost ZERO differentiation (except walk to math which we was his least problematic class) and resulting unengagement. We saw we the best choice was to move him away from his neighborhood school even though it involves a 45-minute transit time by bus, loss of community and friends he's has since preschool, etc. HCC parents take the decision very seriously and is not a vanity or a light decision.
I am appalled by the treatment of the HCC community by SPS. Shame on whoever came up with those stickers.
Parent of 2E
Anonymous said…

Are the people in this "one demographic who "keep getting identified" undeserving as you imply?

Have you ever truly listened with an open mind and heart to the stories of members of this "one demographic" - perhaps they are members of your community, leaders in your church, neighbors....

This "one demographic" has suffered from racism also, and I find it unacceptable if you continue to target this group.

- One of the "Ones"
Maureen said…
I can't speak for other families, but one of the things that annoys (not enrages) me about HCC is that it's not clear if it actually identifies the students who have different learning needs, as opposed to those who have become advanced because of the way their families focus on academic content. This is related to the issue of students being identified as being at the top of the cohort when they are five or six years old without ever being tested again. My tiny sample of two APP qualified kids informs my opinion.

My older kid could have tested in at any time with an empty stomach and no sleep because he was that kind of kid. He could also learn in pretty much any academic environment. He is a pretty conventional and adaptable learner (like me). My other kid could easily have spent half of the test sitting under the table glaring at the kid next to her because they were humming, or maybe her socks felt funny. Her MAP scores were all over the map (ha!). But she is the one of my two who really benefited from a flexible, advanced learning environment.

They were both lucky enough to spend nine years at a diverse K-8 that (more often than not) challenged them and worked with their strengths. If they had been at a different school, we probably would have scraped together the $500 (gulp) and had her privately tested and she would have joined the cohort.

The idea that the fact that people who are poor enough and have it together to fill out the FRL forms can get free testing (if they know and can find a tester before the deadline and understand this might keep their kid from being suspended in Middle School...) makes this system equitable in so many peoples' eyes is a real head scratcher for me. Even the fact that some years or some schools now have tested every kid still does not make me believe that the kids who really have different learning needs are the ones who end up in the cohort 100% (or maybe even 48%) of the time.

I do agree that the private schools are really smart about pealing off the smart and, even perhaps gifted, kids of color who could be at Hamilton/WMS/GHS/IHS and that impacts our stats. Good for them! Good for the kids. But that doesn't justify the vanishingly small percent of black and ELL students that the SPS system identifies as being qualified to benefit from an advanced learning environment.

I have real sympathy for all of you who just want your kids to like school. Like me, you read to your kid at bedtime, you build baking soda volcanoes, you go to the beach and turn over rocks. You hurt when your kids are stuck sitting quietly in a class of 28 while the teacher works with the ten kids who can't wrap their minds around multiplication. I get it. But I'm not convinced that HCC is the answer to this problem.
Anonymous said…
I agree with the quote from Harry Schwarz.
NP- "anti-racist work must never mean we neglect our own children, and that a beloved community such as the one MLK fought for is one where we work together to eliminate bias, hate, structural racism, and ensure everyone's needs are met."
That being said, Rainier Scholars is doing great work. The program needs to be expanded. How fortunate Seattle is to have this program. I wish they also included low income white kids as well.
Lynn said…
Maureen - the advanced learning office arranges for district psychologists to do the appeals testing for low income families.

As for your concern that HCC isn't finding the truly deserving students, an IQ of 130 is generally accepted to indicate giftedness. Not every gifted student has other obvious differences - but they're still gifted and still in need of accelerated and enhanced instruction.
Anonymous said…
How would eliminating the HCC program as it is, solve the problem you so nicely described?
Maureen said…
Hmmm, thanks for asking....

