Advanced Learning Discussion

Update: I truly have never seen people so unwilling to own their statements.  I am removing all commenters names. You can certainly seek them out on Facebook.

Eye roll.

end of update

The deadline for applying for Advanced Learning services was to be today but there is this from the district:

Due to a districtwide system outage, we are extending the Advanced Learning parent referral window to Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 5 p.m. Please contact the Advanced Learning Department if you need assistance. Learn more:

I would say that referral window is just too short and probably they did that on purpose.  But again, the Board says nothing.

I note the Board has several work sessions this Wednesday from 4:30-7:30 pm (welcome to the Board, Director Hersey!

The first Work Session is discussion of Advanced Learning starting at 4:30 pm. From about 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm, the discussion will turn to Boundaries.  After that, the Board has an executive session about a legal matter.

What the supporting documents say about the ALTF:
We request that the SPS School board:

1. Authorize changes to Policy 2190 that reflects the
Advanced Learning Taskforce recommendations, Policy 0030
and the School Board Resolution.
2. Authorize the Superintendent to develop procedures that
initiate change and provide for a future, non-segregated
approach that prioritizes and serves the needs of students.
3. Send a message to our students, staff and community that
it is time for change and a commitment to equity by all." 

And hey, big surprise, the Work Session documents say the district will be "sunsetting" the ALTF.

To note, NOTHING surprises me when it comes to taskforces, committees, etc. SPS always does what it wants in the end.
As well, there's quite the interesting discussion - and fairly civil given some of those involved - about HCC on Facebook. There were several comments of note.  The issue came up because one person asked about public testimony at the Board meeting about Cascadia Elementary.

Please note some comments came at different points in the discussion but I put all comments I thought pertinent from people together under their names.  Also, I have only one parent's remarks in favor of elimination of HCC as, sadly but once again, one SPS staffer dominated the discussion.

Commenter #1
We haven’t finished drafting or have voted on recommendations that will guide procedure 2190. No idea what is going on.

Commenter #2

The recommendations highlight the responsibility of every school to identify students who need more challenging work and provide that work.

They completely ignore best practices for instruction of gifted students and the verbiage used in the presentation makes it clear that this was intentional.

There is no evidence that the task force identified a source of funds for the services they expect to be provided at every school. What do they think we should give up in exchange for this?

Commenter #3
It's so interesting because the actual delegates to the ALTF have not approved recommendations yet. This reflects a substantial problem in the way the district addresses issues; they have called a task force, spent more money on a consultant than on actual research, and then plan to ignore its recommendations.

The ALTF does know what they have or have not approved as recommendations. They do not believe they are done with their work, and last time I asked they believed their work would continue into the fall. (It has been a few days, admittedly, and I am not on the ALTF. I am just someone who has been following their process.)

But I don't know why you would act surprised. This is not the only task force that has raised questions about the integrity of the district in respecting their work. I believe there was recently an essay about how the Ethnic Studies task force was having similar issues. 

The original agenda for the evening included discussing the recommendations coming from the ALTF. The district has been making moves to eliminating the HC program without specifying a viable alternative, and that has parents concerned. This program is for kids who are atypically developing and is essential for their success in many cases.

The ALTF recommendations were delayed, but parents had already committed to speaking on this evening.

She also said this:
One goal advocates from Cascadia have is to demonstrate that it can be a very important program. For most enrolled students it is not a luxury, but rather a requirement for successful basic ed.

One frustration that we have is that the district does not appear to be paying much attention to research and best practices in their consideration. This is not a problem unique to HC programs, but it is yet another one that is likely to really harm students, and especially students who are already experiencing inequity in school.

Lately I have also been speaking with families of color who are frustrated because they feel like proposals are being made in their name, without the benefit of having anyone actually hear their voice. I believe all the speakers on Wednesday represented families or color and/or immigrant families. They would like the district hear their experiences before acting in their names.

Modifications to the program are necessary, and overdue. The request is that they be done respectfully and not destructively.

There used to be a spectrum program that was defined and existed in neighborhood schools. That program was destroyed because the district refused to guarantee standards, and schools naturally eliminated the things that served only a minority of their populations. The elimination of spectrum led to a huge increase in HCC enrollment. The district could reinstitute spectrum, with guarantees and funding, and HCC would naturally decline in size again.

