That Was Short

It appears my hiatus is coming to an end.

It's kind of Godfather-like - I keep trying to do less but I keep getting pulled back in.

But there are too many stories popping up.

I think it important to keep up with:

- what is happening (or not) in Olympia

- what is happening with Advanced Learning (I attended both the Board Work Session and a two-day summit at UW on Equity and Gifted Education.  There seemed to be something of a disconnect between the two - by SPS staff, no less - and I learned a lot.  I think I can tell you - without being a fortuneteller - what's going to happen.  But it's a little troubling that one program can somehow become a central focus for our district. It would almost seem like perhaps - somehow - this issue might be being used for some other less clear purpose.).

It will probably be a very long post but I sense this might be important.

- where do we go now we have Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education.  Today, she apparently couldn't enter a middle school because of what looked to be a small number of very loud protesters.  I have to wonder how she would have done in front of a whole room of middle school students.

However, she is the secretary of Education and could impose some trying things on states but really, it does appear that the new focus is on state legislatures and districts.  So the discussion/fight will be local.

- the issue of high schools in Seattle Schools - issues in all directions

- the continued rise of faux education groups in our state who appear to be trying to get control of the discussion about public education.

- charter schools

- student data privacy

But, as I stated, I am less interested in the district.  So I'm probably not going to write "Seattle Schools This Week" except if something interesting is happening (like next week the Board is having an Executive Session and apparently may be considering buying some land. After the Board meeting next week:

Executive Session: To Consider the Selection of a Site or the Acquisition of Real Estate by Lease or Purchase; Labor Negotiations; Potential Litigation

I didn't know the district had a lot of spare Capital funds laying around but it is the district's way to be poor sometimes and yet have money when they want to fund something.

I also will likely not have time for Directors' community meetings although I note that Director Geary is having semi-regular Thursday morning meetings at Zoka's at 7:30 am.  It's not on the District's calendar but fyi.

In short, with the time I have, I'm going to try to concentrate on fewer things.  


Anonymous said…
ty mw. come as you are! facts matter. no caps
not mc-t said…
on the hc ws and rc equity meeting. no surprise there is a disconnect between the two. of course i should note that the original ip started thanks to the robinsons. it was basicly mtss or differentiated learning based on the student. but as charlie says mtss is not for hc kids.

so less than two generations of kids in sps hc program we are now really back to why teach these kids anything/anyway/any place differently than all the others.

it is like we have returned to jim crow, illegal abortions and segregated schools. why should my hc kid be denied best practices just because they have a high iq? the robinsons used sps as a test school they also worked with ucds (25k a year private primary school) to develop the same program. last i looked ucds is still doing it. sps is trying to destroy it.

think about it people roughly half of our families are paying to going private. we need to turn this around. we have the resources to make public education the best in the world. and we all need this. but we can't do that by not serving our outliers including: sped, hc, ell, frl and those struggling with other medical issues.

currently we pay for sped to go to private schools. reread that please. why can't we get that service right? why should we support a competitor? ((i do believe that sps should have to pay to support those students it can not deal with. i feel for those families immensely. and you look at the legal bills too! having my kids data sent out (with 5k different kids) and no one fired was a wake up call of how screwed up things are. i also believe that if that ability was passed to hc, ses, ell and med kids we would revolutionize public schools.)) sps could be much better but under nyland and tolley it is nothing but a downward spiral.

no caps
Watching said…
Welcome back, Melissa.

I'm concerned about astro-turf groups, too. I've been watching Campaign for Student Success and I have concerns.
Anonymous said…

I have 2 kiddos in HCC. It's sounding like HCC is doomed. Time to start looking for a house on the Eastside? We can't afford to go private.

Mag mom
Anonymous said…
From WEA about the current happenings in Olympia

Anonymous said…
So, Melissa, can you share what you predict will happen to HCC or is that Monday's post ;-)

Welcome back!

- One Foot
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
IDEA Website vanishes - DeVos?

HCC Parent said…
I concur with Mag mom. Elimination of HCC opportunity will result in families leaving Seattle Public Schools.
Giovani B said…
I'm dying to hear what your predictions are on the future of HCC and AL in Seattle, because I have a kindergartener who's going to need me to move to a district that can and will educate him or homeschool. Lots of families are lured here for cutting-edge, world-class jobs and love the city. People are being recruited up here left and right and then discover that the schools won't educate kids who learn fast. It's to the point where I'm starting to hope charter schools ARE a thing so that we could have one that focused on gifted ed and did it right.

You said:
"It would almost seem like perhaps - somehow - this issue might be being used for some other less clear purpose."

And I don't know what you mean when you say that, but that has been exactly my sense. There is a sneaky undercurrent at so many of the schools of doing away with AL services slowly and quietly without any kind of announcement. Principals who suddenly just no longer believe in walk-to programs, etc. Having observed a number of SPS school cultures up close through volunteering, there is definitely a bizarro anti-academic conniption going on behind the scenes simultaneously at a lot of schools. Must be coming from a wider source, right? It's not just coincidence, right?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Anonymous said…
"While many of the district’s students are thriving, the goal of an excellent education has not been fulfilled for each and every student. In response, Dr. Nyland named eliminating opportunity gaps and accelerating learning for students of color the issue of our time and has made good on his promise."

Isn't this the reason for the changes?

WS Mom
Stuart Jenner said…
Charters are no panacea, in response to a comment above. I went to a charter high school open house. The curriculum would allow for acceleration, but I said "what happens when my daughter, who's a few years ahead, finishes the 12th grade material?" I got a blank look. Then I asked if they would have a gifted coordinator or provide any type of gifted services. The principal said she thought the special ed coordinator might be able to provide some assistance. Might. Again I don't think the question had come up before.
moving said…
Not sure where to ask this - so ideas for other outlets appreciated.

Thoughts from parents -on where are our capable kids on the spectrum who need support & positive engagement to succeed thriving/ growing academically/ socially behaviorally and being positively engaged and included? Where are they actively learning and appreciated? it's simply not feasible to observe every hs...and even then...
Lynn said…
Have you joined the Seattle Special Education PTSA Facebook group? You might find some help there.
Anonymous said…
I've been reading about the demise/end of HC for a few years now, but the things happening in the district don't mesh with the narrative. The district is opening two schools to serve HC students next year (Cascadia and Decatur). Other than Garfield combining their LA classes and the social studies integration at TM, what actions has the district taken that would point to their intent to dissolve/abolish the HC program? And does integrating a class show intent to dissolve?