I do not equate a cutoff IQ of 130 with requiring a need for "enhanced" instruction which I would interpret as being something different than accelerated. Some high IQ kids are fine in conventional classrooms. Other lower IQ kids would benefit from "enhanced" instruction, We know this because some parents of high IQ kids report that they are fine in their neighborhood schools and other kids with IQs of only 115 kill themselves because they find school so awful.

Sorry, but he whole concept of test score cutoffs gets me a little ... annoyed.

I'm not sure I want to "eliminate" HCC. I just think there should be a focus on potential, as opposed to academic attainment. So maybe the first step would be to eliminate the achievement test (SBAC/MAP) element and have all 3rd graders take the CogAt (is there an oral version at that level? If so, use that to eliminate issues of dysgraphia/lexia and lack of parent support.) Shift the focus in GenEd K-2 classrooms to something more like Montessori (or old-TOPS: play to learn) that provides support for those who are behind in skills, but engages all of them in multiage groups and provides them with materials to read and write at the level that works for them.

Are there other evaluation methods that are valid for learning styles/needs?

Is there away to include kids who are single subject "gifted?"
Maureen said…
Maureen - the advanced learning office arranges for district psychologists to do the appeals testing for low income families.


Does "low income" = FRL?

And please define "arranges"
Lynn said…
Yes - I meant children who qualify for Free or Reduced Price Meals. I have no idea where or when the testing takes place. I do know that district psychologists administer the tests.
Anonymous said…
Lots of families don't want to identify as FRL and therefore don't fill out the forms.

I don't know who Harry Schwartz is quoting, but I included the info about white fragility because people didn't seem to know the definition of the term. -NP
Wondering said…
Does the term "white fragility" apply to poor white people? What about other minority populations that made their way out of poverty? Do they get to join the "fragility" club?
Anonymous said…
Why do people assume no ELL or immigrant families in HCC? Plenty of the Asian families and others are first generation in the US. There are many students who have waived services or been exited from services because their strong intellect/academic abilities have made their status as English learners secondary. But a lot of these kids whose parents have endured much to bring them out from Russia, Poland, Romania, Iran, etc...just show up as more white people when they check the box.

open ears
Anonymous said…
One of the Ones,

I'm referring to the one demographic of highly educated parents
not living in poverty. If you misunderstood my reference,
I'm glad to have been able to clarify.

Anonymous said…
Maureen, your sour grapes and your sample of two and your perpetuation of myths about giftedness are so tiresome year after year. When will you let it go? The Advanced Learning office regularly looks at the test scores of the cohort and they find that yes, even the ones who tested in as six year olds continue to test high as they age through the program. Of course there are a few who don't, and they tend to quietly make other school choices at transitions to middle school or high school to schools that are a better fit.

open ears
Marc said…

You state, “But I'm not convinced that HCC is the answer to this problem.” As a white middle class Seattle resident, I see HCC as the only answer to the problem.

I say this because I went to school in this state in an above average district without an HCC program, and when I got to college, I realized I was years behind. And I had graduated from high school at the top of my class.

In general, the top performing kids at elite colleges have either gone to selective public schools (i.e. HCC) or elite private schools where the instruction was appropriately targeted for their abilities.

In Seattle, many of the high achieving moneyed elite go to private school. In Seattle, many of the high achieving minorities get scholarships to go to private school. But what about the high achieving white (or Asian) middle class Seattle student that can’t afford private school?

Based on achievement scores, my child in first grade was reading better than 30% of high school freshman. What the heck is she supposed to do for the next seven years if when she gets to high school everyone is going to be lumped together in the same English class?

I fully support spending extra money on schools with high levels of FRL students. And I would support adjusting the test norms in such cases, which is apparently now happening. But getting rid of HCC across the district will do nothing for those students. At the same time, collocating HCC at a high FRL / minority school has to be terrible for the self-esteem and sense of community for the gen ed students and is outrageous. If I was a parent at such a school, I would be irate. The Garfield Pathway and HCC at TM should absolutely end.

Charlie Mas said…
And all of this is why John Stanford moved APP out of Madrona and into Lowell where it did not have to share space with a general education program.

