Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday Open Thread

Rep Suzan DelBene stood up for teachers at a recent Congressional hearing for the Republican tax plan over tax deductions that would go away for individuals but not for companies. One of them is a tax deduction for teachers who spend their own money to buy supplies for their classrooms.

I wasn't able to attend the Executive Committee of the Whole meeting but the discussion was listed to be about the RFP for search firms to find a new superintendent. I have not had a chance to read it but it should give a peek into the thinking about what the district wants in a new superintendent.

Eight schools were named Schools of Distinction from the Center on Educational Effectiveness.

CEE’s School of Distinction award honors the highest improving Washington State schools, staff, and their leaders for improved performance for all students. Specifically, sustained performance over five years in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics at the Elementary and Middle School levels and 4-year and 5-year adjusted Cohort Graduation Rates at the High School 

The 2017 Seattle Schools of Distinction:

Rainier Beach High School is one of the highest improving schools in the state for increased ELA/Math achievement and Graduation Rate.

Olympic Hills is one of the highest improving schools in the state for increased ELA/Math achievement.

Madrona Elementary is of the highest improving schools in the state for increased ELA/Math achievement.

Hazel Wolf is one of the highest improving schools in the state for increased ELA/Math achievement.

Hawthorne is one of the highest improving schools in the state for increased ELA/Math achievement.

Cleveland High School is one of the highest improving schools in the state for increased ELA/Math achievement and Graduation Rate.

B.F. Day is one of the highest improving schools in the state for increased ELA/Math achievement.

Alki Elementary is one of the highest improving schools in the state for increased ELA/Math achievement.

Very sad stats about homelessness in Seattle Public Schools - they are reaching near NYC levels (and that's not good).  From the Seattle Times:
About one out of every 16 students in Seattle schools is homeless. Many have been for years, and their numbers are increasing at a rate comparable to New York City, according to a new analysis. 
In total, Seattle educated 3,612 homeless children in classrooms across the district during the 2015-16 school year, though some schools — such as Garfield High and Washington Middle — had vastly more homeless students than others. Interagency Academy, a network of alternative programs where 36 percent of students were listed as homeless, had the highest rate.
Also sad news, Federal Way School District's capital bond measure failed by less than 1% of the needed 60%.  Washington's Paramount Duty is considering making passing school bond elections by a simple majority a goal. Currently, school bond measures have to pass by a super-majority of 60%.

There are no director community meetings this weekend.

What's on your mind?


Steve said...

I'd be really interested to learn more about what SPS does for students (and their families) experiencing homelessness. On the district site, I can only find info about the federally mandated implementation of the McKinney-Vento Act. There is a Liasion/Program Manager (Tyra Williams), but no one else listed. If there is only one person focused on working with homeless families all over the district, that doesn't seem like enough. I'm hoping there is tight integration with local service providers and government agencies. Perhaps there is some teacher/principal training about how best to meet the needs of these students? If no one knows, I will contact Tyra to find out and post the info here.


Steve said...

Oops. Found the contact page for the McKinney-Vento team. More resources beyond Tyra.

Anonymous said...

Last year we took in a SPS student who was kicked out of his home for his orientation. Both we and the student contacted SPS to see what could be done. Regardless of what propaganda SPS puts out they did nothing to help, NOTHING!. We finally threatened the parents with calling in CPS and the parents realized the gravity of the situation and student was able to return home.


Anonymous said...

When I looked into this years ago, the people helping homeless families were in the group that was also responsible for truancy and other such things. My impression at the time was that this group mainly made sure that SPS adhered to the rules of the McKinney Vento Act, and not a ton else. Hope my impression was wrong. I think schools can be a great avenue for helping homeless families through service delivery, etc.


Bus Strike? said...

It is heart breaking to see so many homeless students in Seattle Public Schools. As the state seeks to 'fund' education, Seattle's students are placed on the loosing end. I never thought it a good idea to break the district's largest district.

There has been talk about a pending bus strike. There is some interesting information about the bus company that needs to be shared:

The bus company is part of a $7.6B multinational FOR-PROFIT corporation. First Student also owns Greyhound.

Seattle Public Schools is a local nonprofit public school district with an operating budget of c.$800 million. (total budget $1 billion).

(What legitimate excuse does First Student have for not providing its employees fair wages and solid benefits?) For more information, please read:


It seems to me that a multinational for profit organization would have the capacity to provide benefits for their employees. From my perspective, it is best to go after the bus company and leave SPS dollars for homeless students.

I did find it interesting that the bus company was telling parents to write the school board.

Melissa Westbrook said...

MJ, the district could have called the student’s family to enquirer but legally, I don’t think they could do anything but report it. What should they have done?

Anonymous said...

What could SPS do? Well there are child abandonment laws and school staff are considered mandatory reporters. So the counselor and the nurse should have called the parents then CPS. The school was more concerned about his poor attendance then the fact he was homeless.


Another View said...


What makes you think the child returned to a safe home? What makes you think school staff didn't call the authorities? I imagine there are confidentiality issues.

Anonymous said...

Changes in HCC appeals


Holy Cow

Anonymous said...

I know because we have contact with the child. I'm not getting into the details, we know for a fact they did nothing, remember the child was living in my home for 8 months and for 5 months after we notified the school and the district. We spoke with CPS later and they knew nothing about the child's situation. CPS advised us on steps to take.


Please stop apologizing for SPS.

Ebenezer said...

Very good (and lengthy piece) on how far-right religious movements are using the charter school movement to get public funding of religious schools.


Anonymous said...

And what do you know, SPS is now raising the threshold for HC appeals. Not only is SPS going to splinter the cohort, but they are creating a higher threshold for those qualifying with private appeals (only for HC, though, not Spectrum). 99%ile across the board.

Never a dull moment, SPS.

what's next?

Renate said...

The 99th percentile change will do nothing to improve equity, by the way. If anything, it will make it worse. The so-called "benefit" from the one-on-one testing procedure that motivates this change is something otherwise known as ACCURACY. So they are restricting the use of a much more accurate test, while relying on an inaccurate cogat test that is responsible in large part for the inequity in the system. I thought also that 2E kids were among the categories they were supposed to be identifying in greater numbers? Again, the private one-on-one tests are the only way many 2E kids can even be identified, but 2E kids now have to be in the 99th percentile to qualify.

By the way, all the HC program even is, is acceleration in two subjects. It's literally the same curriculum used elsewhere, just taught early. Same teachers, no extra funding, same books, etc. So they're restricting access to a program that is already a very poor example of an HC program.

Anonymous said...

District data shows that appeals currently mirror who is already in the HC. Appeals have made higher numbers of the same demographics.

Data please

Anonymous said...

Way to (further) screw over 2e students, SPS. You officially suck.

big time

Anonymous said...

Do achievement tests take learning disabilities into consideration? With IQ testing, for example, you can qualify based on the GAI instead of the full-scale IQ, which helps since many with learning disabilities score low in working memory and/or processing speed. Is there a similar consideration in achievement testing? I know my 2e child scored low in all the "fluency" measures of achievement testing, consistent with major processing speed deficits.

Anonymous said...

Who thought up, vetted and approved this change? It was done outside of Board review, as the details of the thresholds and appeals process are not written in Board approved policy.

Referral is now done online, correct? Did the parental permission include the appeals process as currently posted? The new policy is questionable, at best. Parents may have some recourse if it has changed since parental permission was given. Do we need to take screenshots of the AL website every month??

WAC 392-170-047 Parental/legal guardian permission.
Parental permission shall be obtained in writing before:
(1) Conducting assessment(s) to determine eligibility for participation in programs for highly capable students;
(2) Placement in the district's highly capable program before any special services and programs are started for an identified highly capable student;
Parental permission notice shall include:
(a) A full explanation of the procedures for identification of a student for entrance into the highly capable program;
(b) An explanation of the appeal's process;
(c) An explanation of the procedures to exit a student from the program; and
(d) Information on the district's program and the options that will be available to identified students.

sheesh SPS

Anonymous said...

Still trying to wrap my head around a plan that splinters the HC cohort, then institutes (surprise!) a new appeals process impacting only HC qualification while claiming they are -increasing- access to AL. Take note families, as it includes qualification for Ingraham IBX - the only means of accessing an HC option in high school for those not already in the cohort in 8th grade.

sheesh SPS

Anonymous said...

The new SPS plan provides AL options at more schools, restricts the appeals process, and will eventually re-define the program so that it serves true outliers who cannot be well served by regular SPS classes. I hope SPS moves to testing every 3 years to confirm continued eligibility for HCC services, as they do for SPED students. A test taken in kindergarten should not entitle kids to 12 years of special programs.