A lot of the Spectrum/ALO programs have dissolved- is that what is driving this narrative? In regard to the Spectrum/AL designation- are there other districts in WA (or the country) that label children in the 87th percentile as advanced learners? What models are working for this group of students (for students and teachers)? SPS teachers do not feel the Spectrum program was working or was necessary. Instead of trying to revive something that was not working for all parties, shouldn't we be trying to find a working model?

Anonymous said…
@TC--nobody asks the teachers. We should start there.

Fix AL
Anonymous said…
I'm not an employee of SPS (just a lowly parent) so I may not know the full backstory. However, when our successful Spectrum program was removed from our elementary school the SPS officials who came to our school's PTA meeting said that the reason is that they wanted to make all the SPS schools more homogenous - so that a kid could move from school to school and encounter the same education plan at each school. I find it hard to believe that teachers thought the program wasn't working. It was an inclusive program - so you could either test in or get in by teacher recommendation. If you were in the program you had to keep up with the work. It was a walk to math and reading program so individual home-rooms were not Spectrum. The teachers seemed really invested in the program and all of them had taken special training to do these classes. I admit that I do not think Spectrum worked as well or as smoothly at all schools. I think the elimination of Spectrum was part of the program to homogenize the schools. Too bad the kids aren't equally homogenous - then that would make sense! To tell you the truth I don't always believe homogenization was the goal - they were just playing the game that they have done for decades of moving high achieving students to struggling schools to even out the scores. Rather than provide useful services at struggling schools. We were told our Spectrum program was gone but we could move to another school farther away to stay in Spectrum. We chose to stay because our teachers and the AL director (at that time Vaughan) told us "everything would remain the same" we just wouldn't have the Spectrum designation. That was true for the last two years we were at that school. The teachers continued their excellent job of teaching the AL kids. However, many parents at the school fled to HCC the following year in the hopes that state law would prevent the district from summarily removing that program mid-year. We also moved to HCC in middle school. But there was no challenge. The principal was actively hostile toward HCC. Sigh.

I agree that teachers should be consulted about the efficacy of these programs. Note however, that teachers are individuals. Many are eager to challenge AL kids. Many are hostile to AL. Unfortunately, the district also wants teachers to be interchangeable cogs in the machine. Thus, an AL-hostile teacher can find themselves teaching an AL class.

TC, you said this:

"SPS teachers do not feel the Spectrum program was working or was necessary. Instead of trying to revive something that was not working for all parties, shouldn't we be trying to find a working model?"

Didn't you leave out some "parties" like parents and students? It's okay if you only want to look at it from the school view but don't make blanket statement that is not true. And I think the demise of Spectrum was less at the hands of Spectrum teachers than at the hands of principals (the biggest drivers, aided and tacitly abetted by the district) and non-Spectrum teachers.

I now don't believe it's about teachers being hostile to AL; I think it's the idea of giftedness, in general.
Anonymous said…
"IDEA Website vanishes - DeVos?"

So now the Seattle news factories are worried about disabled students...give me
a break.

SPED Parent
Anonymous said…
@ TC, if you've been reading about the demise of HC for a few years now, I'm curious why you think the things happening in the district don't mesh with that narrative. Opening two new elementary schools to serve HCC isn't proof that the district is committed to advanced learning, but rather a reflection or our capacity challenges and the tool that HCC represents for balancing capacity. They didn't really WANT to open to new HCC sites, but there weren't many options, right?

Maybe you're forgetting about a few other things that do mesh with the narrative. You mentioned Garfield honors-for-all classes (and yes, integrating classes can indeed represent a demise if the level of challenge is reduced, as many have reported is the case). There's also the recent report that Garfield plans to restrict the number of AP classes students can take. There are also reports that Ingraham may eliminate the IBX option, which is a very appropriate option for some--albeit a minority of--HCC students. A few years ago, Garfield stopped allowing HCC 9th graders to take AP World History, requiring that they take another gen ed class first. A few years ago SPS reworked the HCC middle school LA/SS scope and sequence, aligning HCC with grade-level standards. They also adopted a middle school SS curriculum that was intended to serve everyone, with no additional adoption of HCC-level supplemental texts (and if I recall correctly, one of the reported "strengths" of the 6th grade textbook was its low-level language). We also have a small but very vocal group of activist teachers pushing for the elimination of all tracking in SPS.

The demise of HCC seems fairly evident to me. That doesn't mean they will be eliminating HCC altogether, as it's helpful. School overcrowded? Move out the HCC kids. Need to help populate a new school? Add and HCC program? Want to raise test scores? Add some HCC kids. Keeping HCC helps with capacity management. There may even be some JSCEE folks who philosophically agree that advanced and/or gifted students also deserve a chance to learn, too, I don't know. But many of the changes that have been happening over the past several years have served to significantly WEAKEN the program, and we are feeling that. It's not just a narrative, it's the experience of many.

Anonymous said…
for moving:

The 2e parent group meets tomorrow. forwarding:

Hi 2e families,

Our next meeting will be Monday February 13th, from 7-9 PM, and this meeting will take place at Thurgood Marshall Elementary library, 2401 S. Irving St., Seattle. (I hope by moving some of our meetings further south we can draw in more families from the southern end of town.) At this February meeting we will be hosting Garfield High School counselor (and former Denny middle school counselor) Ken Courtney. Our topic will be transitions for 2e students--into middle school, or into and out of high school. We scheduled this meeting for February so that we could also cover the topic of school choice, since this is particularly important for our kids.

open ears
Ballard Resident said…
What Disappointed says. Let's not forget that Whitman dismantled advanced learning Language Arts and History classes. IMO, blending of classes watered down curriculum.
Anonymous said…
Everything that DisAPPointed said. I would add that while there has always been some hostility directed toward APP/HCC, it seems that it's expressed more openly now. It used to be something you just put up with as a parent, but the students may have been more oblivious to it. My child is noticing it, and left wondering if this is how it is at all schools, or just SPS?