With the placement at Thurgood Marshall, the District repeated the mistake of the placement at Madrona. This mistake was made due to a lack of institutional memory and an abundance of arrogance.

Elementary HCC should be placed in stand alone buildings specifically to avoid these issues.
Anonymous said…
The "issues" are amplified when sharing space in highly impacted schools but
the "issues" exist as long as SPS continues to defy state law and best
practices in both identification and program delivery.

The essence of the problem is that SPS is perpetuating the "Matthew Effect"
and HCC is Exhibit A. The neighborhood assignment plan is tied for Exhibit A.

The good news: Many, many people are mad as hell and aren't going to take
it anymore. From your pulpit in Virginia, you may not have gotten that memo yet.

Anonymous said…
Open Ears- There are also single parents (white) who have kids in the program, including someone who had a child as a teen mother. Shares a bedroom with the child, and has a roommate in a 2 bedroom apartment on Aurora. My husband and I are first generation middle class. You can't tell socioeconomic history or status by looking at our "white" kids.
-a parent
Anonymous said…
SPS is focused on an African American achievement gap more than an achievement gap of income. Research that has demonstrated the black/white achivement gap has narrowed past 30 years, while an income achievement gap has grown wider nationwide. Reardon (Stanford)
But additional research shows that the gap varies between whites/blacks depending upon where they live. So in affluent cities (Seattle comes to mind), the gap between blacks/whites is wider. This is likely because whites are richer in these cities. Important research with wide implications for small town, rural America, small cities versus large rich cities.

"Richer places have bigger achievement gaps than poorer places, all else being equal--which is quite striking and disturbing, since you'd hope that those places that have the most resources would be most effective at reducing the gaps, but in fact they seem to have the largest gaps," Reardon"

Anonymous said…
P.S To my last post-- Consider that 30% of families send their children to private school in Seattle. The achievement gap is likely much larger in Seattle than public school data would suggest. So the middle class white & asian kids (& maybe even lower income) left in public school become the focus and there is increased tension between the classes.

Anonymous said…
Open Ears and others, if you have to test in to get into the program, why not have students test in annually to remain in the program?

Students on IEPs are continually evaluated on the need for services. HCC kids aren't. It's these sorts of anomalies that cause people to question the need/legitimacy of HCC services for the majority of the kids in HCC. I am not referring to true outliers who are 4 grades ahead as in the IPP program. - NP
Anonymous said…
NP-- Don't you agree that spectrum and/or single subject honors which would offered advanced curriculum to many kids should be an option? Why dismantle it and focus on only serving low income students who are academically lagging and extreme outliers? Don't dismantle programs, add programs. ALO does not work. Middle class kids will (continue) leave SPS if they are not offered an appropriate education. Marc's point is important. "I say this because I went to school in this state in an above average district without an HCC program, and when I got to college, I realized I was years behind. And I had graduated from high school at the top of my class."
-Bring back spectrum.
Charlie Mas said…
While you may believe that Seattle Public Schools is in violation of state law, that is not the opinion of the District nor is it the opinion of those charged with enforcing the state law. I have read what you have written and your rationale, and I find the District and the OSPI to be the more credible parties in this difference of opinion. If you think the law is being broken, I suggest you call a cop.

While you may not believe that Seattle Public Schools is following best practices for identification or program delivery that opinion is not shared by the District nor by leading experts in the field. Again, I have read your rationale and I find the District and the experts to be more credible.
Charlie Mas said…
It is worth noting that HCC is a program for children who are highly capable, as demonstrated by their cognitive ability and their academic achievement. While there may be students who, if given the opportunity, would also be highly capable, the program is not for them.

There is a clear inequity here. The solution to the inequity is to provide students with opportunities, not to deny access to the program to some qualified children based on the presumption that they are only so capable due to privilege nor to put children in the program based on the presumption that they were denied opportunities and, if not for that denial, they would be highly capable.