Anonymous said...

The new requirements for appeals will reduce access to advanced learning services for gifted students with disabilities without increasing access for any other group of underidentified students.

The new plan does not provide increased access to advanced learning services for a single elementary or middle school student in the district. Whether principals choose to offer more AP or honors courses at Franklin and West Seattle High Schools won’t be apparent for two years but given the history of these schools isn’t likely.

Great work advocating TM parents. Hopefully you’ll be honorable enough to pull your kids who qualified with appeals out of the program now.

Old Parent

Anonymous said...

I echo that comment by Old Parent. I hope some of this TM parents find themselves at a school with 30 HC students and a class or two that works for them.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

@Old Parent:

Don't be fooled. It's not just TM parents who have been working on this issue.

While it may be easy to blame those closest to you, there has been a huge outcry
over this situation, and many people and groups have been working hard behind the scenes for equity in HC.

Fed Up

Anonymous said...

@Fed Up-so, what? You can strengthen you northend school? Good for you!

Mirror Mirror

Anonymous said...

@ Fed Up, how exactly does making it harder for gifted students with learning disabilities to qualify further your supposed interest in equity in HCC?

For that matter, how does making it harder for anyone to get in on appeal help? Where is the sense in requiring that students only have to score at the 95th percentile on a district-administered achievement test but 99th percentile on one administered under more controlled conditions?

Nobody is fooled that it's only TM parents. There are lots of others whose children don't qualify and who are very bitter about it, we know. They don't mind if Sped students or ELL students or FLR or African American male or whatever other students get something that their kids don't, but god forbid a student at the extreme upper end of the cog/ach curve does. No way! Not fair!

mob mentality

Anonymous said...

I just want to vent a bit, but not on the thread for Tracy.

I find it beyond awful that whoever put out the press release for Tracy (not Tracey) misspelled her name. Seriously!? She works for you for 30 years and you can't even spell her name right! And you spell her name two different ways in the same press release.

And then if you go to the District website and search Tracy Libros (spelled correctly) the first result that comes up is from 2013! Or, the first result that comes up in a different browser is that Libros means books in Spanish. Never mind the press release they presumably put out this week that should come up first.

The District website has been redone almost every single year for 6 or 7 million dollars a pop and they have a structure that is almost impossible to search. If a page is just two or three menu levels below the main page it has almost (or more) a three line url.

Our PTA just pays about $100 a year to have our website via Word Press and it is infinitely more searchable than the multi million dollar SPS site. What gives?

The disrespect to Tracy and the disrespect to us parents/taxpayers is beyond.


Anonymous said...

The new SPS plan provides AL options at more schools, restricts the appeals process, and will eventually re-define the program so that it serves true outliers who cannot be well served by regular SPS classes. I hope SPS moves to testing every 3 years to confirm continued eligibility for HCC services, as they do for SPED students. A test taken in kindergarten should not entitle kids to 12 years of special programs.

@ NP, that makes no sense. For one, they didn't change the general eligibility criteria, just the appeals, so it's not going to "redefine the program so that it serves true outliers"--they still require 95th percentile on the achievement tests, and since those tests aren't very accurate at the upper levels in the first place, that 95th percentile is going to capture some students who'd typically score below that, too. That's not the outliers.

Two, what's the point in capturing "outliers who cannot be well served by regular SPS classes" if they are providing AL options at more schools? The whole reason for providing AL options at more schools is so than more non-HCC students can take them, which means outliers would be even less well-served by such classes than now. You think SPS is trying to make AL more accessible to everyone else while simultaneously trying to make it more restricted to outliers?

Three, retesting every three years doesn't make sense, unless you think it's good for kids to maybe repeat grades every other year and then skip grades in the other years. For example, say you move into HCC in 1st grade, doing 3rd grade work that year and 4th grade work the following year. Then you retest, just miss the cutoff (because you never covered what's on the test, since you essentially skipped those grades), so go back down to regular third grade, where you can repeat what you did TWO years ago. Maybe then you retest and get back in, so 4th grade you start doing 6th grade work in HCC, skipping 5th grade work. If we had a true gifted ed program I might agree with you, but for an acceleration-based model it just doesn't work. Retesting at middle school might make more sense, possibly.

The other issue with retesting has to do with 2e students. Many 2e students do well on tests in early grades, but around middle school their intellectual giftedness is often no longer enough to compensate for their learning disabilities. Does that mean they are no longer cognitively gifted and should be kicked out of the program because of their disabilities? Absolutely not. That's the worst thing we could do for those students. It also doesn't "help everyone else" to kick them out--it's a lose/lose.

big time

Anonymous said...

The appeals demographics reflect the HCC demographics.

Apparently, appeals haven't been helping 2E students get identified to any measurable degree. That seems to be an urban legend.

What needs to happen is to address what anonymous says, allow for testing itself to use the IEP testing accomodations (or get them written into the IEP), use single subject gifted qualification and other changes that will actually address the needs of shortchanged 2E students.

reprinting from anonymous:

"Do achievement tests take learning disabilities into consideration? With IQ testing, for example, you can qualify based on the GAI instead of the full-scale IQ, which helps since many with learning disabilities score low in working memory and/or processing speed. Is there a similar consideration in achievement testing? I know my 2e child scored low in all the "fluency" measures of achievement testing, consistent with major processing speed deficits."

Fed Up

Anonymous said...

"god forbid a student at the extreme upper end of the cog/ach curve does. No way! Not fair!"

"They hate me because I'm beautiful."

It's way easier to play the victim than to admit that the entire identification process has been biased. The state of WA just stepped in and said that FRL students must be identified.

It isn't just the "mob" who is saying the gig is up.


Anonymous said...

...and will eventually re-define the program so that it serves true outliers who cannot be well served by regular SPS classes

And how are those "true" outliers (as opposed to false outliers?) being served now? Poorly, if at all. If they aren't serving them well now, what makes one think SPS is going to serve them better in the future?


Anonymous said...

@ Fed Up, why would 2e students getting in via appeals be expected to change overall HCC demographics? I don't see how your comment is relevant.

In addition, my initial comment was specific to the new appeals criteria, so past data wouldn't address it even if they were available and relevant. Are you saying this new change in the appeals criteria won't impact the ability of 2e students to qualify? Are you saying 2e students didn't ever get in on appeal before?

@PublicSchools, how does changing the appeals criteria to deny some kids access help find more FRL students?


Anonymous said...

Received from SPS:

Dear Seattle Public Schools Families,

Seattle Public Schools will open Lincoln High School in September 2019. Lincoln will be an attendance area high school serving students based on where they live. This requires drawing an attendance area for the new high school and reassigning students from other high school areas.

Ingraham High School will also have a significant capacity increase in 2019 with the construction of an addition. This is also being considered as new high school boundaries are drawn.

Thank you to the many families who attended regional open house meetings to talk about the boundary change process. We are continuing to seek feedback as we make additional adjustments to the boundaries before bringing a proposal to the School Board for approval.

This survey is an opportunity for you to share your top priorities as we make adjustments to the current boundary scenarios and provide any additional feedback that should be considered by district staff and the School Board. The listed priorities include those developed by the High School Boundary Task Force and values shared by families, staff and students at the recent community meetings. The survey will close on November 27.

Survey Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SPS_HSBoundaries

Adjustments will be made to the boundary scenarios based on feedback from families via email, the survey, open house meetings, and other channels. Adjustments will also be made in response to any School Board approved changes to the Highly Capable (HC) pathways. If changes are made to high school HC pathways they will be implemented in the 2019-20 school year in alignment with the opening of Lincoln High School.

Next Steps: It is anticipated that a proposal will be presented at the School Board Operations Committee meeting on December 7, 2017 and final approval of the boundary changes will take place on January 17, 2018. For more background information on the high school boundary change process visit our High School Boundary Changes webpage. A Lincoln High School Frequently Asked Questions document is attached to this email.

FAQ_Lincoln HS_Nov 2017.pdf

For questions or comments please email growthboundaries@seattleschools.org

Thank you.

Enrollment Planning


Lynn said...

NP - Just took the survey. They adding the guiding principle considering proximity of students to schools, safe walk zones, and transportation time in the survey, but I haven't heard that they are changing their "recommended" Hv2 boundary map which contradicts that guiding principle. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

-Other Lynn

Anonymous said...

TM's "Equity in HCC" is the group advocating for removal of the appeal process.

If what Old Parent says is true, any member of "Equity in HCC" whose kid qualified for HCC based on appeal is a hypocrite.

Live your ideology or lose credibility.


Anonymous said...

@ Lynn - Thanks for voting! And providing the update on the guiding principles.


Anonymous said...