Anonymous said…
One more thing to add to the list - textbook adoptions without any provisions made for AL/HCC students.

Anonymous said…
HC is required and protected by state law.

HC is not a "program" but is a service.

This service is required by state law to fit the needs of the individual child
who has been identified for HC services.

One-size-fits-all HCC in elementary, via the opt-in self-contained model/program, is not in compliance with state law.

State law requires that the demographics in the program reflect the area of the district, in terms of FLL, ELL, race, etc. SPS is currently out of compliance with this law.

Facts matter. Laws matter.

SPS Huh? said…

Oh, please, please, please write about the gifted thing!!! You say, "I now don't believe it's about teachers being hostile to AL; I think it's the idea of giftedness, in general."

Tell us more!

For the sake of argument, let's say that all humans have exactly the same cognitive abilities with no variation from person to person. Surely the district can see that some kids are ready for classes at different ages. Like, some of them enter kindergarten already able to read and some of them don't. Even if they have exactly the same innate ability to learn. So, how does it make sense to spend two years re-teaching kids who already know how to read how to read all over again? That makes no sense. No financial sense, no moral sense, no sense. And if the kids all advance at the same speed, why would anyone ever test them? They would all perform exactly the same on the tests. Or the tests would just measure how much privilege they were receiving from outside sources?

How can these people be in charge of schools? If a student already knows the material being taught, let's not call them gifted, let's call them done. So, SPS is just going to give everyone a GED every year and when they're done, they're out, they're excused to go start life?
FWIW, that may be true but that doesn't happen for Sped students, no less HCC students. So this unicorn dream that it will happen for HCC isn't true.

SPS Huh, I am trying to gather together all my thoughts from both the Work Session on AL and the two-day summit at UW on Equity and Gifted Education. But I believe there are many out there who do not believe in giftedness for children and once you have a critical mass of those people, then you can see how there would be pushback for the program.

The state requires services but they don't say how. I think the "how" is going to change.
Anonymous said…
About the State and the Feds on "Local Control".

A lot is being made of the fact that the Feds will now emphasize local control.
Supposedly getting out of the bribing, extorting, and mandating business.

Well call me skeptical but ....

The second page of ESSA states that the State must submit "Local control plans" to the Feds for approval. Say What???? Still looks like Feds are way out of bounds in meddling in state responsibilities as per constitutional constraints.

Good luck to Betsy DeVos on navigating the maze.

-- Dan Dempsey
not mc-t said…

yeah mw it has been a slippery slope of downhill change under tolley; and that is why hcc parents were outraged by the dumbing down of hcc in so many ways, like honors for none and decelerated middle school curriculum. there is more of a sense of no-there-there anymore. so when you add splits on top of that which degrades the cohort even more.

fwiw - lol, 'nough said. consistently wrong doesn't eventually make you right.

no caps
Anonymous said…
ICE raids are coming next week in Seattle, be prepared.

not mc-t said…
silly post. silly person. ice raids have been happen in seattle forEVER. no news here.

no caps
Anonymous said…
@ FWIW, if you have an opt-in program, in addition to the regular program, by definition you don't have one-size-fits-all. You have at least two sizes: the regular and the opt-in. Additionally, we have some ALOs, maybe some Spectrum, and we always have our option schools, too... You can stay in your neighborhood school if that works for you, maybe get some differentiation or not, or move to a Spectrum or HCC school if better suited. It satisfies the requirement for a continuum of services, whether or not it meets what YOU think that continuum should be. It's time to stop insisting that we don't have that, at least in theory. (If you want to start arguing that SPS tells OSPI one thing then does another, that's another story. By all means complain to OSPI!)

As for the issue that state law requires program demographics to reflect the district, I'm pleased to see that you've stopped focusing exclusively on race. Maybe SPS will follow your lead and finally do some HCC eligibility analyses by income instead of only by race. I suspect that the racial disparities will not be so large and we'll see that income, more than race, is a key factor in children scoring at the upper tail end of the curve.

HF, yes, that issue of race versus income was brought up at the UW summit. I'm not sure everyone liked that.
Anonymous said…
A huge opt-in elem. HCC is NOT a continuum of services, regardless of what
is offered at schools. State law explicitly states that schools must align
services to the needs of the individual child, which is in way fulfilled by
an opt-in approach:

High achievement is not a synonym for "giftedness".
Using them interchangeability is misleading and ill-informed.

Also, saying they don't do it in SPED doesn't make it okay to completely
ignore the state law when it comes to the HC state law. That is a straw
man approach and is not defensible in terms of how the program is legally
supposed to be administered.

BTW, I have never focused exclusively on race. I have been focused on ELL, FRL and other "underrepresented groups" (this has been my mantra phrase) which include race. Do a blog search if you don't remember.

The fact is, however, that the state law requires that the demographics of HC must reflect the demographics of the area that the district serves. The confluence of race and poverty is beyond the purview of the state directive.

What matters is that by HC needs to reflect, not explain, the demographics in the area that it serves.

Anonymous said…
correction: "which is in no way"

Anonymous said…
@FWIW-you make a really good case for splitting the district in two with Denny being the boundary line.

Fix AL
Anonymous said…
SE Mom

National News: HR 610 has been intro'd in the House. Federal $$ for vouchers, no apparent protections for children with disabilities. Do people feel concerned about this? I do.
not mc-t said…
"High achievement is not a synonym for "giftedness".
Using them interchangeability is misleading and ill-informed." no but what it is a multifaceted review that the paid committee members look to including: teacher recommendations, iq and achievement scores; frl, ell and sped consideration. a lot goes into placement decisions. don't dumb it down so it supports your racism claim.

i actually think that achievement shouldn't be a big factor but if you are gifted you should be able to outperform gen ed populations, right? you seem to see the entrance requirements as a ceiling more so than the basement. from there they are taught in an accelerated fashion (historically at least) of up to two years. that is why your plan for tm is ill advised unless it is 3rd graders and 5th graders.

as for ell, frl and 2e (why do you forget sped, fwiw?) how do you know those groups are underrepresented? we have seen four presentations now on race and hcc and yet not one on ell, frl and 2e in relations to hcc. you know it is a factor, i know it is a factor so why hasn't anyone quantified the large extent that it is contributing to the makeup of the cohort? someone either isn't doing their job or would rather focus on race - like you did for the majority of your earlier post.

no caps
Anonymous said…

You are technically correct that "HCC is NOT a continuum of services." However, it is PART of a continuum of services. That's how continua work. It is one end of the continuum that starts with GE at the other end, with differentiation and ALO an Spectrum in the middle.