That solution is inappropriate because we don't know what supports any students received or did not receive and we certainly have no way of determining what the students capabilities would be in some alternative universe in which they either did or did not benefit from those supports. The program exists in this reality to meet the real academic needs of real students with actual capabilities - however they were acquired.

It isn't difficult to find people, including experts in the field, who disagree. That doesn't make them right and it doesn't make the district, the OSPI, and all of the other experts wrong. It just means that there is a difference of opinion.

In the end, I feel that the District and the OSPI are on more defensible ground when they rely on actual data instead of conjecture to meet actual needs instead of presumed needs.

The way to make HCC more representative of the districtwide demographics is to provide students with a baseline of preparation, support, and motivation and to support students capable of working beyond the Standards in all schools so they all have a fair opportunity to reach their potential and demonstrate their capabilities.

Any other initiative would be misguided.
Anonymous said…

"Open Ears and others, if you have to test in to get into the program, why not have students test in annually to remain in the program?"

And that's why I mentioned above that, yes, the Advanced Learning office looks at achievement test scores of the cohort every year. They stay high. Why spend district resources to run cognitive tests on them all year after year? What a waste! Do you think their intellect will somehow diminish from year to year? These kids with brainy educated parents living in print and experience rich verbal environments, who attend schools with accelerated teaching? Like Charlie said, however they got there, they are there. It's the appropriate placement.

Why do you need them to annually prove anything?

open ears
kellie said…
@ Maureen,

The experience that many of us had at the height of the choice system, simply does not exist any longer and is just not a fair comparison.

At the height of the choice system, ANY school with a waitlist had a degree of stability and the capacity to provide differentiated learning that just doesn't exist any longer. Trying to compare the HCC situation of today with the differentiated learning that you received in the past is unrealistic and unkind.

Under the choice system, a school with a wait list had benefits that no longer exist. Those schools had the opportunity to plan staff continuity and had stable hiring and stable budgets. Parents invested in a community, often for multiple children and for a decade. Reasonable class sizes and students that were knows between teachers meant that there were many advanced learners who not only did "fine" in their schools but also thrived. The choice system was an era when schools actively worked to engage and retain their advanced learned because the benefits were great both to the school as test scores and to the stable teaching staff.

In other words, any school with a waitlist had the benefit of a cohort.

Fast forward to today and you have buildings that are way past their capacity, classrooms sizes that are way too big, emergency staffing every October and ... a culture of capacity management. For many schools, with a long history of serving advanced learner, this is a now a message of you-don't-belong-here.

My two children are separated by just two schools years. The experience between my two students could not be more different. Child #1 had a very stable and predictable experience. Child #2 had a K class of 30 students and overloaded classed every single year.

I completely understand why these families desperately want a cohort. It is the only benefit that they are getting while they are actively counseled out of their neighborhood school.

kellie said…
Advance Learning and Capacity issues are deeply intertwined. School districts are designed to operate best at 95% capacity. That is when a district can really focus on education and not just providing a seat.

When districts are under 95% capacity, they tend to actively build multiple types of advanced learning programs in order to engage the middle class. During the years when Seattle had excess capacity, Spectrum was the solution places at many under-enrolled schools and it worked.

Once a district goes above that 95% capacity mark, there is no longer that need to engage the middle class and the focus is on the legal obligation of providing a seat.

Then you have a more delicate dance, because when you actively no longer engage the middle class, they leave and you have much bigger problems. The private school enrollment in Seattle is a real part of the equation. It is thriving and growing. No advanced learning conversation is completely without that demographic information.

From my capacity management standpoint, it is not surprising that once the district starting running closer to 120% capacity, that it became suddenly OK to just criticize advance learning. Criticizing the program is free. Creating multiple programs that serve multiple types of needs is expensive and ... requires the capacity to do it.

