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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Bill in Support of Highly Capable Services

From Austina De Bonte, noted expert on highly capable services in Washington State (she's the expert former director Sue Peters brought in to speak to the Board and staff last spring):
Progress on SB 6508 for hicap equity. 

We attracted two more sponsors in the senate. Original sponsors were Rolfes and rivers. Now also Kuderer and Saldana.

Brandon Vick has volunteered to introduce the bill in the house. Evidently it was in drafting yesterday but hasn't been introduced yet. Supposedly he has cosponsors, don't know who yet.

Still collecting advocates here: tinyurl.com/support6508

Gifted Education Day in Olympia will be held on February 8, 2018, with a presentation from 9am - 10:30am, and opportunities to advocate on campus until mid-afternoon. 

Please write in support of this bill:
What is your WA State Legislative District?  Look it up here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/ 

It's enough to just fill out your complete name and address information (so they can confirm you are a WA state resident and not a robot), and click "SUPPORT" with a brief comment.  Something like this (feel free to copy/paste):  

  - I strongly support this bill.
  - The gross inequities in our highly capable programs must be fixed ASAP.
  - This is a big issue in my school district, and this bill will make a big improvement.
  - Districts need to up their game and actually screen all students for highly capable needs.

  - Bravo! This bill is exactly what we need.

I note that this bill includes universal screening across one grade level and a emphasis on finding more students of color using a wider net of screening.  Plus, it includes professional development for teachers and principals.
16(3) Research from the national center for research on gifted education shows that highly capable children in poverty and minority groups that demonstrate comparable levels of achievement and aptitude are still two hundred fifty percent less likely to be identified for, and in, highly capable programs.
Common identification systems and procedures in Washington state school districts include practices known to be discriminatory towards low-income students and other students who are historically underrepresented in highly capable programs, such as relying on parent or teacher referrals, and conducting assessments on Saturdays or after school.

A crucial aspect of existing law has been widely misinterpreted, concerning "multiple objective criteria" for highly capable identification. The original intent of "multiple objective criteria" was to provide multiple possible avenues for identification, not to require that a student score highly on every measure before he or she qualifies for highly capable services. This misunderstanding turns multiple measures into multiple hurdles that disproportionately limit identification of low-income and other historically underrepresented students, who may have variable scores despite high cognitive potential.
Districts must use multiple objective criteria to identify students who are among the most highly capable. Multiple pathways for qualifications must be available and no single criteria may eliminate a student from identification.

66 comments:

Anonymous said...

“The arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

--Finally

NNE Mom said...

Hallelujah! It's about time.

Doctor Hu said...

"WAC 392-170-047 Parental/legal guardian permission.
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."

parent, thanks for the current WAC language requiring that prior written parental permission be required before conducting assessments to determine HC eligibility as well as before actually placing any identified student in a HC program. Parental permission notices must also explain all the details listed in (a) through (d).

Does that WAC language really block the Seattle school district from moving towards universal highly capable testing with an opt-out system rather than the opt-in system we currently have? Since their beginning of elementary school, our kids have regularly been subjected to a battery of regular district and state testing, from which many savvy parents do indeed opt-out for various reasons, a topic often discussed on this blog. Why don't we designate such universal tests as sufficient for HC identification while ensuring that the required cognitive and achievement levels are met?

The WAC language still requires prior written parental permission, but presenting the HC testing decision as essentially an opportunity to opt-out rather than as an opportunity to opt-in could make a significant difference to the composition of the testing pool. This is exactly the type of small public policy shift that can have huge social benefits, a little "nudge" in the words of this year's economics Nobel laureate whose behavioral insights have prompted many governments to rethink how to encourage valuable results at little cost. Even if the Seattle HC identification process is not so opaque and byzantine as to deter many minority families, the mere fact that it can seem so for some does present a real problem. For example, the fact that FRL students can appeal an unsuccessful test with another at district expense is critically important information that should be much more widely known and much more widely used.

In a recent thread, another poster, NE Parent, said that in fact Shoreline school district does have an opt-out system. If that is so, it must meet WAC requirements and would be a good model for Seattle to follow.

unclear, agreed that on its own universal testing would be insufficient and that we must do much more to provide disadvantaged students across the city with additional supports so that they can participate in HC. But it is not obvious that universal testing might make matters worse by decreasing participation by underrepresented minorities. If it is true that such students are nominated less frequently in our current opt-in system, by increasing the ratio of FRL and other minority students who do test I would expect the opposite result. The consequence of early identification in elementary grades will be especially important, because by middle and high school it may become more and more difficult for innately highly capable students to make up an achievement gap outside the HC cohort.

During just the past few years the total grades 1-12 HC population has quadrupled, yet during that same period there has been no discernable increase in the ratio of underrepresented groups who fully reflect our diverse district demographics. These sadly missed opportunities do need to start in the earliest grades. Support Senate Bill 6508 and universal screening for HC services!

Anonymous said...

Im not seeing how this bill would make much difference in SPS, aside from all the extra costs. Universal screening isnt likely to erase the disparities, unless they can find some magic screening tools that are able see beyond experience and get to "true" HC status. A few hours of training for teachers and admin also seems unlikely to have much impact.

What am I missing? Why are people so excited?

Unclear

Anonymous said...

@Dr. Hu--Getting parent permission can occur during kindergarten enrollment, through classroom teachers, etc. It's really not rocket science.

Unclear--The universal screening will be one type of tool. The scores will not lead to cut-off scores, like they are currently. Reread the section that starts with..

A crucial aspect of existing law has been widely misinterpreted, concerning "multiple objective criteria" for highly capable identification. The original intent of "multiple objective criteria" was to provide multiple possible avenues for identification, not to require that a student score highly on every measure before he or she qualifies for highly capable services...