And the basis for removal/modification of the appeal process is...that more kids--who have educational needs just like those who already qualify based on the district's testing--might get in? That it's better to limit how many kids qualify, even if there's essentially no difference between the kids that get in one way vs. the kids who get in another? Basically, they are trying to find a way to deny HC services from as many HC kids as possible. It's shameful.

That SPS staff are willing to just blindly go along with this idea is just as shameful. There's no evidence that kids who get in on appeal are any less qualified, or need the services any less. I suspect in many cases they need the services MORE. Putting an intellectually gifted student with ADHD in a GE classroom because they didn't

If they really support "equity in HCC"--and this proposal does nothing to promote that--they should fight for HCC to be based purely on cognitive abilities, dropping the achievement portion of the qualification criteria.


Melissa Westbrook said...

NP, I have no problem with retesting HCC kids every three years (or did you mean ALL AL kids, only HCC kids in a separate program). Because it will costs a lot of money but sure.

But you are misinformed about HCC in high school. There is NO special program. None at all.

Fed Up, I have not seen this huge outcry. I have not heard it discussed at any Board committee meeting. I do know there are some parents working on the equity issue as they see it, mostly parents fromTM. And that's fine but huge outcry? Also, what is it that you are "fed up" about?

Step J, thank you for noting that info about Tracy Libros. I was upset and I didn't see it.

Well, and here's the odd thing about TM. How come they don't have more kids of color - from their own school - in the program? The principal probably knows every single family and could reach out to those who kids might benefit. Did she? I don't know but their numbers of not gone up.

Don't be fooled by this equity talk - this is about putting all kids in the same classrooms, using the cloak of equity. Because if people really cared, they would be advocating for more ways of finding bright kids of color AND 2E kids and serving their needs.

kellie said...

Everyone hates a history lesson so here goes.

Prior to the current assignment plan, the advanced learning options were Spectrum and APP. These programs were "not close to home" for most students and as Spectrum was capacity controlled, there was a chronic inability for students to access any advanced learning.

About 10 years now, as part of the process to the NSAP, ALOs (Advanced Learning Opportunities) were created. ALOs with the addition of "walk-to-math" programs was the solution to the same "equity" problems with advanced learning. This is also about the same time when MTSS was introduced with the first of many three year timelines. The pronouncement at that time was that all schools would served advanced learning "closer to home" and only the "true outliers" would need HCC. Fast forward to today and what do we have.

The same MTSS that is going to save everything. Advanced Learning "plans" are required to be noted on a school's CSIP, but as far as I know only Charlie Mas puts in the time and effort to review the CSIPs to ensure that the language is even included. There is no mechanism to ensure AL is provided.

The theory was appealing. It is understandable that today's advocates are excited about this "new innovation" that will serve AL "closer to home." But the street-level reality is very different. With the introduction of the NSAP, over-crowded schools actively encouraged AL students to leave their crowded schools and go to HCC. The net-net is that there as significantly less AL at neighborhood schools and demand for AL services skyrocketed.

There is a good reason, why I am so suspicious of mandates that don't come with a budget code. Real solutions require resources. A plan that does not include resources is not a plan, it is a pretty press release.

There is no reason to think that this plan will create any additional AL opportunities for any student.

Anonymous said...

I believe SPS thinks that parents who appeal are somehow gaming the system and that the appeals process favors the affluent. You may disagree, but I don't think they are trying to out-screen those with disabilities.

Anonymous said...

Is there some evidence that those who get in on appeal do not perform as well academically unless their private test results are in the 99th percentile? Or are they making this change simply to control and limit HC (and only HC) numbers? Hard to know when the change seemingly appeared out of nowhere (thank you to the parent who noticed it).

just odd

Anonymous said...

Appeals are part of the state law. Private retesting for appeals is not part of the law.

Neighboring districts have already taken away outside testing for appeals, especially in the east side where testing centers routinely offer "test prep for gifted programs." A committee reviews the evidence, including parent concerns about possible testing conditions or score inaccuracies. However, a private test retake has not been an option for the past few years.

Other districts also have their committees decide on a case-by-case basis using evidence that includes more than test scores. Scores are not, in themselves, a ticket to eligibility. That is also part of the state law.

Reality Check

Anonymous said...

Don't IEPs include testing accommodations? One of my 2E kids (the one with a physical disability) had one-on-one testing by the school district because he would not have been able to access the group CogAT. Don't they do this for other sorts of disabilities? Testing accommodations are standard parts of IEPs. Not challenging anyone's assertion that 2E kids sometimes need private testing. I just think the district should be taking care of this and not making Sped parents pay for it.

hcc/gened/sped parent

Anonymous said...

Hcc/gened/sped parent,

Part of the problem is that you can't get those accommodations unless you qualify for services. In some cases, the district has denied services to children who had cognitive disabilities diagnosed by reputable institutions (e.g. Children's). So I guess the district should allocate more money toward legal reserves, because that's the direction we're heading.


Anonymous said...

Many 2e (perhaps even most) kids do not qualify for an IEP (and therefore testing accommodations) precisely because they often meet grade level standards and show no immediate "adverse educational impact". I see this all the time in my role as an educator in special ed and experience with my own 2e child. My child's neighborhood school did not want to believe she was HC. She is thriving now and NO, her academic and emotional needs were not being met in the neighborhood school. We did not need to appeal with private testing but I had had testing done for other reasons so I could have appealed if needed. Making 2e students wait for HC services until they flounder enough to have an IEP is not the answer.

Early Intervention

Anonymous said...

HC students with disabilities often aren't the highest performing students in the class (imagine that!), so teachers often don't recognize their giftedness. You often can't convince a school to give them an IEP--or even a 504 plan in many cases--if they are doing around average, even though that reflects serious underperformance.

Is there somehow evidence that a 95th percentile score on a school-administered district test is equivalent to a 90th percentile score on a more controlled, private test?

@ NP, If "SPS thinks that parents who appeal are somehow gaming the system," what's their evidence? Do kids who get in on appeals not do well? If they get in and do just as well, isn't that an argument that their eligibility was legitimate? I'd like to see the district use logic rather than feelings when it comes to children's educational futures. And whether or not they are intentionally trying to out-screen those with disabilities isn't the point--they should be using an equity lens to see if this change unfairly impacts 2e students. Have they done that analysis?

@Reality Check, who cares if private testing is part of the law or not? Yes, they could get rid of it, but why? The issue should be whether or not the appeals process effectively identifies students who are legitimately part of the target audience (HC). Is private testing somehow allowing students who can't hack it in HCC to qualify? That does not appear to be the case. Or is it allowing SPS to find more of the kids who are HC? Also, your test prep argument doesn't hold up, because you can just as easily prep for the district testing as the private testing.

The driving force behind any and all changes should be an effort to better find the kids who need the services (regardless of race, income, language, etc.), and/or an effort to better screen out those who don't so they aren't placed in the program by inappropriately. These changes accomplish neither, and are instead designed to limit the number of kids who get in, whether they need the program or not.


Anonymous said...

It's ironic that they want to limit appeals to kids scoring above the 99th percentile when the HCC program/services are so clearly NOT designed for such kids.

And by ironic I mean sad.

typical SPS

Anonymous said...

The flap over "2e" of the HCC and LD variety seriously makes no sense. And sounds more and more like privileged complaining. Folks. To be admitted to HCC, your kid has to be "ahead" academically. In fact, the HCC program is for acceleration by all district descriptions. Got that? Ahead. 2 years ahead to be exact. If your kid is diagnosed with an LD and qualifies for an IEP under LD - it means they are BEHIND. Ahead and Behind at the same time is an oxymoron. If they qualify for an IEP under LD - they are significantly behind. Clearly, an acceleration program would not in any way, shape, or form serve a kid who is behind, even if they have high cognitive scores. Furthermore, if kids are struggling to keep up, as they get older, clearly they are not well served by such a program. To get academic special education support while in a academically accelerated program is a total waste of resources. Let me guess. 100% white. Special education is not a program that's going to take an average student or gifted struggling student, and make them a superior student. It is designed for students in the bottom 2 standard deviations of performance if in one area - the bottom 2%. And the bottom 1.5 std deviations if qualified in more than one area, that is, the lower 10%. To put it clearly. Special ed is NOT going to be the program that takes you from the 80th% and puts you into the 90th, or 95th%. It is unreasonable to expect that. If your kid doesn't qualify for sped - then you're just making up the 2e. No reason that anybody should accommodate that fiction.

To keep the program from becoming just a special privilege, but actually serving breadth and depth, the new appeals are right on. Wouldn't every kid be gifted if we simply said hey, they're disabled in that area where they were behind... but otherwise they would be ahead. We're all just disabled Einsteins.