You referred to a couple sections of the WAC, which I think you thought support your ideas re: the continuum. From the first URL, there was this. "Districts shall make a variety of appropriate program services available to students who participate in the district's program for highly capable students." But notice that it doesn't say these have to be available in every school. So we can have students in the HC program, and then they have a variety of options available so they can choose the most appropriate. I'm not sure how you are interpreting that part of the WAC otherwise.

The second link you gave goes to a section of that WAC that says "Each student identified as a highly capable student shall be provided educational opportunities which take into account such student's unique needs and capabilities." Maybe you're interpreting this to mean that all HC students should have access to the full continuum of services in whatever school they choose? I don't think it means that, especially not when it's immediately followed by "Such program shall recognize the limits of the resources provided by the state and the program options available to the district, including programs in adjoining districts and public institutions of higher education."

I do fully agree that high achievement is not a synonym for "giftedness". However, the WAC and SPS are both somewhat confused on the distinction, so it's natural that people will use both terms. The WAC defines HC students as "students who perform or show potential for performing at significantly advanced academic levels when compared with others of their age, experiences, or environments." Potential and performance. Ability and achievement. SPS, does a similar thing, in that HCC is based on high achievement scores, although in some documentation they do use the term "gifted." (For example, a BAR that read "I move that the Board approve the Highly Capable Students Program Annual Plan as submitted to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction for school year 2015-16 to support Highly Capable Services and the District’s gifted eligibility identification process." If you want to argue about how to define high achievement and giftedness, great. But it's not helpful to any discussion of our current services, given the ambiguity inherent in our state law.

Anonymous said…
SPS is trying to standardize the curriculum and eliminate all forms of differentiated learning - HCC, SpEd, option schools, language schools, etc - in order to make it easier to achieve their Gates/DeVos agenda of replacing education with online learning. That right there is the endgame: replacing teachers with iPads. It's that simple.

If you react to this passively, hoping that "they" make the right choices, rather than mobilizing and organizing and demand that our lame-ass, do-nothing board actually do something useful for a change, then you deserve what is coming.

Parents want advanced learning for their kids. It doesn't matter how many times someone claims that desire is wrong or false or racist, they will want it anyway and will move their kids wherever it takes to get it. It's not possible to ever convince parents that it's OK to give their kid an inferior education and so you should not try. I'd rather have those parents get what they need inside the public system because if they don't, they will have no incentive at all to help save that system when Trump and Gates and DeVos come to destroy it.

Resist. Fight back. Do it now.

Stop DeVos
Anonymous said…
Here's the OSPI fine print on what a continuum of services looks like:

Note that the focus is "appropriate services" based on the individual student's "needs and capabilities."

Furthermore, it calls for districts to "periodically review services for each student to ensure the services are appropriate."

Doesn't not sound like an opt-in self-contained...because it's not. Districts that are small and, therefore, constrained are given leeway. SPS is definitely out of compliance.


Anonymous said…
"Facts matter. Laws matter."

What an ironic statement from you FWIW.

You offer up false facts and your own distorted interpretation of the laws over and over again. Lots of lather, rinse and repeat with the racist word vomit from you.

Anonymous said…
@FWIW-use your energy to advocate for SPS to split. Resources wouldn't be spread as thin as butter and the two district offices could be lean, mean, education leading machines. Right now it's just a cluster muck.

Too Big
Anonymous said…
Washington is likely doing away with HCC social studies next year.
not mc-t said…
and wms you are obviously out of mental floss.

no caps
Anonymous said…

Very happy you are back. I can't imagine the toll from trolls and the like.

I am still very bothered by these notes from the BHS meeting, "They are viewing issues through an equity lens. Graduation requirements not the same as college entrance requirements."

I truly hope that does not mean that there will be low expectations for all. ????

I would rather that there be high expectations for all as so many studies have shown that students will rise to the expectations. Setting a low bar for all serves none.

It is pie in the sky, but I do wish our District leaders would strive for the best for our students.

It is well past time to redirect our District to a student focus.


Anonymous said…
@FWIW, I'll give it one last shot.

Yes, the focus is "appropriate services" based on the individual student's "needs and capabilities." Which, as much as I would LOVE for to actually require individualized plans and services for each student, is generally taken to refer to the individual needs of these TYPES of students. In other words, highly capable students, as a group, tend to have different needs than other students. So to provide "appropriate services" they made the HCC program! But even that isn't a good fit for all, so to best address individual needs and capabilities, students are free to opt for HCC or not. Some do, some don't--based on parents' assessment of their children's needs.

While I agree they do a subpar job at it, the district does "periodically review services for each student to ensure the services are appropriate." They don't produce individual reports, but they do look at test scores and progress reports to see that students are generally making the expected progress.

Did you read how the document to which you linked actually defines the continuum of services? Basically, it just means having something available from K all the way through 12th grade. It doesn't "sound like opt-in self contained" because it doesn't address delivery models. It leaves that decision up to districts.

not mc troll said…
hf = patience of jobe.

no caps
Anonymous said…

You apparently don't have a background in SpEd law, which is the prototype for the HC continuum of services model. Call OSPI and get the letter and intent of the law. Even though HC isn't under IDEA, the HC continuum of services model is based upon it. If you were correct, the only purpose for the regular assessment would be to determine continuing eligibility (with permitted opt-in services) or the need to be exited from HC qualification. But that is not the case. The purpose is also to determine appropriate services, as stated in the information from OSPI: "...periodically review services for each student to ensure the services are appropriate."

"variety of appropriate program services" is the definition of continuum of services, as it is in SpED, not K-12 (which is the duration).