Fortunately, there is some significant excess capacity in SE Seattle. If there was any political will to work on the problem, there is the space to start creating multiple programs.
kellie said…
One last comment about all those kids that don't look-like they belong. Since it is still OK to bully and tease smart kids, many of them get very good at hiding their smarts to look-normal.

I think it is important to give kids the benefit of the doubt and the benefit of the belief that there is a reason they are there. Are there likely kids who don't belong. Of course, basic statistics tells you there were will be a few outliers who test in but don't fit. The outliers should not define the conversation.

Are there also kids all over the district who are at their current schools, because their parents faked an address? Do we need to have annual address verification?

Kids on IEP have to re-qualify every few years because there are significant dollars that go with the IEP. If there were equally significant dollars that went with HCC, you bet there would be re-qualification.

Anonymous said…
Just an anecdote for those who talk about testing HCC each year. I have to admit I was curious about my own kid. She was identified as APP (now HCC) in her kindergarten year and moved to Lowell. We left for private school after 5th grade at Lincoln because of - well, all this. The instability. But I was worried we wouldn't be able to afford it or she would hate it and I wanted to keep option to return and be with her friends. Once you leave the district, you have to test back in. So I signed her up for district test in Sept of 6th grade (so this is less than 3 months from being in APP). We went on Saturday, about a month into her time at the new school) and took the test. Obviously no prep or anything - she came straight from a soccer game and took it in her uniform. The test was poorly administered, directions were read incorrectly then corrected, the room was really crowded and LOUD. We got the results a few months later - she qualified without ANY doubt. Nearly perfect scores. Maybe they actually can identify in Kindergarten.

Just my sample set of one, but thought I'd share. However, we didn't return. Despite the huge cost and sacrifice for my family to pay the ridiculous tuition, it is beyond worth it. I keep hoping that SPS is going to get it together, but it doesn't look like it. Also, like Kellie, our older child had a far more stable experience.


Anonymous said…
@ NP,

HCC kids ARE continually evaluated on the need for services. That's what teachers do. All year long, year in, year out. Quizzes, chapter tests, unit assessments, project grades, etc. You get a kid in your class who isn't up to the work, you start the process of counseling them out. If a kid is consistently unable to perform at the expected level or unable to keep up, it doesn't do them any good to be there, so they leave. You don't need an expensive test to tell you that a placement is wrong.

If your concern is that HCC program rigor has eroded over the years and they are now serving kid who aren't quite as highly capable, the solution is to make the program more rigorous. Then there will be natural attrition as kids and families who find it too challenging will leave.

kellie said…
IMHO, elementary enrollment has stabilized. There will be some more growth but that growth will be much slower and more predictable.

The switch from the choice program to the assignment program, created a hockey stick like growth in all the parts of town where demand was greater than supply. If you go back to the very old enrollment reports and look at the last year of the choice plan and you simply add the enrollment plus the waitlist, that is now the current enrollment at most schools.

This is a good time to start building new AL programs that are different from HCC. But there is no reason to dismantle HCC in order to create additional programs.

So Kellie, maybe you can help me out, from a capacity management standpoint, what would happen if HCC were dismantled (and Spectrum for that matter even though it's no longer self-contained - what would happen if all those kids got sent back to their neighborhood schools?
Anonymous said…
Montlake and McGilvra and a lot of Northend schools would have no space for them. Kellie and FACMAC have been clear on this.

If they magically fit, the kids would dominate class discussions, derail teachers' lessons with pedantic corrections and slightly OT minutiae, and find unproductive ways to deal with their boredom, or completely check out, do the minimum academically, and read all day to avoid standing out (many gifted girls). Formerly happy gen ed kids would shut down, because, why bother? Teachers will have so many more IEPs and 504s to properly accommodate as all the 2e ADHD, autism spectrum, asynchronous disgraphic, and high anxiety kids are put back into regular school.