HCC qualified students - who have NON-academic disabilities. Now those make sense and the district must accommodate. Students with behavioral, social, emotional, or physical disabilities, who ALSO have high aptitude AND prerequisite academic performance. That is the 2e that can and should be accommodated in HCC as an acceleration program.


Anonymous said...

Those are the 2e students who are excluded by this change to the appeals process.


Anonymous said...

Wow, @reader, you're pretty clueless. Where to start?

Re: 2e students not being 2 years ahead: (1) Students do not have to be two years ahead to qualify for HCC, whether 2e or not. SPs tries to serve them with instruction 1-2 years ahead once they are in, but they don't have to be there to start. (2) Who says 2e students aren't two years ahead? Students with learning disabilities can still be advanced.

To be admitted to HCC, your kid has to be "ahead" academically. In fact, the HCC program is for acceleration by all district descriptions. Got that? Ahead. 2 years ahead to be exact.

Wrong. Students do not have to be two years ahead to qualify for HCC, whether 2e or not. SPS tries to serve them with instruction 1-2 years ahead once they are in, but they don't have to be there to start.

If your kid is diagnosed with an LD and qualifies for an IEP under LD - it means they are BEHIND.

Wrong again. A student does not need to be performing below grade level to qualify for an IEP. According to the US Office of Special Education Programs "there is no categorical exclusion for children with high IQs in Part B; therefore, if a student with a high I.Q. is not achieving at his expected performance standard for reasons other than those specified in 34 CFR 300.541(b), (the criteria for determining the existence of a specific learning disability (SLD)), and otherwise meets the criteria for that disability in accordance with that provision, the child can properly be identified within the meaning of that disability. Each child who is evaluated for a suspected learning disability must be measured against his own expected performance, and not against some arbitrary general standard.

Ahead and Behind at the same time is an oxymoron.

Wrong again. You have an inaccurate perception of what "ahead" and "behind" mean in this case. We're talking about cognitive abilities and achievement test scores. A student can be "ahead" (significantly advanced) in terms of both their cognitive abilities AND their understanding/knowledge of the academic topics covered via achievement tests yet still PERFORM poorly on achievement tests due to their disability. They can know and understand the material very well and with the unusual depth that is common among HC students, yet their LD makes it challenging to demonstrate that knowledge via the test format. That doesn't mean they are "behind"--it means the assessment protocol doesn't accurately measure how far "ahead" they are.

(part 1)

Anonymous said...

(part 2)

To get academic special education support while in a academically accelerated program is a total waste of resources.

Wrong. By your account, ONLY students in the bottom 2%, or maybe 10%, deserve any accommodations or services related to their disability--really? An at-level gen ed student with dyslexia should just suck it up? A gen ed student with ADHD shouldn't get any classroom accommodations to help them stay on task? Why does it "waste" more resources to provide dysgraphia accommodations to an advanced student than one working at grade level? Accommodations and supports are designed to help students learn to manage their disabilities, regardless of their abilities.

If your kid doesn't qualify for sped - then you're just making up the 2e. No reason that anybody should accommodate that fiction.

Wrong. And offensive. And according to your logic you can't qualify for sped unless you're "behind" and you can't be HC if you're "behind" so therefore there's no such thing as 2e in your world. Fine, believe that if you like. The experts all say otherwise.

You didn't say it specifically, but your comments also suggest you think underrepresented groups should stop whining, too, right? After all, you said: "To be admitted to HCC, your kid has to be "ahead" academically. In fact, the HCC program is for acceleration by all district descriptions. Got that? Ahead. 2 years ahead to be exact."

so wrong

Anonymous said...

2e kids with lds like dyslexia, dyscalculia or dysgraphia often times will have the reading and math scores to get in and excel in the program. i know of many who test in on the district's test and have progressed through until graduation. no problem. also adhd (off the charts) hasn't kept kids out too. sorry reader you will need to direct your hate somewhere else. like at the district who now wants to exclude kids that have 95-98% reading scores.

fwiw/at/d rants on and on about protected classes. well reader you know that ld are protected and i am sure that if you are giving wiggle room for ses and ell you better get your ld folks covered too. cuz that is when the sped lawyers hit high gear and tort all over the district for being not inclusive in a least to most restrictive manner consider an existing iep from a dr. that will trump an arbitrary increase in percentiles by an amorphous staff member and the districts offered test.

no caps

Anonymous said...

Look. You guys can split hairs however you like it. If HCC were are program for just high IQs, which seems to be 2e LD gifted complaint, then that would be one thing that would be plausible. But no. HCC is a program which requires BOTH high IQ AND high academic achievement. Achievement. If you have an LD you have low achievement. That is the definition of a learning disability. Sorry. You can quibble with words. To be qualified for HCC - you need to score in the top 95%, (sometimes they change it to 98%), sometimes they change it to 2 years accelerated. To be in special education your disability DOES have to have an educational impact. And I can tell you for a fact, that the district will measure you against grade level expectations to qualify you for an IEP, in SLD. They do NOT measure you against the standard "But he didn't get into HCC". Yes there are plenty of students with IEPs with high IQs. And some of them qualify for HCC based on their academic performance. Those are the students that we should focus on.

Furthermore. The main complaint levied against the HCC program, is indeed that acceleration is the only feature of the program. Why would people with so many problems with acceleration in particular, insist that their kids, who by definition, can not accelerate due to disability, need the program? That is illogical, and it waters down the program even more. We have a program, whose only feature, and now we can't even count on that. How many times have we heard that "The teacher can not possibly teach to a myriad of different levels." Now some are also saying, "Well, but for my kid who can't read at HCC grade level, or write at HCC grade level, or do math at HCC grade level, she now can suddenly teach at many levels after all." How can we say HCC must address multiple levels - ONLY for some kids, but not others? You see, it is these arguments that point out the real inequity. HCC great for who we want to make exceptions for, but not for others who we choose not to make exceptions for.

We are ALL gifted and advanced - except for the areas in which we are challenged. We could ALL be accommodated with modified curricula and modifications. Those are simply facts and not "hate".

no-caps I can barely read your jargon.

Consider this pseudo sentence again "sped lawyers hit high gear and tort all over the district for being not inclusive in a least to most restrictive manner consider an existing iep from a dr. that will trump an arbitrary increase in percentiles"

Are you saying that SLDs should be placed HCC as an LRE placement? And that somebody will sue with that as an argument? That is laughable! HCC is a self-contained setting - which is considered the most restrictive of all. They will have no case. Bring it on. As far as I know, there's never been such a case. And really. Special ed cases never win.


Sad 2e-Momma said...

Austina De Bonte talked to the Board about the problems with 2e students and group administered cognitive and achievement tests in her talk, Peeling the Onion - Equity in HiCap (bolding mine):

The problem:
Group-administered tests will not show consistently accurate results for kids who struggle with anxiety, attention issues, or
learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, sensory processing, etc. Of course, if a student has an IEP or a 504 Plan, districts will provide the stated accommodations. However, this is not nearly enough. The vast majority of potential HiCap students with these types of disabilities do not have formal IEPs or 504 Plans, because typically they are able to perform at or near grade level, and so do not meet the typical criteria for school-based Special Ed screening (performing two grade levels below standard, or significant social/emotional/behavioral challenges. These Twice Exceptional kids get caught in the middle – without recognition, accommodations, or services for their disability, which in turn means that they are much less likely to be able to demonstrate their advanced cognition on a group administered test. The best placement for most Twice Exceptional students is in a HiCap program with accommodations for their disabilities – but most are not recognized as highly capable with the current group administered instruments. Sadly, many families with Twice Exceptional kids have had such a hard time in the public school system, that Twice Exceptional has become a common reason to homeschool.

The solution:
Do one-on-one testing whenever there is reason to believe a student might need it. While it is cost prohibitive in today’s funding model in Washington state to do one-on-one testing for all students, districts should collect information from parents and teachers that would indicate when a student might benefit from a one-on-one test administration, and arrange an individual testing session for that child - even if there is no IEP or 504 Plan in place.

Anonymous said...

@ Reader "We are ALL gifted and advanced - except for the areas in which we are challenged. We could ALL be accommodated with modified curricula and modifications" Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, some of which can be remedied, but, NO we are NOT "all gifted and advanced except in the areas we are challenged". Most people are pretty average or just above/below average. Have you heard of the bellshaped curve? Most things in education (and life in general) are aimed at the large section in the middle of the curve which is appropriate. Some people are advanced in some areas, challenged in some, average in some, or some other combination. No amount of modification/accomodation is going to bring everyone to the same level - whether it is in academics, music, sports, art. That is not what accommodations are intended to do.