Just because SPS isn't using assessments to determine appropriate services doesn't mean the state law doesn't require it.

not mc-t said…
fwiw you aren't legal either obviously. you like to talk about the frame for the piece of art. but really it is the work of art that matters. and yeah sps is woefully inadequate in serving hcc kids thanks for pointing that out. but you get what you get at sps.

thanks for trying... no caps
kellie said…
There are many ways to provide a continuum of services. I suspect that if FWIW was arguing more for a "expansion" of services to include MORE services targets at ELL, FRL, etc, rather than against self contained as a viable service, we would all have some common ground.

I would love to see an expansion of services, particularly an adoption of the Rainier Scholars model. There is excess capacity in many SE schools, so it would be possible to add services.

With the World School getting their own building, there could be a way to expand some type of ELL gifted program as well.

There are likely a lot great ideas that could expand a focus on a gifted program that does not have the corresponding achievement aspect. But that said, there is clearly a need for a program like HCC in Seattle and the current program does work for many students. It also seems to work for our immediately surrounding districts.

And most uncomfortably of all, HCC is about 70% white and Seattle is about 70% white. HCC does look like Seattle in that aspect.
Anonymous said…
Sped law is not the prototype for HC services in our state. Sped law is federal. HC law is state law. They are different. HC services are not covered by sped law at all. Sped law does not apply to HC law. I know that is often what you are referring to when you talk about delivery model and continuing eligibility requirements. It does not apply.

Anonymous said…
FWIW, that OSP "fine print" document says pretty clearly how the state defines the HC continuum of services. It reads:

WAC 392-170-078 Program services — defines the “continuum” as kindergarten through grade 12. Districts shall make a variety of appropriate program services available to students who participate in the district's program for highly capable students."

That's it. The services need to be available from K all through 12, and they need to include a variety of services appropriate to highly capable students. We have both. Our services may not be ideal, but they meet the requirements--you can do GE (with possible differentiation), ALO/Spectrum, or HCC. If we renamed them with MTSS tier #s would they perhaps sound more like a continuum to you?

While you are correct that I do not have a background in special ed law, I don't NEED a background in special ed law to talk about issues of HC services law... because they are not very similar at all. Even if our state's HC legislation did draw inspiration from federal special ed law--and I'm not convinced that's the case--it's very clear that our HC legislation falls far, far short of special ed law. The requirements are pretty minimal, individual student rights are pretty minimal, and there aren't any teeth. There's no requirement that each student have an IEP-like plan.

As I stated before, to "periodically review services for each student to ensure the services are appropriate" does not require meeting with families or anything that intensive. I don't know what exactly you think it would take to meet that requirement. OSPI seems to be fine with the district annually (thus "periodically") reviewing the progress of HC-identified students (thus covering "each student") to make sure they are making expected progress (suggesting the receipt of "appropriate services"). By and large, HCC students tend to remain in HCC and do well on future progress reports and standardized tests, so the district concludes the services must be appropriate. OSPI seems to think that sounds reasonable.

Perhaps if we were rolling in cash we'd be able to improve HC services by providing individualized learning plans for HC students and then offering a much more extensive array of tailored services. But I don't think anyone expects that anytime soon. In the meantime, the law does not seem to require that level of individualization or tailoring anyway.

I don't know what more I can say. When I first read the HC legislation I saw words and phrases that led me to think I could successfully argue for a more individualized approach to my HC student's education, but upon further review and analysis it became clear to me that the district could meet the letter of the law through a much broader approach to all the requirements. But hey, maybe you can push everyone to provide more and better HC services, so go for it. Complain to OSPI, sue the district, or do something else that has a chance at making a significant change. Go for it.

PAA Member said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Deepest Apologizes said…
What Melissa said about teachers not believing giftedness is a thing is precisely the problem I had as the parent of a gifted kindergartener. It was really hard to have a conversation about the educational needs of my child and the teacher's need to have my child not acting out. The answer would have been so simple: give the child something to learn that the child did not already know. This would have cost nothing--the school building was full of things to learn. An interesting book would have been enough. That would have allowed my child to learn something, keep himself engaged and stopped him from acting out so the teacher could have more effectively used her time teaching the kids who needed to learn the list of things kindergarteners are supposed to learn. But for some reason that was strictly forbidden and it wasn't even possible to discuss giving my child something to learn. My child was expected to sit quietly for a year and pretend not to be bored. Totally not age appropriate for a five year old, people!

When parents use the word "gifted" to discuss an academic situation, many teachers' eyes glaze over. Which makes it hard to discuss the child's needs.

Arguing that giftedness doesn't exist is like arguing that homosexuality doesn't exist or autoimmune diseases don't exist or that all families speak English at home. It's offensive and inappropriate and wrong. And it's not the place of teachers. Just as you can't look at a person and tell if they have diabetes or if their mom speaks Farsi, you can't look at a person and tell if they're gifted. It's an invisible minority. But I assure you that gifted adults are walking around the city, having kids, shopping for groceries. You can say that giftedness doesn't exist, but you sound ignorant and it doesn't make us stop existing. It does make it difficult for us to talk to our children's teachers about meeting their academic needs. But it doesn't make us not exist. We come in all demographic varieties, too. And quit blaming us for SPS not being able to find us all. That is totally on them and only one of many things they're not doing very well at.

Many of us gifted people only know our IQs because we got tested when we were in elementary school. And then flagged as outliers and made to go back a second time and take a more complete test. But no one ever told me I didn't exist as a child. That's a new low in the field of education.

Part 1
Deepest Apologizes said…
And every breath that's devoted to attacking gifted kids and their academic needs is a breath not spent addressing the academic needs of the majority of the district, the kids with test scores in the 0–98% range. The district is responsible for the education of every single child at every single school in Seattle (except for the 28% in private school). And the district is failing to be child-focused. So much time is wasted arguing about which kids are where and not on raising them all up and mentoring and educating them all to be successful, contented, engaged adults. Educate them all! At every school! Make sure they all learn something! Spark all of their curiosity! Engage them all! Make every school great!