Or we could acknowledge that there is value in having a program where teachers take all this in stride as part of the territory.

open ears
Anonymous said…
anyone else see a parallel between fwiw and that teacher's post about white fragility tactics? i'm right because i'm right and i will repeat that or shut you down if you try to tell me otherwise. the grandiosity is appalling.

the only reason app went to tm was to bolster mg-j's bogus resume. test scores sure did go up for the school no doubt.

no caps
kellie said…
From a capacity management standpoint, dissolving HCC would have exceptionally painful consequences for many who would least expect these consequences.

During the closures, Meg Diaz did an exceptional analysis of out migration that was a direct result of the closures. In other words, Meg was able to document that the closures "worked" because a large segment of the schools being closed did not move students to other programs but rather moved families out of SPS to either private or other districts.

Rather than return to a school where families know their student won't receive services, because they already left that school once, families would leave the district and they would most likely leave in significant numbers, just like the closures, with all the bitterness that created.

The southend would suffer from this brain drain and there would likely be subtle impacts at many schools, with a likely increase in poverty as more middle class families left. Please note, there has been almost no enrollment increase in the SE, despite growth in all other parts of Seattle. This stagnation would likely increase.

However, in the northend there would be draconian boundary changes and geo-splits of at least 2,000 elementary students, all being moved one school slightly west to make space for these returning HCC students. This number could easily escalate to 4,000 elementary geo-splits depending on the timing.

As the heat maps clearly show, HCC enrollment is directly related to all of the capacity hot spots. With the greatest hot spot being in the Bryant-View Ridge-Wedgwood zone. In order to draw boundaries so students could return and boundaries to accommodate students no longer leaving, many schools would have their boundaries be a few blocks from the school.

You would see a dramatic decrease in walkability and a dramatic increase in bussing and bussing costs. Bussing for HCC is FREE as it is a state mandated program with extra dollars for bussing. This new bussing requirement will be under the general transportation funding.

At the moment, HCC is the only thing holding capacity together in the NE. The NE has always exported students. Returning students to the NE is like pouring kerosene on fire.
kellie said…
The capacity consequence of dissolving Spectrum would be insignificant, because Spectrum has effectively already been dissolved. The vast majority of students in a Spectrum program are also at their attendance area school.

Anonymous said…
And the giant bump in HCC that resulted from the Spectrum dissolution has happened and has now stabilized. The giant grade cohorts - 3rd and 4th - will age out soon and the school will fit just fine at WP. So why the urgency over Decatur?

open ears
Lynn said…
It's not just elementary schools - middle school feeder patterns would have to change. Pulling 223 HCC students out of JAMS would require moving Wedgwood from Eckstein to JAMS. 273 HC students would return to Whitman.

Ballard would have to absorb another 50 students per grade, Roosevelt another 60. Garfield would lose almost 400 students and Ingraham almost 250.

Washington Middle School would be 17% white and 64% FRL next year without HCC students. The FRL rate at Eckstein would be 11% and JAMS would be 38%. Garfield would have a 42% FRL rate.

Those numbers all assume that students would dutifully return to their neighborhood schools. In reality, parents who have other options would not return their children to schools that have already failed to meet their needs. Families would enroll in private schools or charter schools or move to other districts. The Center School and NOVA would fill their empty seats.

Thurgood Marshall's PTA spends $162,000 on staff funding, enrichment and school supplies. WMS's PTA spends $197,000 on these supports and at Garfield it's $138,000. Those numbers would decrease significantly.
Jet City mom said…
I think it is time for a discussion on PTAs and whether they are the best way for parents to support community education.


Summit had a PTO instead of a PTA but we worked hard ( too hard) to get more parents involved.
We had meetings at Thurgood Marshall to make it easier for parents in the south end to attend. We provided child care and pizza for important meetings, and allowed people to vote without requiring dues.