@MW It was great that Sue Peters brought DeBonte to the School Board. What was the board's action plan after hearing this critical information? How did Ms. Peters and the board pressure the district to get on board with best practices and quit discriminating against historically underserved H.C. students who languish in our schools without being identified?

Ms. Peter, et al. proved they could get the job done when they got the math program changed. Where was the action on the H.C. issue?

Kudos for bringing the speaker. That's what's called

--Lip Service

Anonymous said...

@ Lip service,

What's the point of screening tests if they don't have cutoff scores? That doesn't make sense.

The multiple avenues/criteria could mean they use multiple types of tests, and you only need to meet the cutoff on one, not all.

Unclear

Anonymous said...

@Unclear

A high score for the child's demographic and/or school grade level can be one way to alert the AL department that the child should be looked at for more evidence (which means multiple evidences--rate of learning, gifted scales by parents/teachers, observations, etc.).

This is what best practices have indicated for quite some time for giftedness and Highly Capable eligibility.

This identification approach will also transfer to all students so that those that get high scores will not automatically get in, either, but also will be evaluated holistically.

That is why the role of an H.C. committee has a critical role in the process, is written into state law, and is meant to be more than

--Lip Service

Anonymous said...

@ Lip service, the way I read the requirement to use local norms, it could just be school district based (as opposed to national) and does not need to be race or FRL specific, Also, because the local norm cutoffs can't be more restrictive than the national norms, that wouldn't keep high scorers from "over represented" groups out.

Unclear

kellie said...

@ Lip Service,

I believe that many people are very excited about this bill that will mandate best practices. The first SPS meeting I attended that discussed many of these same best practices was in 2002. That was the first year that universal screening was done for every second grader in every Seattle Public school. Universal screening was never repeated to the best of my knowledge.

I have stated many times that the program was have today is not the best, it is simply the least expensive. It is a quite sad that it will take a act of the legislature to get SPS to do the best practices on this topic. And it is also unlikely that the fix will be quick.

It is a bit unfair of you to disparage other people who have sincerely worked on this topic for decades. The lack of success does not indicate that that their efforts were only lip service.

"It takes a long time to turn a battleship" is unfortunately the reality for most advocates. I am hopeful that this legislative action means that HC might finally be pointed in the right direction. Away from the "cheapest program" to one that actually serves more students.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Lip Service, not much happened after De Bonte's presentation. You would have thought Blanford would have championed change after his endless criticism about race and equity. Ditto on Geary who even had a child in the program. And Peters had to tread carefully because so many people have such visceral reactions to Spectrum and HCC.

Why did Peters and Burke and Harris do better with math? It's basic curriculum and hard to argue with that.

And nothing stopped top leadership to do better and pay more than lip service to the program. Maybe that's why we need a different superintendent.

Anonymous said...

The DeBonte presentation is online. It has alot of good ideas and info. I heard that JSCEE staff did not want that presentation to happen and tried to stop it. Why is that?

Maybe because the superintendent, head of teaching and learning, and whatever W. Jessee's title is currently, all oppose highly capable education & kids, and advanced learning in general. So how likely is it they will do anything to improve it, even for underrepresented students?

The lip service is coming from those in the JSCEE who claim to care about closing the achievement gap, including the supt, but accomplish nothing.

Will the state fund these new mandates if this bill passes? If not, this could go nowhere.

--Old Shoe

Anonymous said...

@Kellie:--"It is a bit unfair of you to disparage other people who have sincerely worked on this topic for decades."

Just in case you're talking about Peters, do a quick search of this blog using her name. She's on record here (for years) full-heartedly defending the "program" in all its outdated, indefensible glory against any criticism.

She was also a go-to person by people on the HCC blog, for years--so often it sounded like a mantra: "Email Sue" and, later, "Email Sue and Rick."

Great if Peters did an 11th hour and 59th minute conversion. It's easy to do that when the tides are changing so obviously and the winds are blowing in your face.

@MW--Sorry, you can't tag this one on Blanford.

The good news is that my comment about the Board is water under the bridge and they are just side shows at this point (no pun intended). I brought attention to the Peters' kudos for clarification because I just want keep it real.

Btw, Kellie, I had been teaching for over a decade in SPS when you attended your that meeting. I have attended lots of those meetings myself. In fact, if "Concern Meetings" were actually translated into an ounce of real action, many students wouldn't have languished for decades (just ask Carol Simmons) and continue to do so.

"Concern" is just another another way of the power not having to lose. (to paraphrase Kris Kristofferson)

Endless meetings without action are another form of...

Lip Service

Anonymous said...

I think Kellie is the new Charlie? I mean always piping in to defend MW.

It must be nice to have the kind of free time those two have.

SAM

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, Lip Service (or FWIW or whatever name you are using this week), Blanford DOES has a lot to account for and I find it peculiar that you are trying to put this all on Peters. Director Peters has always advocated for a better program especially since she had kids on it.

SAM, you must be kidding. Charlie and Kellie are very different.

As for "free time" - yes, I do have the time but I don't get paid. Take in the years and years of meetings and interviews and writing and researching and then say "all that free time."

Mythbusters said...

As for the myth that families choose HCC elementary school "to be with white people," I've crunched the numbers for 2016-17 for the 754 students at Cascadia (which included Decatur at that time). I can't figure out how to access the numbers for Fairmount Park or Thurgood Marshall, so I wasn't able to look at those.

For 55% of Cascadia students, the HCC cohort is less white or equally white to their assignment area school.
For 45% of Cascadia students, the HCC cohort is whiter than their assignment area school.