Teach these kids how to use MS Word and how to avoid being duped by credit card companies and how to spot deceptive marketing and how to read nutrition labels and help them get enough exercise and a good night's sleep and learn to navigate their city on their own when it's age appropriate and learn about music and art and science and writing effectively and athletics and how to affect the institutions they find themselves a part of and how to get along with all different kinds of people and how to use a library effectively and how to find a safe adult to talk to if they need help or guidance and how to write a cover letter and speak a foreign language and use a calculator and resolve a dispute and avoid unwanted pregnancies and understand the scientific method and how to agitate for change effectively and about all of history (not just Eurocentric history) and the dangers of too much screen time and how to meditate or exercise or find a healthy approach to stressful situations and how to prevent bullying and speak up effectively against injustice and how to express their own unique view points and experiences effectively in writing...

SPS needs to educate all 52,824 kids. Stop pitting little groups against each other. Why can't we educate them all? Make sure they all learn and progress in every class in every year at every school?

Power to children! They could really use a political lobby. It's great that AARP gives older American a lobbying voice and that so many older people vote. Wouldn't it be great if more people advocated for kids?

DeVos isn't going to do it. The majority of state legislators don't want to do it. Jay Inslee showed right up at the airport to address the attempted immigration ban. Wouldn't it be nice if anyone showed up for kids that fast? FOR ALL KIDS.

Part 2
Anonymous said…
Deepest apologizes,
I agree that all SPS students need to be given curriculum that challenges them and helps them advance. I am in my 13th SPS year as an HCC(formerly APP) parent. I was IQ-tested also as a young child, and was precocious with high IQ. What I think as an adult is that no longer can we call ourselves "gifted". It takes stimulation, life-long learning, etc. etc. Also, people can be differently gifted, like some of my brothers who know how to build things. I find it a bit off-putting to say, as an adult, that we wouldn't know we were gifted if we hadn't been tested as a child. Yes, I was precocious and bright, and I do my best to achieve my current potentials, but I think it is a bit of a put-down to others to say that I am gifted, in fact I don't think it. It is a matter of what we do with our abilities that determines how our life turns out.
Anonymous said…
Humm... about Local Control of schools and Betsy DeVos

ESSA hardly appears to be a restoration of local control.

Betsy says full speed ahead on ESSA

Good Luck with any actual local control...

Here is the start of DeVos's letter=>

Dear Chief State School Officer:

Thank you for the important work you and stakeholders in your State are engaged in to develop new State plans and transition to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). I am writing today to assure you that I fully intend to implement and enforce the statutory requirements of the ESSA. Additionally, I want to provide you with an update on the timeline, procedures, and criteria under which a State Educational Agency (SEA) may submit a State plan, including a consolidated State plan, to the Department. States should continue to follow the timeline for developing and submitting their State plans to the Department for review and approval.

Well so much for the Donald and his campaign speak about local control.

Wonder what might cause a plan to not be approved?

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said…
What Deepest Apologies says is crucial. Children learn at different rates, speeds, and in different ways. They also bring different life experiences to the classroom. Not every child is the same. This is a fact and there's nothing wrong with it.

Effective education involves giving those children the type of education they specifically need, rather than forcing them all into a one-size-fits-all curriculum. But that is what the ed reformers, including Bill Gates, Betsy DeVos, and the SPS leadership want.

Their plan is to eliminate all forms of differential learning so that they can instead have kids learn on iPads. The articles PAA Member shared above help explain what the end goal is. Parents will be told that their kids will get the differential learning they need via computerized instruction in mixed classrooms with 40-50 kids each. This is a bald-faced lie, of course, but it is exactly where SPS is heading if parents don't do something about it right now.

(I'd suggest our board members do something about it, but all of them - including Sue Peters - are do-nothing deer in the headlights who have no clue what is coming and even less clue how to stop it.)

Stop DeVos
NE Dad said…
I have two “gifted” kids both in HCC. Personally, I think the terms “gifted” and “highly capable” are misleading and insensitive given the actual eligibility criteria and program.

The only thing we can say about the kids that don’t qualify in elementary school is that they are not dual domain advanced in both reading and math. You can have a first-grade national chess champion that knows algebra not qualified for the program simply because they read in the 90th percentile instead of the 95th percentile. That’s less than six month's difference in reading ability when many of the kids are tested in kindergarten.

No one in Advanced Learning is running brain scans to determine these kids somehow think differently or have bigger brains. Instead, the criteria the district uses for eligibility involves scoring better than what other students that are the same age and grade. The reason some kids score higher as compared to other kids maybe because they have “bigger” or “different” brains. Or it may be because they have more “balanced” brains that can score well across the domains being tested. Or it may be because they have “average” brains and someone has spent a lot more time working with them. No one knows the answer.

Regardless, I believe that the district and families are well served by having an Accelerated Progress Program (APP) because if kids are way ahead why not group them together for efficiency and teach them more advanced materials. But the district should go back to calling it what it is (APP) instead of giving it a name that is misleading and insults everyone else (HCC).

Anonymous said…
Kellie, stating that Seattle is 70% white doesn't provide cover for SPS:

"The district identification process must apply equitably to all enrolled students and families from every racial, ethnic and socio-economic population present in the public school population they serve. Districts must review identification procedures to make sure student selection reflects the demographics of the area they serve. These specific requirements for compliance — and related activities — appear here in the WACs we list below."

sleeper, you are preaching to the choir. I said that HC isn't covered by IDEA because it isn't. I did say that the term and definition of continuum of services comes straight from I SpEd law because it does, as you also know.

NE Dad, the problem with arbitrarily separating advanced students from the general population is that it creates clusters of general education students that leads to violations of ELL law and LRE for SpEd, as well as continuing to leave out historically underrepresented populations. That is why the state law is so carefully crafted to make sure that students are identified legally and fairly and that demographics reflect the area of the district.

Anonymous said…
Not really, though. It is like this: all students have the right to FAPE. All students have the right to LRE. All students have the right to have a continuum of services to meet their individual needs. That is where the specific definitions arise from for SPED, where they are enshrined in federal law through IDEA and through litigation. But those definitions only apply to SPED students, which is why nonSPED students cannot complain about their LRE under IDEA. Other students wanting to assert those same rights, which they also have, would need to sue under different statutes, and which use different definitions. Especially when the right arises from the very different world of state law. I agree with HF. It is better in states that have elevated gifted students as a classification and have IEPs for gifted students, meaning many of the terms take on the same meanings. In most ways I would like if we had what you would like here. We have not done that, though. We define continuum as k-12, as in no "skips" in the services. Not an array like SPED has dependent on your level of need. The Garfield honors for all classes are definitely skirting riiiiiight at that line of noncompliance, though as of now there are still honors humanities classes at IHS, so maybe that is what "counts." Opt in is certainly fine (and in high school probably pretty appropriate, the way it always was at Garfield before they got rid of them).