Unrelated; re SPS raising threshold for HCC eligibility via private appeal to 99th percentile. From SPS: "This does represent a higher threshold than for the initial eligibility process because the student has been given the benefit of individually administered assessments."
Make no mistake- this is what SPS is actually saying "This does represent a higher threshold than for the initial eligibility process because the student has been given the benefit of being raised in a family that can afford to pay for individually administered assessments"
If this was not the true intention then the higher threshold of 99% would apply to any individually administered appeals test, not just those paid for by the parents. Is this the case?

What I just don't get is why Seattle folks have such a problem with HCC. It's not like its anything special beyond 2yrs acceleration in reading and math with similarly capable peers. Not everyone has a high musical or sporting ability but no one seems to take issue with identifying and nurturing the talent in those who do and putting them in select teams or ensembles, setting them up for scholarships etc. What is the problem with doing that in academics? It's not taking anything away from any other group.

But whatever

Anonymous said...

@But Whatever

The new appeals process for HCC is for students who are appealing the IQ requirements of HCC. Are you saying that theses 2e students missed the HCC cutoffs academically AND intellectually? If so, then everyone is arguably 2e or gifted.

Sad 2e. Why do parents whose kids struggle academically think an academic acceleration program is needed? The clear solution really appears to be stop accelerating. I’m glad your expert acknowledged that 2 years behind is the basic qualification for sped. It is very evident that the notion of 2e is at odds with racial equity, the number one goal of the district.


Anonymous said...

Reader, the problem is you seem to think 2e only means academic disabilities. Besides the fact that it is possible to be gifted and LD in one or more area and and still perform ok at or near grade level but would not perform to their potential without accommodations.. There are many disabilities where a 2e kid would not perform well on the way SPS administers testing but not qualify for a IEP accommodations-ADHD, Autism, social-emotional, etc. Your understanding of what it means to be 2e is weak.

Your assertion that we all have gifts is hollow given the point of school is academics. (As an aside which schools do go way beyond to provide opportunities for gifted musicians and athletes)

Early intervention

Anna B. said...

A couple of comments up, Reader says, "If you have an LD you have low achievement." WRONG.

The following people all have/had some form of LD:
Mathematician John Forbes Nash, Jr. won a Nobel prize AND had schizoprenia. Thomas Edison was almost totally deaf in both ears from scarlet fever as a child. Albert Einstein didn't speak until age 4. Leonardo daVinci wrote most of his words backwards, in mirror image with strange, erratic spelling. Agatha Christie is believed to have had dysgraphia. F. Scott Fitzgerald and Victor Villasenor and Gustave Flaubert are believed to have had dyslexia. Dave Pilkey was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia. George Bernard Shaw, Jules Verne were believed to have had ADD/ADHD. WB Yeats could not for the life of him learn to read. His dad threw a book at his head. He eventually did learn and went on to earn a Nobel prize. Octavia Butler won the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant in 1995 and was diagnosed with dyslexia.


If geniuses can have learning disabilities then the far more run of the mill “Most Highly Capable” or “Highly Gifted” or whatever less-than-genius categories Seattle public schools wants to select for HC eligibility most certainly can.

Our schools only NOTICE learning disabilities in students who fall behind whatever is considered the typical benchmark for their physical age. But that definitely doesn't mean that children who are able to perform above that randomly determined benchmark can't have a disability.

The district SHOULD be helping all children work up to the full extent of THEIR OWN potential. We SHOULD be looking at their strengths.

But what happens in our schools is that we look for the children's weaknesses and then define them by that.

My child does walk-to-math and her teacher is obsessed with all the disorganization that comes from her executive dysfunction. The teacher feels STRONGLY that my child should not walk to math, because she has poor paperwork management skills. So I ask, "But how is she doing with the math? Is she keeping up with the rest of the kids? Is she able to do the math?" Oh, yes, she's ahead of the class. The teacher agrees that she's doing great with the math. This child is working AHEAD of grade level comfortably and appropriately. But also has a disability.

Teacher ratings are only as good as teacher training in making ratings. And Seattle's teachers lack the training to make very difficult, specialized decisions about students who are both highly capable and learning disabled. Until they receive sufficient training on these topics, they will continue to misread what they are seeing and as a result of the misreading they will continue to misaddress the situation. To the detriment of the child involved, the child's family, and often the rest of the class.

Max said...

@reader: "It is very evident that the notion of 2e is at odds with racial equity"

It is not at all at odds with racial equity. You clearly don't understand either what 2e is or what racial equity is or both. How is it at odds with racial equity?

Anonymous said...


Following your logic, an elementary age child whose reading comprehension is 4 years ahead and math level is 3 years ahead, BUT whose writing ability is 1-2 years below grade level should be leveled down to their LOWEST performance level?


Anonymous said...


My comment about the changes to the appeals threshold was unrelated to the 2e discussion as I pointed out. This applies to kids who maybe just miss the cut off on the district administered group achievement and IQ testing (which have a number of flaws) and will then be subjected to a higher threshold if the parents submit scores from individual testing obtained privately, but seemingly not if the individual testing is administered by the district (if this is actually the case, how is that fair).
To answer your point about a 2e kid missing the IQ cut off and therefore not being gifted, it is totally possible for a kid to miss the cut off on IQ even though they really are intellectually highly capable. Given the type of test and test environment it would be hard to argue that the district is more accurately assessing IQ than a real IQ test administered by a psychologist. The district test is not the gold standard. So, now that I think of it, this will likely impact kids who have disabilities (eg attention deficits in a stimulating group setting) that may mean there performance in the group setting does not reflect their actual IQ. So now these kids will have to score even higher in order to be eligible. So I guess it does disadvantage some 2e kids after all. And FYI the district wording says intelligence and achievement not just IQ will be subjected to the higher threshold.

But whatever

Anonymous said...

>>> The following people all have/had some form of LD:

John Nash had a health impairment, not SLD. Thomas Edison had deafness, not SLD. Einstein's disability is anecdotal, but your description is Speech disordered, not SLD. ADHD is not an SLD. Autism is not an SLD.

Of course it is possible to be disabled and be gifted! And it is possible to be disabled and accomplish many things. But it is not really possible to be SLD (specific learning disabled, which absolutely means an academic disability) and qualify for HCC because giftedness is not the only criteria. Yes, your mom might think you're disabled, or maybe you can get a community psychologist to come up a disability. But none of those things really mean that a kid is disabled by school standards.

And no I'm not saying anybody should be "leveled down". I'm saying they simply do not qualify for a program that is contradictory to their diagnosis. Everyone should be accommodated to their challenges. It is racially inequitable to consider kids who are not at academic standards because we do not find the 2e complaint coming from anyone who isn't white, who feel that HCC is a birthright, and that accommodating others should be limited, except when it comes to their own kids' challenges. If we're going to accept students who don't excel academically, and support them, why not take everyone? And btw. This does appear what is happening in district policy.


Eyebrows Raised said...

The way it used to work, all students who were granted eligibility for HC services had to demonstrate the same level of achievement (95th%ile or above) and the same level of tested cognitive ability (98th%ile or above). Even the ones with learning disabilities. Even the ones who appealed. They all had to demonstrate the same thing.

Now you can show what the district says it's looking for and they say they can still reject you.

"Students who meet the published cognitive and achievement test threshold scores are not guaranteed a successful appeal. All documents submitted for the appeal will be considered in conjunction with all other academic performance data, including, but not limited to: recent achievement assessments, classroom performance, and teacher input. Appeals decisions are final."

So, what that means is that a teacher who has little to no training in highly capable pedagogy, no endorsement or certification in gifted education, or awareness of how a gifted student with a LD typically presents can literally say, "all children are gifted. I don't personally believe in acceleration" and not recommend a child who would otherwise qualify for the program. And the district can now reject the child even though they meet all the other criteria.

A teacher's race and racial biases can now be used to reject otherwise qualifying students from HCC. Black students are three times less likely to be assigned to gifted-and-talented reading courses when those students are taught by non-black teachers versus black ones, a study by Jason Grissom finds. Black students also face more and harsher discipline for the same behavior and "classroom performance" can now be used to disqualify otherwise qualifying students from HCC.

How did this revision to the appeal process pass the equity review lens?

Anonymous said...


I am not white. This is a blog. You cannot see me. Get it.

33% of HCC are children of color. Some of those kids also have disabilities. Some of those kids with disabilities have not qualified. Some kids categorized as "Multi-racial" have a black or Hispanic parent.

We are one of these families.

Stop the propaganda for one second and try to take one small step forward toward understanding another's perspective.