It really has to do with what neighborhood they live in. If Seattle families did want to pick a school based on the whiteness of the kids who attend, clearly the way to do it is by choosing to live in a very white neighborhood

HCC is LESS white than the assignment area school
for students from Bryant (# of Cascadia students from this assignment area = 74 students), Loyal Heights (40), Green Lake (39), Whittier (35), Adams (32), Catharine Blaine (32), North Beach (28), West Woodland (25) and Coe (19).

HCC is the SAME percentage white as the assignment school
for students from Laurelhurst (25), Daniel Bagley (24), Lawton (23), Greenwood (16), and McGilvra (1).

HCC is MORE white than the assignment school
for students from View Ridge (64), Wedgwood (49), John Hay (44), Sand Point (33), B.F. Day (30), Olympic View (30), John Rogers (26), Sacajawea (18), Broadview-Thomson (15), Viewlands (11), Northgate (9), Olympic Hills (8), Lowell (3), and Bailey Gatzert (1),.

Anonymous said...

@MW There is plenty of "blame" to go around.

For the record, you have been giving kudos to Peters for bringing De Bonte to speak.

I'm stating that there was no action plan by the president (Peters) to follow through.

The fact that Peters was an APP/HCC parent was very clear in her ceaseless defense of the exclusive "programs" on this blog. There was not evidence that she was working to change the program. Quite the opposite, she was passionately defending the status quo (for years). The record is clear with a blog search. Don't take my word for it. Facts aren't always convenient.

Btw, if you didn't keep deleting unpopular posts, I and others would be more likely to keep a consistent name. How that has anything to do with this or any conversation (except to deflect and distract) is another matter, but it's par for this particular course. It's your blog; if you want people to use a consistent name, then change the rules.

Blaming the people you keep deleting for changing their name here is like the arsonist firefighter blaming the person whose fire they had to put out.

Judging from most comments on this blog, Blanford and Geary were such a threat to the HCC status quo that they became targets.

Revisionist history doesn't work, especially when there is a record.

Lip Service

Anonymous said...

@Mythbusters

That's called whataboutism, and really has nothing to do with identifying historically underserved students who need and, by law, are entitled to HC
services.

Lip Service

Anonymous said...

@ Lip Service/FWIW, you're right--facts aren't always convenient. That goes for the facts you like to cite, too.

For instance, there's a BIG difference between defending the status quo against something better, and defending the status quo against a threat of elimination or reduction in services. That's a fact you conveniently like to gloss over. Those of us who are "guilty" of having defended HCC in the past have not done so because we think it's a perfect program--and many of us have been very clear that we think it needs to be improved in many areas (e.g., identification, rigor/curriculum, fidelity of implementation, alignment of services to needs, etc.)--but because the alternative at the time was something worse, such as a reduction in services. Those of us who have defended HCC have done so because we know, from experience, that HC children NEED services beyond what is available in a gen ed classroom. We've been there, and it didn't work. The teachers told us it didn't work. The principals told us. Our children's learning support specialists or counselors or therapists told us. We might have WANTED the neighborhood school's services to work, and we might have tried to pretend they did for years, but then reality set in and they didn't. So we fought tooth and nail for the little nugget we could get in HCC. The services via HCC may not be perfect--or even good or appropriate sometimes--but they are better than nothing, and they are closer to what our students need. So we "defend" HCC--not because we love it or think it's great, but because it is under frequent attack.

Would most who "defend" HCC love to see it improved to be more diverse and better adapted to the needs of HC students? I suspect so. Defending HCC does not mean one is opposed to such changes at all--and as you pointed out, it was an HCC "defender" who brought DeBonte here to talk about what else we could be doing. Many of us are happy to see things move in positive direction, so it's really time you get off your high horse and stop pretending that people have been trying to protect some elite and exclusive program for rich white kids, because that's completely not the case. The facts don't support that. Those defending HCC were really just defending HC services the best we could.

DisAPP

Anonymous said...

@ Lip Service, you're right that the figures posted by Mythbusters don't have anything to do with identifying more students from historically underserved groups, but you're wrong that it's not relevant to this conversation. You're one of the ones who keeps making it relevant, by framing HCC as an "exclusive" program that's about protecting the status quo. Mythbusters' figures refute your misconception that people join HCC because they are looking for a segregated experience. And Geary and Blanford aren't a threat to the "HCC status quo"--they are a threat to HC services altogether.

DisAPP

Mythbusters said...

And we (HC defenders) look forward to defending these services for a hopefully far more diverse cohort of formerly underrepresented students just as soon as possible. Bring it, legislature! I haven't met an HC student or family yet who's not looking forward to this change. In fact, maybe SPS would like to read the writing on the wall and just change their identification policy right now? I mean that literally. They've already shown that they're not afraid of a mid-selection-cycle change (the appeals, right?). Why not change this, SPS???

Mythbusters said...

Ha! Wait! Another irony I just thought of:

For 55% of Cascadia students, the HCC cohort is less white or equally white to their assignment area school.
For 45% of Cascadia students, the HCC cohort is whiter than their assignment area school.

The 55% of HCC families for whom HCC is less or equally white to their assignment school are CHOOSING to attend a school that is less white than the neighborhood they live in, right? And the 45% of HCC families for whom HCC is whiter than their assignment school are CHOOSING to live in a more diverse neighborhood, right?

Ha ha ha!!! These HCC families are all actively making choices in their lives FOR DIVERSITY.

I mean, people in the cohort already know that about themselves, but it's even clearer that we're all doing it when you look at the numbers.

Go, legislature!

Anonymous said...

Eye opening how Shoreline is being proactive and supportive of advanced learners. Shoreline screened all Kinders in the Fall AND will screen all 2nd graders this Spring. Not only has the district expanded advanced learning opportunities and improved identifying minority students but have also offered extensive PD to all staff.