Notice: killing HCC today does not help kids in their neighborhood schools. If anything, it harms them because it requires more of local programs with no promise of support. 

Commenter #4
FYI... HCC also discriminates against disabled students. Small numbers, but really meaningful to those that are excluded based on district policy. I have a public records request to SPS for percentages, which has been delayed multiple times.  

This from Commenter #5 who has a different view:

I sincerely struggle to understand the "need" for HCC at a cognitive level. These are not for the most part gifted children we're talking about, since true giftedness is vanishingly rare. It seems that the cohort in question is rather middle class kids (overwhelmingly white) who come into school with advantages such as several years of quality (read: expensive) preschool, college-educated "concerted-cultivator" parents, and resultant close familiarity with the racially dominant knowledge forms and middle-class mores of the mainstream education system. Of *course* they look like advanced learners, because they have had a significant head start in absorbing and rehearsing the educational performances most favored by our system. Ironically, by mistaking their advantages for innate ability, we are in many cases doing them a disservice by failing to tailor their education to their actual abilities - not to mention failing to remedy their real lack of understanding in other, less culturally favored areas of knowledge that are arguably more important for their future (such as how to work with, rather than competing against, other people).

As for the (related) "boredom" argument, I'm also at a loss to understand why it seems be so terrible to expect such kids (I count my own among them) to understand that not everyone comes into school with unearned advantages, and to learn the profound societal value of patiently waiting for (and perhaps even actively helping) their less privileged peers to receive the same resources they've already enjoyed. It seems to me that the idea that I should never have to experience a moment's discomfort or make any concessions on behalf of anyone else is the root of many of the very real problems we have created for our society and our children's future.

That last paragraph is, well, a doozy.  This is not what public education is supposed to be about and I don't believe most parents would agree.  And a whole school year of "patiently waiting" is not "a moment's discomfort."

From Commenter #6
Gifted kids who aren't being challenged appropriately often become behavioral problems, think there is something wrong with them, or feel weird and isolated. Disabilities are masked and not discovered because they perform at grade level. They drop out of school at higher rates , and, especially if they come from marginalized communities, can end up in prison.

Again from another comment
If you are exhausted, we are too. We are exhausted because there are so many misconceptions about what HCC is and why parents are concerned about it's elimination. You don't seem to care to try and understand those truths at all. I can only assume it is a power play because it certainly doesn't appear to focus on what it might take to help kids.

Parents are not saying there are no issues with racism in the public schools; quite the contrary. What they are saying is fix the issues, don't use HC as a scapegoat to prop up performative equity.

You can continue to use your shouts of white privilege as a bludgeon to shut down dissenting arguments. It's a nice effective weapon. What it isn't is any inquiry into what is actually going to improve the situation. My hope is that you aren't too successful because all the kids in Seattle will lose if you are.


Anonymous said…
Terrible messaging in calling for the abolition of HCC because of under representation. Does no one believe POC can meet the challenge of HCC? Fight for representation not abolition! The value of these opportunities cannot be lost to POC!

Anonymous said…
Of course "POC can." The problem is that the district excludes most eligible historically underrepresented students because they refuse to use local norms and other best practices.

Like it or not, Melissa, the commenter whose you labeled "a doozy" had an excellent analysis of who typically qualifies.

Rainier Scholars was started because so many highly capable students from underserved groups were ner going to qualify for HC in SPS.

Anonymous said…
Enough/TCG, We’re ALL well aware of the problem. The “doozy” comment? Fair enough to direct it towards feet dragging parents who miss the point of a public schools system. Let’s not drag six years olds into the foray, they have just as much say as children from high poverty/underserved schools. Let’s accept our shortcomings as a district and find a way to do better.

POC Can!
Anonymous said…

The referral window opens in May, yes? When do you think is a better time to hold this and any idea why they test in October? What’s the ramp up to plan for next years HCC class?

Time Line
Anonymous said…
On a discussion about math placement, Van Gelder also suggests: "it [math advancement in elementary school] seems to fall into the category of school practices that deny some students educational justice while further advantaging those who are already advantaged, and that should be dismantled in order to comply with the current SPS Strategic Plan."