You are absolutely trying to level down each child to their lowest measured ability, because you're saying that a child who can't write (dysgraphia) should be placed in a program at the level of their writing (1-2 years below) and the 3+ years ahead reading comprehension and math should be ignored. What do you think an accommodation is?!?!

Kids with autism, ADHD, dysgraphia, dyslexia, anxiety, etc. may have more challenges in DEMONSTRATING their academic abilities in their area of challenge, but the accommodation can allow an alternate mode that satisfies the academic project.

For a kid with dysgraphia, technology can be a game changer.

By the way, implying that a parent bought a disability diagnosis for their child is a disgrace.


Anonymous said...


What outrageous assertions you make that only people who are "white, who feel that HCC is a birthright, and that accommodating others should be limited, except when it comes to their own kids' challenges" are complaining about 2e requirements. In fact what you say re 2e sounds a lot like what people have against HCC in general. Nobody thinks HCC is their kids birthright - what a stupid thing to say! Just because lots of white kids are in a program doesn't make the parents of these kids racist or entitled (which is what you imply) - the program exists, we didn't invent it, why shouldn't we utilize it if our kids meet the criteria. It's not like HCC kids are getting some sort of exclusive private school quality education with small class sizes and high quality curricula - its still SPS, big classes, same curriculum after all - but the kids get a chance work at the right level and you seem to want to deny them even that. Nobody is against other kids challenges being addressed, geez, we realize how hard that is in SPS. But why are you so against anything to do with HCC. We don't want to stop anyone else's kids getting what they need - why do you want to stop ours.
This is never going to end until there is no such thing HCC in SPS so I don't know why I even bother responding.

But Whatever

Max said...


You are wrong.

All students in HCC do excel academically, even 2e students. They meet the threshold for admission, even 2e students. You cannot appeal with LOWER scores than what the district is looking for.

You DO find the 2e complaint coming from people who are not white.

And you have CLEARLY never been inside a resource room that serves HC students. (All of whom DID meet the criteria to become eligible for HC services).

Anonymous said...

Reader needs to do a lot more reading and a lot less typing.


Anonymous said...

If the 2E student has a SLD in reading and/or math, which reader specified as the topic of discussion, then that child WILL not qualify for HCC based on its current programming model--high achievement in BOTH areas.

John Nash probably wouldn't have qualified for HCC, along with a number of actual geniuses, who often have single subject giftedness--which SPS doesn't recognize for HCC.

Neighboring districts allow NO outside testing at all for appeals. So no, SPS isn't the monster district from the lagoon. They still allow some private appeals but at a higher qualifying threshold.

As long as the HCC model is acceleration, a child with an SLD in a major subject area such as Math or Reading (and likely Writing, too) is basically screwed in terms of identification and services if they are actually gifted.

You missed reader's point otherwise.

Reality Check

DoE said...

Here's what Wright's Law has to say about 2e:


Note especially this letter:

In which it says that "some local educational agencies (LEA) are hesitant to conduct initial evaluations to determine eligibility for special education and related services for children with high cognition. In transmitting OSEP Memo 15-08, I am requesting that you widely distribute Letter to Delisle to the LEAs in your State, and remind each LEA of its obligation to evaluate all children, regardless of cognitive skills, suspected of having one of the 13 disabilities outlined in 34 CFR §300.8."

And, "it would be inconsistent with the IDEA for a child, regardless of whether the child is gifted, to be found ineligible for special education and related services under the SLD category solely because the child scored above a particular cut score established by State policy."

Anonymous said...

Reality Check, we didn't miss Reader's point about all 2e parents being white or that parents buy diagnosis. Nope, you can't gloss over those bombs at all.

You're wrong as to writing at the elementary age.

Identification: Neither the Cogat nor Map require writing for the younger kids. Thats why a kid with dysgraphia can pass identification with flying colors when writing is not required.

Services: A writing assignment can be completed at an accelerated ability level if a combination of accommodations particularly technology and structured support are provided.

You also can't justify the higher criteria for appeals impacting 2e kids while lower appeals criteria for FRL. In essence, you've created a conflict and discrimination between protected classes. It is both a legal and moral conflict.

While I think varying level of services should be offered throughout the district, that doesn't excuse the district or community members from not considering the equity impact on all protected classes when making decisions.

If someone doesn't truly support all children, then don't fool yourself that you're "equitable".


DoE OCR said...

Oh, and here from the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights: Access by Students with Disabilities to Accelerated Programs (https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-20071226.html):

Part B of the IDEA requires that FAPE be made available to eligible students with disabilities in certain age ranges. The IDEA defines FAPE as special education and related services that: are provided free of charge; meet State standards; include an appropriate preschool, elementary school, or secondary school education; and are provided in conformity with a properly developed IEP. 20 USC § 1401(a)(9); 34 CFR 300.17.3

Participation by a student with a disability in an accelerated class or program generally would be considered part of the regular education or the regular classes referenced in the Section 504 and the IDEA regulations. Thus, if a qualified student with a disability requires related aids and services to participate in a regular education class or program, then a school cannot deny that student the needed related aids and services in an accelerated class or program. For example, if a student’s IEP or plan under Section 504 provides for Braille materials in order to participate in the regular education program and she enrolls in an accelerated or advanced history class, then she also must receive Braille materials for that class. The same would be true for other needed related aids and services such as extended time on tests or the use of a computer to take notes.

Melissa Westbrook said...

ButWhatever, some brave statements on your part. Many people don't want to acknowledge that there are averages for everything including children. It doesn't negate their eagerness to learn nor other types of gifts like artistic and leadership.

As for wondering out loud what people are so worried about, good question. This is much more about keeping kids in their neighborhood schools than anything else. If it were about getting more kids of color in the program, you'd hear that and you don't.

Anna B, also good points. The number of kids that have poor time management/organizational skills is huge (from my own small experience in several classrooms). Doesn't mean those aren't bright kids who can learn.

Thank you, too, Eyebrows Raised, because I've believed (and said) for years that there are principals and teachers who don't believe in gifted education and either don't encourage parents or actively discourage them.

And thank you to all on the notion that yes, ALL kids means all kids.

Anonymous said...

@ Reality Check, intellectually gifted students with learning disabilities ARE often able to meet the HCC eligibility criteria and qualify, particularly in early grades when their giftedness allows them to compensate for--and often mask--their learning differences. A few years later, however, were they to test again, they might not be able to. Are they no longer gifted, even if they can still keep up and even thrive in their HCC classes with appropriate accommodations for their disabilities? No, they are still gifted--it just means that they need accommodations for their disabilities. Similarly, some 2e students who don't qualify truly are intellectually gifted and should be able to access HCC with accommodations. It's hard to believe you support the idea of denying HC services to children who are intellectually gifted just because they have learning disabilities that make it harder to "achieve."

Think of this way--many students with LDs are going to have difficulties achieving NO MATTER WHAT grade level classes they are in. School is hard work, with lots of testing and homework and listening and speaking and prioritizing and planning and writing and thinking and collaborating and so on. They might still be able to do ok, but it takes a lot of extra effort. Putting an intellectually gifted student with an IQ in the 99th percentile in a GE class DOES NOT SOLVE THIS PROBLEM--it just creates MORE problems for the student, problems that are more likely to contribute to social problems, underachievement, dropouts, mental health problems, etc. Students with LDs are going to need accommodations either way, so we might as well put them in the level of academic challenge that best matches their intellectual abilities. Even if that seems "unfair" to a few people, who seem to think that having an LD is somehow gaming the system.

@ Reader, your earlier comment that "we're all gifted" with the right accommodations is just as offensive as the rest of your post. You seem to have a bizarre idea that accommodations are akin to cheating or being given the answers. We're all gifted in math if someone would just give us the answers for that dang test, right? Wrong. You're gifted in math if you already have the answers, even if it's harder to demonstrate them in accordance with the particular testing situation.


Anonymous said...

Students with SLDs who are gifted and single giftedness SHOULD be identified and served.

Fact is...most of them aren't identified under this accelerated model that doesn't acknowledge single subject giftedness. The HCC model in SPS shortchanges many students.

Writing at the elementary age may not be tested but it is certainly an expectation in a purely accelerated model. That is why I put "services" in my comment.

All of the legal references should be mailed to the school board. If a child is
2e, not FRL, then they should receive the accomodations in the IEP. If they don't have an IEP or a 504, then they legally are not disabled.

Reality Check

Reality Check

Chicken Egg said...

So, Reality Check, to use an allegory to the old chicken and the egg conundrum, which comes first, the IEP/504 or the disability? You don't think students are disabled until Seattle Public Schools puts their seal of approval on it? A child who receives an IEP for ASD at the age of 3 1/2 wasn't disabled before receiving the IEP? What basis was the IEP granted on, then? You're nuts.