Seattle is ridiculous!

https://www.shorelineschools.org/cms/lib/WA02217114/Centricity/Domain/4/Hi-Cap%20newsletter%20Winter%202018%20Revised.pdf

NW Parent

Anonymous said...

I miss the way this blog used to be when we talked about more than just HCC.
Hale Parent

Grouchy Parent said...

Hale Parent,

You just did the thing you don't want done. If you want to talk about something else, talk away!

Anonymous said...

Hale Parent,

I'd have more sympathy if this wasn't a thread specifically on, you know, HC services.

Pragmatic Xennial

Anonymous said...

Nowhere does WAC say HC services should be self-contained. Best bet: with increased focus on diversity comes increased focus on housing services K-8 in neighborhood schools. After the high school HC return to neighborhood schools. So within the next decade e.g. when population shifts mean redrawing K-8 boundaries anyhow. Not advocating this, just watching the wheels turning politically + painfully downtown + in City Council + in national conversation on underrepresented categories getting their civic due.

Seen It

Anonymous said...

I think you're right, @Seen It. The trend is to make AL service more fair. HC to more high schools is step one. It's so unusual to have such a large percentage of students who are in self-contained classrooms. I doubt there is such an operation like ours anywhere.

It may take the city to step in and fix this. The Mayor is hopefully getting up to speed on the issues involved and will soon speak out on the inequities in the program. The district is scared of HCC parents and their surrogates but the Mayor represents the entire city and should be willing to stand up for all students no matter their social or economic status.

#fairness

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, all the outreach work and universal screening of SPS Title 1 2nd graders this year didn't make a statistical dent for Black and Hispanic students. Will it make a personal difference for the few additional students identified? Of course, but from a program evaluation standpoint, it didn't really move the needle.

cs


Anonymous said...



"HC to more high schools is step one."

not hardly it is michael tolley's 101th attempt- to kill hcc. perhaps jesse's first push and if anything it included allowing dewolf to sit up there and claim asians are white. no correction. no! on that folks --- sorry that is wrong. so his involvement was that of a hack novice enabler. still just crickets and he is call the shots. so dewolf and geary look like the opportunist they are and facts be damned. look it worked for blandford.

"It's so unusual to have such a large percentage of students who are in self-contained classrooms. I doubt there is such an operation like ours anywhere."

well there is at seattle country day that is the only other example of a program that teaches k-8 hc kids in seattle as an independent school. other programs though have identified self contained classes k-5 with a couple of topics in ms. no big here if you read best options for hc kids. nothing to see here fwiw.

no caps

Grouchy Parent said...

Will the mayor skip into the conference room hand in hand with Blandford and DeWolf, Geary off to the side staring in primal agogery at the ceiling, and reassure us all that all children are gifted and therefore every classroom in the city already is a self-contained gifted classroom. Problem solved. Nothing to see here.

Anonymous said...


"Unfortunately, all the outreach work and universal screening of SPS Title 1 2nd graders this year didn't make a statistical dent for Black and Hispanic students. Will it make a personal difference for the few additional students identified? Of course, but from a program evaluation standpoint, it didn't really move the needle. "

well i believe they have changed things up even more this year for outreach including more advocacy for individual families. that should lead to higher frl and ell families. probably not more 2e but two out of three isn't bad. this is progress and it is being made one family at a time. and no it isn't free but existing staff are making it happen.

now look at getting rid of hs pathways. but regardless staff and two board members seem to think this "free" idea will work. nope. especially without a plan. and once you have the plan and then you need a budget to execute that plan and it won't be free anymore and probably too expensive to execute. so scrapped.

hcc kids who go to sealth, rbhs, fhs and nhhs all will suffer.

if this passes i could see incredible disruption, especially for lhs, bhs and rhs. who would go to lhs pathway only to be split back to rhs and bhs. who?!?!? if they truly focused on hcc pathway at lhs, ghs and wshs and then open some choice into those programs and make them truly worthy EVERYONE will benefit. Or kill the cohort, increase nerd bullying at every school and make sure frl schools will struggle where ghs was able to serve them without issue before the change. ib schools are not suited for the current pathways. ibx works for some but it isn't worth all the work for all involved when you have ghs as a model that works fine for the cohort.

no caps



kellie said...

@ Lip service,

If you have so much time in the advocacy chair, then please build a moniker and build a voice, rather than just throwing rocks. There are few people on this blog, with whom I regularly agree. That said, I have learned a lot from the many of the good people that come to this blog to share, year after year.

If you truly have all that time advocating on this issue, then my comment was intended to include you as well. Most advocates learn the hard way that there are few easy answers and that most real change comes from consistent and persistent work over a long period of time. Failure to produce change is neither an indication of effort nor an indication of sincerity.

kellie said...

While it can frustrating the HC is so much of the conversation on this blog right now, it should not be surprising.

Advanced Learning issues and capacity issues go hand-in-hand every time. If you look at the history of AL programs over decades, it becomes clear that AL programs are promoted when there is extra capacity and they are generally the first to go when there isn't capacity.

The 1940, when school enrollment was very low due to the decline in births during the depression, there were lots of AL programs. These programs pretty much vanished when the baby boom hit in the 50's. Spectrum programs were used to entice middle class families back to Seattle public schools, during the long enrollment decline of the 90's and early 00's. These program vanished with the NSAP, because in many ways, the NSAP was designed to return magnet schools to their neighborhoods.

I wish there was a way to create more distinction on the topic so that there was less frustration but ... sometimes the simplest explanations are the best. Capacity problems hit AL first and then they hit everyone else next.






Another Parent said...

"Unfortunately, all the outreach work and universal screening of SPS Title 1 2nd graders this year didn't make a statistical dent for Black and Hispanic students. Will it make a personal difference for the few additional students identified? Of course, but from a program evaluation standpoint, it didn't really move the needle."