This is already happening, as Hazel Wolf is phasing out walk to math at the elementary level. Another parent brings up what has been an issue for years:

"The most frustrating aspect of math at SPS is the lack of clarity. Regardless of the reasons why families want to know how to get to 8th grade algebra/12th grade calculus, there should be clear, district wide policies and options. Sadly there are not. And even at a school level there is rarely a well documented and communicated answer."

If SPS is going to phase out math advancement in elementary school, will they create pathways for advancement in middle school - a one year compacted 6/7 math, for example, not just grade skipping (which can result in missed concepts)? Apparently Mercer already does this.

more math
Anonymous said…
No students...none....who want to prepare for a challenging college experience will get any useful preparation in SPS - thanks to the remonstrations of Van Gelding and her ilk. Neutered educational opportunities for all.

Rainier Scholars identifies and prepares their students with rigorous work. It's a real commitment to complete that program. They don't just identify and vilify like SPS. It's a great program but the students generally end up in private school.

I would advise parents who want their children to have a challenging educational experience to move to Shoreline or the East side.

Anonymous said…
@ Enough, that "doozy"comment, with which you seem to agree, suggests that if HC-identified students would just sit tight for a while and not worry about learning, everyone else will catch up and it'll all be good. Or maybe they're not supposed to just sit tight, they're supposed to go out there and teach their grade-level peers, or provide them some other resources (donations maybe?)? But do you seriously think if most of those HC-identified kids just sit tight the rest of the class is going to catch up?

Most intellectually gifted students are quick learners, and they don't need a lot of repetition. They are also often curious. And devoted readers. When a class moves slowly--or even when it doesn't--those with easy access to resources like a smartphone or computer or books are going to move ahead on their own. The idea that you're going to stop their learning so others can catch up is absurd. You won't stop their learning--but you will make them dislike school and, more detrimentally, resent their classmates for slowing things down to the point of mind-numbing boredom. They'll also feel that much more isolated. Are those social-emotional outcomes really worth it, especially when we won't even get the purported academic outcomes?

If we were really talking about asking HC students to endure "a moment's discomfort or make any concessions on behalf of anyone else" that would be one thing. But that's not the case at all. What you're suggesting is ongoing, and it's more than discomfort. Trying to sweep away the idea of giftedness because it makes others feel uncomfortable is not the solution. Gifted children should also not be the scapegoats for all of society's ills, either. That's a pretty horrible thing to say.

You might also stop to consider this whole "earned" vs not argument you seem to be making. For one, my dyslexic HCC daughter works her a$$ off in school, and I doubt you're really in a position to determine who deserves or does not deserve HC services. Two, where does that end? Should a student with nicer clothes have to share them with my daughter, since we spend money on dyslexia services instead of fancy clothes, and really, what did that student do to "earn" fancy clothes? Should a student with a smartphone trade her for her basic phone? You get the idea. It's also often the case that, when it comes to learning, students who intellectually gifted have a passion for learning and spend their free time learning--does that count as "earning" their higher scores and HC placement? What does it mean for a student to earn or deserve services at an advanced level--or should those who move ahead on their own essentially be penalized for their independent learning?

It seems like we have this all

Anonymous said…
@DieSPSDie, I don't think they need any encouragement. They're doing their damnedest already.

I agree, if you have an intellectually gifted student who has a strong academic drive, and you want to avoid a lot of frustration, SPS should not be at the top of your list. If you have other options, take them. SPS is perfectly happy to sacrifice academic excellence in the name of mediocrity for all (although, TBH, it seems they can't even achieve that.)

Anonymous said…
The district just wants some quick and easy equity points. They don’t actually care if students of color get access to advancement. If they did, they would have listened to the recommendations of the 2014 ALTF. They can change the identification practices anytime.
The current proposal would send everyone to their red-lined inequitable schools. The well off, low FRL schools with supportive leadership will serve their AL students well. The high FRL or middle of the road ones with unsupportive leadership, bias teachers and with high number of struggling students won’t serve their AL students. Fake equity at its finest.
This district still has teachers who call the police on their 5th graders, where principals publicly shame their black students, where classrooms go a whole year with no teacher. So now, magically, all teachers will have the resources, capacity, cultural competency and racial training to see and serve their black and brown students as advanced learners. It’s sad that the equity problem will get worse, but the conversation about equity in AL will end because these kids now will be invisible.