Deepest Apologizes said…
I don't care what you call it (giftedness by whatever name). Arguing about the name we call a group of people by is a silly, fruitless waste of time. Adults can most certainly be gifted, whatever you choose to call it. It does not take "stimulation, life-long learning, etc." as HCmom claims above. I could lounge around on the sofa watching soap operas all day and still be a scary-smart freak who doesn't fit in. Can I learn new stuff without trying very hard? Why, yes, I can. I have the two masters degrees and the PhD to prove it. Do I also have privilege? Yes. How else could I have afforded the PhD program? Did the one thing cause the other? How is that possibly the business of a school employee to determine? How is that any of their business at all? It is not a put-down to others to say that I'm gifted. The only thing that would make that a put down is the erroneous belief that smarter is somehow better. Which is ridiculous. The smarter the kid, the more prone to anxiety and existential depression and not fitting in and self-medicating and all the other risks that come with an extremely high IQ. If your neighbor has a really smart kid, much smarter than your own, no one would go trade kids with their neighbor. That's crazy. People are not rushing out to trade their kids in for smarter ones. People want their own kids to do their best, to be happy. They want schools that will teach their kids. They want their kids to be encouraged and mentored and educated.

The thing is, in order for all kids to be challenged and educated at school, parents need a way to discuss kids who are not being challenged. They need a way to discuss kids who have already achieved the year's learning goals before the year has started.

Hard work does pay off. Hard work will get you ahead. But it won't get you ahead of everyone. I was salutatorian of my high school class. I worked really hard. No amount of work on my part could have made me valedictorian. Because in order to be valedictorian, I would have had to best my friend Matt academically. And that is never going to happen. Matt ended up going to Harvard. He's an ivy league professor now. He got a perfect score on the SATs. And it's OK. There is nothing wrong with Matt being smarter than me. He's not worth more than I am. He's a great guy. The rest of my high school class was also made up of great people. Super nice people who have gone one to be amazing adults. Not ivy league professors. But better than that in our own ways. They run bookmobile programs and create cool cyber art and are civil rights lawyers and work in biotech research and preach and fix cars and teach. All great people. Not all gifted. Or whatever you call it. But no less valuable. They all deserved a chance to learn and be challenged. Our parents didn't rush out and trade us in for Matt. Matt has cholesterol problems and a weak chin. He's had to spend $100k sending his sons to private school (in another state) because the public schools where he live couldn't challenge his gifted kids.

part 1
Deepest Apologizes said…

If we all set out today to become the best football players we can be, we train, we practice, we drill, we eat right, etc. Most of us still wouldn't make it onto a professional football team. (especially not those of us who are female or walk with a leg brace). Probably none of us would. It takes so much more than just hard work.

And it's OK for the school district to acknowledge that reality. If a kid is a concert pianist, you don't make them take beginning piano. It is OK to recognize that education is a combination of natural abilities and hard work and great teaching. All those things affect learning. The school district gets nowhere by telling all kids they're just like Matt. And that he got ahead solely by working hard. He worked hard, but not at his school work. He worked hard in his step dad's small business. That man didn't cut him any slack. They needed his work hours to make ends meet. Conveniently Matt didn't need to study to beat the rest of us academically. If there'd have been more kids in our graduating class, he'd have beat them all.

Giftedness by whatever name is a thing. And we get nowhere by insisting it doesn't exist. It's cruel to make kids who don't have Matt's "gifts" feel like they need to compete with Matt. Back in high school I competed with Matt. I worked so hard and I lost every match up. Matt is just smarter than me. And it's OK. I get that now. Being the smartest doesn't make people the best. All people are valuable for who they are. You know what I am grateful for? That Matt was there for me to compete with. All kids deserve a challenge at school and some healthy competition. Learning shouldn't be a cakewalk. All the kids should be welcomed to learn and grow. And it has to be OK for Matt's parents to talk about Matt's educational needs with Matt's teachers. There has to be a word for talking about Matt.

part 2
Anonymous said…
Deepest Apologizes, not sure what your moniker means, but your reply confirms what I meant. Thanks! Yes, if you rested on your sofa all day, your brain would not be stimulated. Same as our kids who aren't challenged. Yes your brain would not get blood flow to areas to make neural connections. Giftedness, in my opinion does not continue to apply directly to adults. My personal opinion. I know some PhDs who couldn't separate recycling from garbage when they moved out after four years. They may have been trying to find a cure for blood cancer but don't know the difference between garbage and recycling. So a PhD does not prove smartness.... Maybe the student loan bill proves something. I think there is some giftedness to social intelligence too. That is something we learn by doing.
Yes, very good, Deepest Apologies, and your voice will be needed in the time ahead as this district continues with its quest of trying to decide what kind of district it wants to be when it grows up.
Deepest Apologize said…
My moniker comes from the Department of Education's mistake-ridden tweets from yesterday.

I'm afraid, HCmom, the blood still flows to my brain even when I lounge around. Still making neural connections... And I know plenty of medical doctors with super messy handwriting. That's actually a thing. Plus airheaded PhDs. Totally a thing.

Obviously earning a PhD doesn't "prove" smartness or privilege. But it's sure a heck of a lot easier to complete one if you're smart and privileged than if you're neither. A PhD program isn't a good fit for everyone nor is there any point for a lot of careers. And having a PhD doesn't make a person better than not having one. I, for example, am the same person now as I was before I had the PhD. Just better educated now. But no more or less worthy of love or respect than before. And no more valuable than my kid's school bus driver or the prep cook at the local pizza place or the mom with the broken tail light who passes me every morning. People are intrinsically valuable for being people.