Anonymous said...

Are they legally disabled at school and available for accomodations without a 504 or IEP?

If so, how does that work? That would be news to me and a lot of others.


Reality Check

Anonymous said...

@ Reality Check, there's nothing in the HCC services model that isn't also in the GE services model. You said "writing at the elementary age may not be tested but it is certainly an expectation in a purely accelerated model." Guess what? It's also an expectation in a grade-level-based standards model. It's not like your hypothetical HC student with a writing-related disability will suddenly overcome the LD if placed in GE. The LD goes with the child, is part of the child. They should be in the program setting that provides the educational level best suited to their cognitive abilities, knowing that they will need writing accommodations and/or supports regardless.


Anonymous said...

True. Two grade levels ahead of writing.

To restate: reading and math are the two main areas of SLD that are likely to not get access to HCC due to the model.


Reality Check

Anonymous said...

At reality check--lots of HC elementary students need extra 504 supports for writing because they have dysgraphia. It's more common than I knew, and thank goodness the teachers at HC elementary schools are alert to the signs.

True Struggles

Anonymous said...

@ Reality Check, you keep talking about services and eligibility as if they were the same thing, and as if they are closely related. They aren't. The services happen after the eligibility, and students aren't being tested to see if they are a good fit for the services that are being offered. I know this because our service model is based purely on acceleration, so if testing were designed to identify likelihood of success in the program they could look only at achievement scores and call it good. High-achieving students who work hard or are a good fit with the way academics are delivered and what the expectations are could still qualify even if not intellectually (e.g., IQ) gifted.

I assume you also believe that the underrepresentation of certain groups in HCC is not a problem? That if they aren't high achieving enough to qualify, they don't deserve to be there since it's a purely accelerated model?

I suppose we should also ignore the intent of the law?


Anonymous said...

I know the difference between services and identification. Those with a SLP in reading or math rarely get identified. Those with dysgraphia (and dyscalculia) get HC services and Sped services because if got identified. However, with a purely accelerated model, writing at two grades ahead as an expectation is NOT an okay expectation for every gifted student.

That is why this HCC model is not a gifted model.

The HCC model stinks.

Many, many students are underrepresented and this goes against the intent and, very arguably, the letter of the law.

The fact is that students with reading and math disabilities can rarely qualify for HCC, even when they are gifted, due to the identification criteria.

Reality Check

Anonymous said...

I don't think they are expected to write two years ahead. I think writing is between grade level and up to one year ahead, to be honest.

True Struggles

Anonymous said...

Reality Check, if you think HCC students are receiving writing instruction that is two years advanced, I've got a bridge... Advanced writing instruction in SPS? Wouldn't that be something!

Anonymous said...

Writing instruction? Yeah, that would be something. My kid's teacher explained they didn't need to be doing any writing because they already knew how to write.

Not kidding.

Anonymous said...

I guess this helps explain why those in HCC don't have different outcomes (or worse) than those who are HC and stay in the neighborhood schools (and don't receive services).

Now, why do you keep fighting so hard for this HCC model if it's so bad?

Or does it only seem bad when someone is trying to argue about a component that doesn't fit the narrative?

It's advertised as a two year acceleration program, which is why so many people keep saying they need the advancement to continue in high school.

Now, the message is that it's not advanced in writing (which should infiltrate the entire school day if it's actually two years accelerated).

Guess the model really does stink.

Reality Check

Anonymous said...

Where in this district is writing explicitly taught? And taught well? Not Readers and Writers Workshop, but actual writing conventions?


Anonymous said...

@ Reality Check, yes, the model really does suck for many. It's not two years advanced in all subjects, as the district has been ratcheting it back for years, probably in the name of equity. The district removed the "two years ahead" language from their website a few years ago, not long after one of the AL staff gave a presentation about middle school HCC LA/SS and how they'd be working on grade-level standards but "going deeper"...which meant nothing really, since going deeper in any area of the LA standards would mean moving to the next grade level--that's how the "depth" works, by building on the skills.

However, if they are in fact going a little deeper, and if they are in fact working a grade or two ahead in some subjects, of course it's a model people will fight to keep. If the alternative is no acceleration or enhanced instruction in the AA school, of course you'll fight for the somewhat better fit that is HCC. It's not that hard to understand, if you try.

But don't worry, in some areas it IS two years of acceleration. Middle school science, for one, is two years ahead--that's why they do physical science in 7th and biology in 8th. In elementary school HCC they accelerate math two years, too--it's not officially a part of HCC in middle school, but the "basic" HCC math pathway puts them in Math 8 in 6th grade. Some, of course, accelerate more, taking Algebra 1 in 6th. Two years of math acceleration means they'll need Calculus AB and either Calc BC or AP Stats in high school to get a 4-year pathway. If they are three years accelerated, they need them all. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of Calc BC classes around. Imagine that.

As to whether this explains why those in HCC don't have different outcomes than those HC students who stay in their neighborhood schools, it doesn't. We don't have good enough data on why people stay or go, and what they get or don't get at their neighborhood school, to know. Sometimes it's the most academically gifted students who stay at the local school, because if HCC isn't going to be advanced enough, why bother moving? Those students (families) typically have other plans in place, other ways to supplement their child's instruction because it's clear that no school will be able to do it. Sometimes more typical HC families also decide to stay put, because for an educated family with decent resources it might be easy enough to provide home-based or extracurricular acceleration and enrichment opportunities that will suffice, particularly in the elementary school. In both of those cases--and there are surely plenty of other scenarios--it's inaccurate for you to say the students don't receive services. They might not get SPS-provided services, but I can assure you that many are getting services somewhere. Probably services that are of a much higher quality than what SPS is providing, too.

You seem so determined to see thinks in such black and white terms, when in reality there's a whole lot of nuance to all these issues. Pointing them out does not make a parent defensive--it's simply an effort to try to get to decisions made on actual understanding as opposed to biases and assumptions.


Anonymous said...

>>>As to whether this explains why those in HCC don't have different outcomes than those HC students who stay in their neighborhood schools,

Sadly, the reason students who chose to stay in local schools perform better.... they aren’t the ones gaming the system with private admissions testing!. The local school enrollees are the out of the box, naturally gifted. Nobody jumps through hoops, financial and time wise just to stay at their local school. Come on folks. We all know private testing is lowering the bar, and lowering it for all the wrong people. We all want more rigor. We all want a program that actually challenges outliers. The district is finally ending this loophole.

GiftedLives Matter.

Anonymous said...

Data to support your statement please, GifttedLives Matter.


Anonymous said...

Wow. What a load of you know what, GLM. Where do you come up with this stuff? Also, appeals aren't just for HC, they include all of AL, Spectrum included, which is (supposedly) offered at local schools. SPS is lowering the bar on rigor, by not actually providing a continuum of both accelerated and enhanced instruction.

Anonymous said...

Conjecture, the data has been published by the district repeatedly. People in the gifted program, game the system at extremely high rates. I’m sure if you really wanted data, you could grovel through the districts website to find it. Do you? I don’t think so. But come on. We all know it’s true. We all know the program has been watered down. We all want better for our kids. And we all know it’s inequitable. We should be applauding the district for raising standards. We all want that, right? Here’s a report from a former HCC student on this very issue. Here. Hope that helps!

GiftedLives Matter

Anonymous said...

Oops. Link didn’t work. Here’s one. You find more. http://kuow.org/post/where-are-black-kids-seattles-gifted-program

GiftedLives Matter

Anonymous said...


Did it occur to you that non-frl lower and middle class Black and Hispanic kids now have to qualify based on the higher standard?

Think through the long-term consequences of your political agenda.

Melissa Westbrook said...

GiftedLivesMatter, two-word names only, please.

Anonymous said...

Reality Check,

You stated that children who "don't have a 504 or IEP, they're not legally disabled".

That's completely untrue.


You're confusing qualification for SPED services with a formal diagnosis from a clinical private professional. Two entirely different matters that don't necessarily overlap.


And now you're saying that writing should "infiltrate the entire school day if it's actually two years accelerated"?

Writing does infiltrate the day, but teachers understand from a developmental perspective that a young child cannot necessarily write at the same level they can read. You're forgetting that an elementary child starts out learning the very basic conventions: pencil grip, body posture, how to form a letter, letter alignment, spacing, alignment, fitting on a page, capitalization, phonological awareness, invented spelling,etc.

There are an infinite amount of procedural steps before you can even begin to form a sentence. Writing a story ventures even further into the more complex process or ideation, planning, organizing and editing.

It's unreasonable to expect a young child who reads Harry Potter to be able to write Harry Potter.


Anonymous said...