Universal screening and outreach are nothing more than window-dressing. The real issue is that African American and Hispanic students don't perform as well on the Reading and Math Achievement tests.

I don't say this because I'm racist, but because that's what the data says. The number of Hispanic and African American students in Seattle that score a 4 on SBAC as compared to White and Asian students that score a 4 on the SBAC is proportionate to the respective number of students from each group that qualify for HCC. In other words, based on the already universally administered SBAC scores, the number of African American and Hispanic students in HCC is generally as expected.

Students must score at a 4 on the SBAC to qualify for HCC (the percentage score is higher, but the state reported score is 4). The SBAC Reading and Math tests are given to all students during regular school hours. To says that parents don't know about them or African American and Hispanic students are less likely to take them is factually wrong.

What we can conclude is that the only ways to meaningfully increase the proportionate number of African American and Hispanic students in HCC is to lower their required test scores, improve their testing performance, or both. Personally, I believe district should do both. Getting rid of HCC doesn't help anyone.

Be Aware said...

Geary and DeWolf offer no assurances that the district has the capacity to fill their legal requirements to meet the needs of advanced students. As a matter of fact, their Resolution states the district does not have the capacity to meet the needs of advanced students.

NNE Mom said...

If the bill passes, students who don't show high SBAC scores won't necessarily be disqualified. According to the proposed bill:

A crucial aspect of existing law has been widely misinterpreted, concerning "multiple objective criteria" for highly capable identification. The original intent of "multiple objective criteria" was to provide multiple possible avenues for identification, not to require that a student score highly on every measure before he or she qualifies for highly capable services. This misunderstanding turns multiple measures into multiple hurdles that disproportionately limit identification of low-income and other historically underrepresented students, who may have variable scores despite high cognitive potential.

Thus the new law would not hunt exclusively for high-achieving highly capable students, but for "students who perform or show potential for performing at significantly advanced academic levels when compared with others of their age, experience, or environments". It would then help these students better live up to their potential by (hopefully) matching them with an academic environment where they are encouraged to learn and develop instead of punishing them for being different.

This will likely cause their SBAC scores and graduation rates to rise, and their chances of ending up in jail to decrease. Although those aren't the explicit goal. Healthy, well adjusted members of society is the goal.

Anonymous said...

@NNE Mom, true, the lower state achievement scored wouldn't disqualify them. But they'd need to rate high on some other measure, such as cognitive screening. Unfortunately, the universal CogAT screening for gay was tried also didn't have the desired impact. Surely there are other, more subjective types of things that can be done, but subjective approaches tend to create more, not fewer, racial disparities.

Unclear

Anonymous said...

@ Unclear and others interested: Districts wrestling with the disproportionate qualifications results have in many cases moved to a "points" system for HCC entrance with points coming from various tests, recommendations, demonstrations of work as well as from life circumstances. This is helpful in moving toward the intent of inclusion of more minorities and FRL students. It also creates a new round of discussion - or can of worms depending on one's mindset - on the fairness and limitations of that process. This manner of identification is not so far off of the thinking behind many college admissions decisions which, of course, are also well-intentioned but often imperfect.

This type of identification process comes with additional operations challenges. A more complex and less standardized admissions process generally means more staff is needed for reviews. Salaries = more $$ needed. And as identification in a physical-plant-constrained system such as Seattle's increases, it almost certainly moves an AL cohort out of the self-contained model, certainly out of a "capacity managment tool" and into a service provided within each geographic or magnet school. This, too, comes with benefits and drawbacks, depending on one's vantage point.

EdVoter

M.L. said...

The identification process Seattle uses is really outdated. And the lack of teacher training on the issue is a big problem. There is no reason to not modernize our identification process and use best practices and train teachers on something that will improve outcomes for students in their charge. If this isn't the perfect solution that fixes everything, continued improvements can be made.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"What we can conclude is that the only ways to meaningfully increase the proportionate number of African American and Hispanic students in HCC is to lower their required test scores, improve their testing performance, or both. Personally, I believe district should do both. Getting rid of HCC doesn't help anyone."

Or, have other measures, not a single tested one, that allow these kids to shine. But EdVoter is right; equity costs money.

"As a matter of fact, their Resolution states the district does not have the capacity to meet the needs of advanced students."

And this is just why the other directors should recognize this resolution for the window-dressing that it is and say no. Geary keeps making these "promises" from the dais that she cannot guarantee and, if you believe what she has told other people, she won't even still be on the Board when it is supposed to all be enacted.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Ed Voter. But the "recommendations" part of the points system often seems to generate more, not fewer, racial disparities--that's why the usual fix is to move from referral-based systems to universal screening. We also don't seem to have the resources for the more complex and expensive assessment that would be needed under this more "whole child" approach--and I don't have confidence SPS could implement that well anyway. It seems like it would be more efficient as just as effective to simply use different FRL and ELL norms, but the legislation leaves that up on the air.

Unclear

maze runner said...

I sent my comments to my legislators supporting this bill. I hope others do the same.

Anonymous said...

If memory serves (and I am the first to admit it fails me sometimes) when they tested all 2nd graders in the SE, they did find a larger group of CogAT qualified scores, but they didn't have corresponding MAP scores so nothing came of it (particularly as this was in the elimination of Spectrum). I find it very frustrating that the definition of highly capable includes both high capability and achievement, and certainly believe that you can be single subject HCC qualified.

I understand when people are tired of the constant HCC talk. I have a current 8th grader and I can't keep up with it myself. All the splits, and proposals, and accusations of unfairness. I am sad to say I look forward to my child graduating out of the system, but I'm afraid it's not better than when she entered it.