The thing is, it's not just smartness/giftedness/intelligence that's hard to prove--a lot of invisible things are hard to prove. How do you prove to someone that your mom speaks Farsi to you at home? It's a lot easier to prove to other people who speak Farsi, I'll tell you that. But at some point you have to wonder, why would you ever need to prove to school employees that your mom speaks Farsi? What business is it of theirs? What does it matter to them? Obviously if you were being required to take Farsi 101, suddenly it would matter very much. Or if you were being required to pass a class in Dari or Tajiki. If you have diabetes, presumably you would have a note for the school nurse and that would be enough proof. Hopefully. It can be hard to prove that you're gay. But we've come a long way on that front as a society lately. And again, it's not really the place of the public schools to be demanding proof of that. On the other hand, since giftedness (whatever you call it) affects education, it behoves the schools to figure out what they're doing and get it right.

Many people claim smartness isn't a thing and often (as you did, HCmom) hurry to add that there are lots of other kinds of intelligence. Gifted people are used to hearing that. And usually: who cares? It's like believing what language my mom speaks. Why do I care if anyone believes that? But educators are the exception. They're supposed to educate. Giftedness affects education. So if educators don't understand what giftedness or deny its existence, that's harmful.

It's estimated that 20% of the prison population is composed of gifted adults. If their educational needs had been better met, well, that would have been far better, preferable and more humane to everyone.

SPS could get this right. They don't have to get this wrong. Melissa is totally right about this (and so many other things): someday our district will grow up and it would be nice to see the district decide to educate all children and challenging them all. As human beings they all deserve that.
Anonymous said…
Wise words Deepest.

Anonymous said…
HCMom, really appreciate your comments and insights. -NP
Charlie Mas said…
I have been a public school activist for about 16 years. Every so often someone will ask me how I could possibly stay angry that long. I had to clear up the misconception. I wasn't still angry; I was angry again. For about twelve years, week after week, without a break, Seattle Public Schools did something new to make me angry.

I got very close to hanging it up once. I had decided to put it all behind me. On that day I gathered up all of the meeting handouts I had been keeping to put them in the recycling and I found something in there that relit the flame - yet again. I absolutely understand how Melissa could want to set it all aside, and I absolutely understand how it could drag her back in.
PAA Member said…
Stop Devos is late to the party!!!

Anyone that would accuse board members of having "deer in the headlights who have no clue what is coming" hasn't been around.

Multiple members of the board have been actively opposing Gates and the corporate model of education reform- for years. If you think the board is unaware of Gates and the corporate model of education- think again.

Where was Stop Devos when the board pushed back to restore Middle College and spoke out against the social justice curriculum replaced by an online curriculum, or the various times they’ve supported option and alternative schools and advanced learning and funding IB? Their efforts to invest in curricular materials instead of online learning? Stop Devos must have missed the various times directors have spoken against a one to one computer purchases, or against the SBAC, the first fully computerized assessment. Yes, various board members are aware of these profit-making trends and the forces behind them. Where were you when this board questioned a $6 million Cloudbook request?

To suggest President Peters has a "deer in the headlight" look is nothing less than absurd. For years, before joining the board, Peters worked on the national and local level to call attention to the corporate model of education, and to fight privatization of public education. Stop Devos probably missed the fact that Peters ran against a corporate backed candidate. Peter's opponent was provided hundreds of thousands of dollars by Ballmer, Raikes and the billionaires that seek to privatize education. The privatizers knew Peters wouldn't go along with their scheme.

Melissa has a rule: Provide a basis for your "facts". It is a good rule!

PAA Member said…
Stop DeVos said:

'SPS is trying to standardize the curriculum and eliminate all forms of differentiated learning - HCC, SpEd, option schools, language schools, etc"

Has Stop DeVos not noticed that one of our wonderful school board members served as an Administrative Judge at OSPI. She served to assure needs of special education students. This director is passionate about special education, spent years working to improve the lives of special education students and will fight tooth and nail for these kids.
PAA Member said…

Has Stop DeVos not noticed that one of our wonderful school board members served as an Administrative Law Judge at OSPI? She served to assure needs of special education students were met. This director is passionate about special education. She has spent years working to improve the lives of special education students and will fight tooth and nail for these kids.
Not sure why you not name the director that you are talking about - it's Director Jill Geary.
PAA Member said…
Correct. Director Jill Geary is a Rockstar!
Anonymous said…
Everyone's entitled to an opinion. Doesn't make yours correct.
Anonymous said…
Kellie, it is utterly irrelevant that HCC "looks like Seattle" in terms of whiteness. It absolutely does not look like SPS. And that is a problem . Only an HCC parent defending an ever growing, maximally segregated system would ride that dead horse. You are out of your depth. Segregation is not cheaper. Differentiation is. Segregation is expensive for those hurt the most. So in a less than perfect system, nobody should get a "Cadillac " even if it is perfect for them. But nobody should be stuck in classrooms that are disproportionately minority, disabled, impoverished, or English language learners. Clustering those issues together doesn't somehow save money.

Special education is required to serve students in private schools. HCC does not and isn't required to serve gifted students in private schools. We do not know the level of giftedness in private schools so we can not use that to defend policy that exacerbates greater inequity. The 2007 APP audit rejected that excuse. It was given then too. So this gifted claim of equity over a city is really a dead horse too. We don't know the percentage of giftedness, or HCC eligibility in the privates. People like you with a dog in the show, proclaim that all gifted black students are actually fine and good in private school. So, no problem that there are none in HCC. The companion claim made by HCC proponents is that white gifted students don't go private. This is also used to delegitimize disproportionality. Most other people think the opposite. Private schools are full of gifted students since they can be selective. Of course they choose the students with the highest potential. Most of them advertise that. Yes they must also have coin. But doesn't stand to reason that in a city wher there is so much wealth derived from intellectual capital that our private school population is likely to be more gifted as a whole than public schools? If that is the case, then our HCC should be way less racially segregated than it is. You might even assume that the number of white students in HCC should be less than in the percentage in SPS.

The fact is we don't know the racial or intellectual makeup of private school participants. We can only make claims based on what we actually must serve. In order for the program to be both more effective and more equitable, it will absolutely need to be smaller and more targeted.


Popular posts from this blog

Tuesday Open Thread

Seattle Public Schools and Their Principals

COVID Issues Heating up for Seattle Public Schools