Right Disgusted, we should not stop until every white kid is either gifted, or disabled, or preferably, both. You don’t need to be disgusted. You’re in already! Gifted for llife! Or at least 12th grade. You don’t need to worry until your kid takes the SAT.


Anonymous said...

I've already previously posted that I'm from what you would call an underserved race category.

You're fighting for underserved people's rights until their diversity extends to opinions different from yours.

The equity hypocrisy goes on and on and on.


Anonymous said...

@Fairest, please get a grip. As the parent of an HCC student with learning disabilities, I can tell you it's nothing I'd wish upon anyone else. It would be SOOO much easier to have a more average student, who was an ok fit in a gen ed classroom and who felt reasonably challenged by grade-level expectations. I could sit back and relax a little for a change, instead of constantly having to do damage control and seek out new specialists, and taxi my student to tutoring and counseling, and try--often with little success--to make my child feel ok about their challenges and limitations, not be overwhelmed, feel optimistic about the future, etc. Having a student with learning disabilities is hard. Having an intellectually gifted student with learning difficulties brings some unique challenges, because 2e students are often fully aware of the oftentimes huge gap between what they *should* be able to do and what they *actually* do. They can often bridge the gaps with the appropriate supports and accommodations, but the constant awareness of that gap adds another layer of challenge to their self-esteem, adds more frustration, etc.

play fair

Please be a grown up here and acknowledge that you might not know everything about gifted children, 2e children, and families of either.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clarification, Disgusted.

The diagnosis does not legally entitle one to services unless there is an IEP or 504in place at school.

From your link:

"A diagnosis alone doesn’t satisfy IDEA requirements for getting supports and services in school, however."

The IEP and 504 are both legal documents. The physician's diagnosis is not a legal document.

Reality Check

Anonymous said...


It's great that the system is working for you in terms of HCC eligibility.

Unfortunately, the demographics are dismal in terms of most cases of underserved students.

Extrapolating your experience as the norm is as off base as saying that the system works for absolutely no one.

The fact is that HCC identification works well for students from highly educated families who aren't disabled.

Since race and income intersect profoundly in Seattle, we have a very serious problem.

That's why the state of WA just stepped in.

Reality Check

Anonymous said...

@ GLM, that's mostly a bunch of nonsense. Kid who get in via appeal are not "gaming the system"--they are demonstrating their qualifications through a different route--one that probably provides more accurate results than what the district provides. The district doesn't use the tests they do because they are the best for this purpose--they use them because they are cheaper and more convenient.

What are these supposed data that show that HC students who stay at their local school perform better? Even if that's the case--and I don't think it is--we would need a lot of other data to understand why. You have a hypothesis--good for you! But there's no indication you're correct. There are many plausible alternative hypotheses.

I agree with you about one thing, that the program has been watered down. Well, no, actually it's the curriculum that has been watered down. But blaming that on kids who get in on appeals is downright laughable. The curriculum is watered down because there IS no curriculum and teachers have to make it up as they go. There used to be a strong APP curriculum, but it was a homegrown type of thing that wasn't deemed scalable. Teachers, lacking resources, starting resorting to the internet as one of their main sources of information, and we all know how that goes. Another big reason it's watered down is that in the olden days, the hardcore APP teachers were committed to gifted ed, they understood and valued these kids. In today's SPS, however, many HCC teachers have no experience teaching such kids, don't believe in intellectual giftedness, and/or are philosophically opposed to providing HCC services. But even if the program is watered down somewhat compared to before, there's nothing to suggest that the kids IN the program today wouldn't had thrived with the earlier, more rigorous APP curriculum as well.

You seem to have a warped sense that by changing the appeals criteria the district is somehow raising HCC standards. Huh? You still only need 95th percentile on the school-based achievement tests--tests that don't do a good job of discriminating at the upper end of the testing range, meaning there's a lot of error... A "90th percentile kid" might get a lucky question or two he happens to know--or he might make a couple lucky guesses--and voila, suddenly he's in. The district lets kids take these school-based qualifying tests year after year, too--which is, essentially, "appealing" the earlier year's score. I know of kids who tried for years and years and finally qualified. It's not that they were suddenly gifted, it's just that the measurement error worked in their favor that day.


Anonymous said...

@ Reality Check, nobody is saying the program is great as it is, or that the demographics aren't a problem. SHeesh. But we don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water. We need to work from where we are. Yes, the district needs to do a better job of identifying students from underrepresented groups. But there is NOTHING in these current proposals that makes any progress on that front. The only thing these proposals do is deny services to more students who need them. For optics. That's shameful.

You like to rail against the program not being a true gifted program, and I agree. I wish it were. But that's not likely to change anytime soon--even though "the State is stepping in!"--so we make do with what we have. That's reality.

What exactly are you trying to accomplish here? What's the change you're trying to bring about, and how?


Anonymous said...

>>>2e students are often fully aware of the oftentimes huge gap between what they *should* be able to do and what they *actually* do.

Sounds like a kid who would do extremely well in regular ed, except for parents who clamor for a gifted labeled program. Let me guess. Privately tested. Privately diagnosed with something to make them feel like they would do best in a gifted program based on acceleration. If you’re doing all that tutoring in counseling, your placement is wrong. And anyone familiar with special ed would confirm that. Poor kid.

If the globe doesn’t fit.... why wear it?


Anonymous said...

Reality Check,

You said I'm "Extrapolating your experience as the norm is as off base as saying that the system works for absolutely no one."

Where's your evidence that I ever stated my experience applies to everyone?

There is none, so you left your integrity at the door.

Seriously, what is your agenda to attack parents of children with disabilities?

And after I already told you that I'm from an underserved race, then you proceed to lecture ME about underserved, race and income? Wow, the sheer arrogance. Clearly, you only are respectful to underserved folks who you can "save".


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Demote students? So now regular ed is a “demotion”? That attitude of entitlement is actually the problem. Let’s get this straight, your kid required private testing, but only after qualifying 4 times the regular way through the district’s test? If you take any test enough times you’re going to ace it. That’s true for everyone. And why would you need private testing, if you already qualified? And your kid doesn’t qualify for an iep or a 504, but needs accommodations just to float along? Your kid has disability but the school doesn’t recognize I️t, and only appears in HCC? Wow. The exception that proves the rule.

But here’s the bottom line. If a kid has to endure tons of tutoring just to keep up day to day, or has to be counseled regularly because they feel bad about their school performance , then they are in the wrong program. That indeed is a maxim for students with disabilities. Parents who consider regular ed a “demotion” are contributors to the problem.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

@ Fairest, ok, one last try here. By your logic, if an HCC kid has a learning disability that makes school more challenging, they should be in gen ed instead of trying to work a year or two above grade level, even if HCC is the best fit cognitively. Applying that same logic to a gen ed kid with an LD, then they should probably work a year or two lower, too, right? Keep them back a little so the expectations are lower and all. Maybe demotion isn't the correct term for it, I don't know--but they get "promoted" to next grade, so if they were held back a year or two, maybe it is a demotion. I don't see how you get entitlement out of that, but whatever.

Why would you need private testing, if you already qualified?
Uh, maybe to try to figure out what's going on? Neuropsychological testing is not just something done for qualifying for HCC or AL, you know. It's a real thing, valuable in identifying learning disabilities, academic gaps, etc. Necessary for diagnosing learning disabilities so that kids can treatment. That sort of thing.

If a kid needs regular tutoring and counseling to deal with their LD, that does not mean they are in the wrong program. That's just silly. For many kids with disabilities, moving from HCC to GE or repeating a grade in GE is not going to solve their LD challenges. They need services. They might need outside tutoring to work on strategies for learning to deal with their disabilities, since SPS isn't the shining example of SpEd. They might have corresponding issues of anxiety or depression or social challenges with peers, since they are "different." Your assumption that any psychological issues they're dealing with must be related to being pushed too hard is part of that BS narrative that it's parents pushing these kids. It's not.

It's also pretty hilarious that you think kids who have LDs and get accommodations are just floating along. Seriously? Have you talked to any parents of kids with LDs? Most of these kids are not floating along at all...and I'd argue that if they are, we're doing them a disservice. They have real challenges, and need to do some hard work to address them so they can reach their potential. We don't want to just warehouse them somewhere. Geez.

And it's been said many times before, but maybe you missed it. Gifted students often have their LDs identified/diagnosed at a much later age, because they are able to compensate up to a point.


Anonymous said...

"And it's been said many times before, but maybe you missed it. Gifted students often have their LDs identified/diagnosed at a much later age, because they are able to compensate up to a point."

It doesn't matter if it's been said many times. So has the 30% private quote.

Data please

Anonymous said...
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