Trixie

Anonymous said...


the problem is that the first round identified many spectrum qualified frl/ell students. then they killed spectrum. so nothing to come of that. without scaffolding or a subset program for those groups hcc will remain as white as seattle.

but as kellie says hcc and capacity go hand in hand. so as we go forward with 2,100 hs seats north of the ship canal shouldn't we be looking at truly expanding hcc? that is not what killing the cohort and increasing nerd bullying at aa hs will do. it will make it less likely to get hcc services when we have the best time to reintroduce choice at the hs level including hcc choice.

i think the state under fiances hcs in sps. but what does it matter if board members are using their position as a stepping stone and will legislate false promises and completely falsify info from the dias? no amount of direction or money from the state doesn't matter when we have boneheaded staff proposals (they wanted no pathways in 2019 folks) followed by opportunist board members. give geary and dewolf all the direction you may like and money and they will try their damndest to see how they can parly it to the next level. look what they are doing with 2100 new seats.

no caps

kellie said...

@ no caps,

What is more ironic is that there is enough space in the SE to build a very robust old style spectrum program, with customize qualifications. There is no room north of the ship canal.

The enrollment drop in the Capitol Hill area is rather shocking and is a direct consequence of splitting siblings. Enrollment is down at Montlake, McGilvra, Lowell and Stevens, plus the change at Madronna added extra space. It should be possible to move HC out of TM and back to Capitol Hill and then create several spectrum style program in the SE that truly reflected the needs and desires of that community.

Anonymous said...

@kellie

If you reread the information about the proposed bill, it's about finally qualifying underserved students for state-mandated H.C. services, not some SPS-construed runner-up prize for "that community."

Lip Service

Anonymous said...

You need something as was said to get FRL/ELL kids to approach the rigor as it should be in the HCC. But I assume that really isn't your point is it. It is to get kids out of HCC not in.

Disturbing to hear of the low enrollment numbers at once bursting schools. And that was do to staff manipulations of the wait-list?

Buck stop -6

Anonymous said...

@ Lip Service, I see that the INTENT of the proposed legislation is to qualify more underserved students, but the actual language of the proposed legislation does nothing to ensure that will happen. The requirement to use local norms (but not if more restrictive than national norms) doesn't necessarily do it. A few hours of teacher/admin PD doesn't necessarily do it. The requirement for universal screening at 2 different grades doesn't necessarily do it. And the requirement to use "multiple sources" of info and not rule someone out based on one piece of info doesn't do it either, because it all depends on the nature of the assessments used.

To make a real difference, it seems the legislation would need to (1) be much more specific about how local norms should be used; and (2) be much clearer about the variety of assessments that must be used--both for the universal screening and in allowing for multiple sources.

Also, I'm curious -- what does it look like if you can't rule someone out based on a single result? Does that mean we need to move to an eligibility process that includes at least 3 assessments? If you score high enough on 2/2 or 2/3 you are in, and you're only deemed not eligible if you have 2 assessments that come up short? If the universal screener says someone isn't likely HC, or if a teacher says no and won't write a referral, does that matter under the proposed new process?

Ironically, while you seem to often rail against the fact that HCC has many high achievers who you don't think are truly gifted, under the proposed law the program likely becomes even MORE of high achievers program than a gifted program. Why? Because many of those currently "ruled out" based on a single test are students from "overrepresented" groups--students who do very well academically, but who don't score in the top 2% on the CogAT or IQ tests. Being at the 90th percentile in terms of IQ would no longer disqualify someone from HCC if they had strong achievement scores and got a teacher recommendation or met some other TBD criterion, right?

unclear

kellie said...

@ Lip Service,

As you well know, I am supporter of multiple programs for AL. One size does not fit all.

Adding a program for historical underserved communities that don't meet the HC cutoffs is something that SPS could do. IN ADDITION to efforts to improved identification for students who do meet the criteria.

MLK Gifted said...

That program (call it Spectrum or Advanced Learning Opportunities or Horizon or whatever) could also serve as a springboard for underserved students. Martin Luther King Jr. skipped ninth grade, so he went directly from eighth grade to tenth grade. Then he completed tenth grade. Then, that whole thing worked out so well for him that he skipped 11th grade. So he went directly from tenth grade to 12th grade. Then he graduated and went to Morehouse College at age 15.

This is the kind of program we need in Seattle. A program (like Spectrum) that would allow students to accelerate by one year. And then from among those students, there would be some for whom accelerating a second year would be a good choice. There would be many for whom accelerating a second year was not a good choice. SPS is selling kids short by insisting that nobody skip anything.

According to the link below, at Morehouse Martin "was a popular student, especially with his female classmates, but an unmotivated student who floated though his first two years." We need SPS to start looking at students like Martin who have a tremendous amount of potential even if they seem unmotivated and not that into school, and help them live up to their fullest potential regardless of the color of their skin. This bill would help. And a program like Spectrum would help.

It's a social justice issue.

https://www.biography.com/people/martin-luther-king-jr-9365086

Anonymous said...

"Adding a program for historical underserved communities that don't meet the HC cutoffs is something that SPS could do."

@kellie--you are on record on this blog for supporting the HCC entrance criteria, but having a Spectrum-type of program to get the SE students up-to-par. In fact, you are still talking about "cut-off" scores.

That is precisely the intent of the new bill, which makes it clear that such an approach to HC has been discriminatory:

"This misunderstanding turns multiple measures into multiple hurdles that disproportionately limit identification of low-income and other historically underrepresented students, who may have variable scores despite high cognitive potential."

http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2017-18/Htm/Bills/Senate%20Bills/6508.htm

"District practices for identifying the most highly capable students must prioritize equitable identification of low-income students."

http://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=28A.185.020

Btw, the Spectrum ship has sailed.

Lip Service

Melissa Westbrook said...