I was surprised and disappointed by my experience with the Pta at Garfield. The parents seemed like they all knew each other from the gifted program at Washington, and weren't that interested in the interests or concerns of other families who had not been.
I can see why the African American parents felt a need to start a seperate parent group.
The parents were much more isolated than the kids btw.
Kids had friends across Garfield, especially those who were involved in the sport teams, and my daughter was with a group of kids who took remedial courses at the same time they were taking AP classes.
kellie said…
I concur with Lynn. I had interpreted Mel's question to be about self contained HCC and HCC is only self contained at elementary.

Lynn is correct that the TM PTA funding would dry up and would be replaced with Title 1 money. I have no idea is that would be more or less than the PTA raises.

TM would struggle to fill the rest of the building, because of the lack of enrollment growth in the area. I suspect that the enrollment drop at TM would be backfilled with the pre-schools at Old Van Asselt and that would not add resources or dollars to the K-5 population.

kellie said…
Dissolving HCC at middle and high school would be an even greater disaster. All middle and high school boundaries would need to be re-drawn to re-balance enrollment and another 2-4,000 students would need to be geo-split to make this happen as there is just not enough slack in the system for the dominos to fall.

Bottom line: At this point, dissolving HCC would be like a game of 52 card pick up with large numbers of both students and staff shuffled.

Frankly, it would be a lot simpler and a lot cheaper to just add AL options at middle school. For example, Physical Science could be added to all middle schools and students placed into physical science along with their math placement.
TechyMom said…
To accommodate those 2000-4000 students
, Garfield's boundaries would need to draw some students from the current Roosevelt or Ballard areas, with a southern boundary just south of the school. It would get whiter. Like Meany.
Anonymous said…
Open Ears,
I know a few parents who are waiting for the new Cascadia school building to open before they moved their child over. They didn't want their kid to have to move schools 2 times within a few years. That combined with continuing fall out of dismantling Spectrum, I wouldn't be surprised if there is a spike in HCC enrollment next year at the ES site.

2E parent
Anonymous said…
Should the district be trying to concentrate poverty at TM in order to get Title 1 funds?

That seems to be what people are advocating.

Talk about entitled, privileged hornswoggle.

In my opinion.

Anonymous said…
@hayseed--I didn't read any comments from any poster that indicated a desire to concentrate poverty. I saw some data around what would happen if HCC were dissolved, but no advocacy.

Keep positive
Anonymous said…
The south end as whole would get much more federal funds and grants as well if it was its own district.
- MW
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
seattle citizen said…
Open ears, you wrote about HCC in a gen-ed classroom, but it sounds like a gen-ed classroom with or without HCC. Gen-ed classrooms are full of "kids [who] dominate class discussions, derail teachers' lessons with pedantic corrections and slightly OT minutiae, and find unproductive ways to deal with their boredom, or completely check out, do the minimum academically, and read all day to avoid standing out (many gifted girls). Formerly happy gen ed kids [shutting] down, because, why bother?"
You seem to suggest that HCC would make gen-ed classes difficult because HCC students bring these issues, but plenty of gen-ed students have these very same issues.
Anonymous said…
Seattle citizen, I think she means students who do not currently do these things as frequently when they are in an appropriate environment would disrupt more if placed in a gen ed environment. My own student was disruptive in a gen ed environment but is not in the hcc one. It's always a matter of frequency- of course some of this is already there. But not as much as there would be.

Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
kellie said…
@ hayseed,

The comment about Title 1 funds at TM was mine. The comment was in direct response to a question from Mel about what would happened if HCC were just dissolved from a capacity management perspective.

To be extra clear ... If HCC at TM were dissolved ... The PTA funds would dry up. TM would quality for Title 1 as the % FRL would increase substantially by subtracting non FRL students.

The title 1 dollars may or may not be equivalent to PTA dollars. TM would also lose significant core staffing because there is not significant neighborhood enrollment to back fill the HCC students as there is minimal enrollment growth in the SE.

Finally, the empty space at TM would most likely be filled with pre-school. This would absorb the space but not add Title 1 or WSS dollars.

I am NOT advocating for this solution. I am simply outlining the consequences of dissolving HCC.
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