Wow, thanks, Lip Service. NO one would have known Spectrum was dead if not for you.

kellie said...

@ Lip Service,

Whoa, please find a quote from me where I say I support HC entrance criteria, particularly SPS's version of entrance criteria. I have never said that. It is always possible that something I did say was unclear, but .... that would be a stretch.

It would be a huge stretch, because I have also stated (under my consistent moniker) that the procedure that SPS uses is not equitable. In addition to missing historically underserved students, it is not age normed and misses younger students with summer birthdays and captures red-shirts, it misses most 2e students.

Frankly some of the "cut off" procedures over the years have been downright barbaric, like using MAP scores as exclusionary tools, rather than identification tools. Kids who raced through a silly test to get to recess, nope, you are now not qualified, regardless of your Cogat.

I have said many, many times, that this district is large enough to have multiple types of programs. I have also clarified many times, that multiple programs is not some hidden code for not doing equitable identification.

If you have been around for as long as you claim, then you likely remember the outreach that was done one year (during the MGJ era) for students of color who scored a 4 on the MSP to test for HC services. I remember the board meeting when it was reported that there was a profound lack of interested in the current program but that the results showed there would be interest in programs closer to home and a program that had a broader range of abilities.

To be extra clear, I am thrilled that this has made its way to the legislature and I think that legislative action and clarity will be critical for creating any meaningful change in HC services.

To be blunt, doing more than the minimum, has always been a option for SPS. SPS has the ability to create and implement programs. They have the ability to do more than simply provide the bare minimum required by law in the least expensive format. IMHO, continuing to remind people that the legal requirement is a FLOOR, not a ceiling is an important part of this discussion.



Anonymous said...

Your support for Spectrum as a minor league program for students to get up to the HCC achievement cut-off is not new. In fact, you just did an "amen" to nocaps in this very thread regarding Spectrum.

You have no record at all of supporting changes in HCC entrance requirements on this blog.

If your history of not advocating for changing identification protocols, plus supporting Spectrum as a Bush League program for historically underserved students, is not correct, please accept my apologies.

Otherwise, your support for the status quo has been both implicit and complicit in terms of HCC.

Lip Service

Anonymous said...

your support for hcc is less whites. period. less whites would end up with less hcc. the state wants less missing of frl/ell hcc. EVERYONE DOES. do you? to advocate to get rid of private testing as it adds more whites (folks like you have advocated for such) is wrong headed. the state does not support that (and i do believe that change will be challenged). but you do.


you and the state will never be on the same page. your attempts are race based and theirs are need base. non-white doesn't mean more need. frl/ell most likely does. and how do (you/or) teachers teach those white kids in their class? they need more, need less? need the same? they need the same regardless of the pigment of their skin, right.

if you were to say doing more with nothing more you will probably, and unfortunately, get the same result. the state is offering more for more universal testing. great. and pd is great. but that really is all they are offering to sps. surprise! sps will not have much else to change as they work to be the standard of the state and nation. and they use the sbac for achievement (wrong). you need to have something to decide who are the most in need.

no caps

kellie said...

@ Lip Service,

Seriously? Worst.Apology.Ever.

Can you issue me a merit badge that reads "Both Implicit and Complicit Support for the Status Quo" I think I might enjoy wearing my merit badge the next time, I sit through another tedious meeting that is the foundation of the governance process. It would also help everyone else to stop mistaking me for a harmless soccer mom. Win-Win!

I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and presume that you have dealt with racism to the point where you are genuinely reading subtext in my words (that isn't there) or that other people have used these same words that I am using but for nefarious purposes.

FWIW, I am a staunch believer in multiple types of programs, because one size does not fit all. And also because kids needs change drastically between PreK and high school and you never know what challenges are going to arise or what you might need later.

I tend to think of various programs as simple flavors of ice cream. People may have preferences and opinions about their favorite flavor but that doesn't not make one flavor better than another. I have truly no clue why you would believe that ADDITIONAL programs, over and above the minimum mandated by the state, is so problematic but ... that is the foundation of democracy. Everyone gets a vote. Everyone gets an opinion.


Anonymous said...

@ Lip Service, think about it. You (or someone appears to be you or at least thinks just like you) have in the past advocated for changes to the highly capable program so that it accepts fewer *high achievers who aren't really all that gifted* and more underrepresented students who aren't high achieving but who are cognitively gifted. Great-and yes, we absolutely should find and serve those kids. However, as you have also acknowledged, our current HCC services are NOT geared toward cognitively gifted kids regardless of achievement. HCC is geared toward cognitively gifted kids who are ALSO academic high achievers, so the curriculum relies not on strategies that are more tailored to the needs of cognitive outliers, but rather on pure, simple (and cheap) acceleration. Unfortunately, that makes it much more challenging to find those gifted-but-low-achieving and simply throw them into HCC, as they are likely years behind in the curriculum. That's where a tailored, target-group-specific, intensive talent development program could really come in handy. It would not be a "bush league" or "runner up" program any more than Rainier Scholars is such a program. Or any more than special ed is, or ELL services are, or any other program designed to target a group with different needs. Providing programs specific to the needs of certain groups, to help make up for the additional challenges they face, is the very definition of equity. Equity means providing something to help mitigate the existing inequities. It's hard to see how dedicating resources and providing intensive academic support services to help promising students from underrepresented groups qualify for and/or be ready to thrive in HCC could be anything but a move toward greater equity. You seem to have a bizarre idea of how equity is achieved--you don't just change eligibility criteria suddenly, like magic, find that everything is peachy.

DisAPP

Anonymous said...

or eliminate hcc hs pathways and think the same pipe dream.

no caps

Melissa Westbrook said...

Lip Service, enough with the attacks. You think Kellie and I are wrong. We get that. Move on with solutions.

z said...

plus supporting Spectrum as a Bush League program for historically underserved students

Seriously? This is offensive. You've slipped and let your true colors show. The program label doesn't matter, the fact that you do not support helping cognitively capable students who haven't had the same privileges at home bridge the gap speaks volumes.

I guess you consider Rainier Scholars to be "Bush League" too, because it's not HCC? Wow, just wow. You are a piece of work.

I have one simple question, if you dare. Do you believe there are a bunch of historically underserved but HC-capable kids in Seattle that:
1) have not already been identified as HC qualified
2) are already prepared for an HCC class (elem) or classes (MS/HS)

I don't mean maybe-possibly one or two in a district of 50k, I mean enough to justify a comment like what you made above.

Anonymous said...

@z

Are you truly unaware that Rainier Scholars had to be formed largely as a response to the fact that so many historically underserved services have been excluded from APP/HCC (and formerly Spectrum)?

This quote comes to mind with the cluelessness of your comment: "HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice,” DeVos said.

And, do you realize that HCC qualifications for underserved students will change so that they no longer have to "be prepared for an HCC class"?

"This misunderstanding turns multiple measures into multiple hurdles that disproportionately limit identification of low-income and other historically underrepresented students, who may have variable scores despite high cognitive potential."

Local norms will be used, too. Read the bill before reacting. Yes, a "bunch" of kids will now qualify.

http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2017-18/Htm/Bills/Senate%20Bills/6508.htm

Lip Service

z said...

Yeah, as expected, you wouldn't answer that simple question. To be clear, that's a (1) AND (2), not either/or, which would be a silly question. Try again, I'm waiting. We're all waiting.

It's sick that by your own description you apparently believe it's a good idea to throw (any) kids who are unprepared for (any) class into said class. What kind of sadist does that? And by the way, I've seen that firsthand in HCC classes already. Especially when some of the less effective qualification measures were in place in some years.

The real world isn't like your pie in the sky version, it's VERY unpleasant for all concerned, but mostly for the kid(s) who are struggling mightily in a class that's working significantly above their level. You end up with a situation where NO ONE is happy. The teacher's workload goes up. And the struggling student not only has to work twice as hard as everyone else (with no guarantee of success), but they have to deal with the stares and glares from the other kids. They are kids after all. It's not like they all don't know who's far behind, it's quite obvious to everyone, including the struggling kids. For precious few, that can serve as motivation, but from what I've seen myself it's usually just frustration and serves to defeat the kids' self esteem. It's especially troubling when the struggling kid doesn't look like the other kids in the class, because it feeds negative stereotypes that I want to see disappear. The kids need support, not to be thrown into a fire.

Worst of all, these are bright kids who would be far ahead of the other students in a typical classroom and likely successful and learning in a moderately accelerated honors class or what used to be Spectrum. Some of these kids would pick up steam and be ready for HCC work with some of that kind of support, but not all. Having a support system in place for them wherever they (and everyone) land is the best we could hope for, but nope, somehow you think HCC is "the goal" that everyone should be striving for.

HCC is NOT a goal, the intent is that it's an intervention for kids who truly cannot be served in a typical classroom. Unfortunately it's grown into a monster, but stop feeding the ridiculous frenzied notions that it's something every kid should want and strive for, because it will never and should never be that.

Still waiting for your answer to my simple question.

Anonymous said...

Your question will be moot, which is how I answered it.

HCC, the renamed version of APP, is not going to be the only model anymore. Get it?

HC, by state law, is a service, not a model or program. The SPS version of HC has been excluding students who deserve services, and uses outdated identification and service delivery (because it's currently operating as strictly a program).

The new kids who qualify will receive services appropriate to THEM, which may be different from the services your kids needed or got. Accelerating two years ahead may not be needed, desirable or advisable for many HC and/or gifted students.

You really need to shift your paradigm. It's an outdated one and, as the bill outlines, has gone against best practices by excluding many children.

I did already say that "a bunch" will qualify because they will. They are also a priority per the state:

"District practices for identifying the most highly capable students must prioritize equitable identification of low-income students."

Reading the bill really will help with your understanding. I'm through answering your questions that are easily spelled out for you in the bill.

It's not rocket science. It has been in NAGC as best practices for a long time now, as well as in the research of De Bonte and other experts.

Lip Service

Anonymous said...

correction from above:

Are you truly unaware that Rainier Scholars had to be formed largely as a response to the fact that so many historically underserved STUDENTS...

Lip Service

z said...

My question has nothing to do with state law, or NAGC practices, or anything else. It was simply asking your opinion. But you know your answer will not serve your goal of warping all the data into your own world view, so you avoid it. Sad, but not unexpected.

Here's an even more simple question for you that requires no linkage to anything else:

Do you think truly Gifted Kids (not the bright kids that make up probably 2/3 of today's current HC cohort) appear at random, i.e. equally represented among all socioeconomic levels?

z said...

Also, while I'm at it, you are the one who needs to rethink your paradigm. First, you say this: The new kids who qualify will receive services appropriate to THEM, which may be different from the services your kids needed or got. Accelerating two years ahead may not be needed, desirable or advisable for many HC and/or gifted students. And hallelujah for that, it's absolutely true, and desirable, though good luck seeing it happen in practice.

But your other comment plus supporting Spectrum as a Bush League program for historically underserved students flies in the face of the above. Somehow you have it stuck in your head that anything less than "full fledged HCC" is somehow bush league. Total BS. Different kids need different programs or services, and what matters is that they're at an appropriate level. I know you understand this, but you still make completely stupid, inconsistent comments like this one. Your rage shows through in a lack of logic, and yet I know you will come up with some ridiculous reasoning to justify a rude comment.