New bottom
What "local norms?"

Time Line, I think they should do testing earlier in the year and have a much wider timeframe for applying. That's what you would do if you wanted to find a more diverse population.

New Bottom said this:
The district just wants some quick and easy equity points. They don’t actually care if students of color get access to advancement. If they did, they would have listened to the recommendations of the 2014 ALTF. They can change the identification practices anytime.

I have said that the Board and the district could change their identification practices anytime and have many ways they could do so and yet...they choose to point fingers rather create solutions.

I just provided a link for both Work Sessions.

There is a lot I could say about the AL portion. It's insulting to most people with a brain and even a nominal memory for the history of this district. But that's what happens when a new super comes in - everyone else previous was doing something wrong but no one at JSCEE suffers for but do the parents and school communities? Yes they do.

As for boundaries, man, they are trying to shove thru many changes that will affect upwards of 18 schools. There's one Operations Ctm meeting and a single community meeting and then they want the Board to vote.

Anonymous said…
What "local norms?"

Is this an actual question. If so, where have you been?

Anonymous said…

I said that the person succinctly and accurately diagnosed who typically qualifies for HC. I said nothing about anything else they wrote.

That was an interesting article that said this:

"An immediate challenge is that not every building has services to provide even if they all implemented local norms tomorrow. According to a new study published in Gifted Child Quarterly that used data from the Office of Civil Rights, over 42 percent of U.S. schools have zero students identified as gifted. This points to a major implication of what we propose: All schools would need to proactively plan for how they would challenge their most advanced learners."

They also say this (which I find odd):

"Additionally, they are relatively easy to implement and carry almost no additional cost to students or schools."

No cost? Well, when you have schools without PD to recognize highly capable kids, that's a cost. Plus, the PD to differentiate is a cost.

This district isn't famous for following thru so while local norms sound great, I have no hope that they will be implemented with any kind of fidelity.

The study itself is quite interesting and better defines "local norms."

"In this article, we use “local norms” to refer to ranked performance within the school building. This means that the reference group for the gifted identification process is the student’s same-grade peers within a given building. Instead of different schools in the same district (or state) having a different proportion of students identified, every school using local norms and a common cutoff would have the same proportion of students identified to receive gifted program services. If the cut score is the top 5% of each building, then each building will always identify 5% of its students as gifted. The logic behind this approach is that these are the students most likely to go underchallenged and thus in need of additional services to be appropriately challenged. From an administrative point of view, identifying consistent numbers of students within schools also simplifies instructional planning: staff allocation is more predictable because the number of students served does not vary as widely across buildings or from one year to the next as when national norms are used to identify learners for gifted services."

You might want to check that tone, Enough.
Anonymous said…
@Enough, has this been implemented in actual schools or is it a purely academic theory at this point? And if so, where? What is to prevent a higher performing family with means from enrolling in a lower performing school to take advantage of this approach? I guess you cant build a whole system around a few opportunistic users, right?

Academic Exercise
Anonymous said…
Did you even read the article?

The opportunistic users, to borrow your parlance, have already created the demand for prep centers and pre books.

Moving to a low income school to qualify to be in the 5% that will get HC services... Do you seriously think this is something to be concerned about?

Why the knee-jerk dismissals whenever an actual remedy is proposed? This is the attitude that has allowed the more radical proposals to flourish.


Anonymous said…
Enough, Yes I read the article. Why the “knee jerk dismissal” of my concern? We have families gentrifying Concord Elementary to use our dual language program (intended for ELLs), no? In any case I acknowledged in my comment this wasn’t very likely. Nothing wrong with pressure testing a new idea.

Academic Exercise
Anonymous said…
@ Enough, did you read and actually think about the article? It essentially says this: If we consider the top x% at each school gifted, we'll likely end up with less racial disparity in gifted identification (since, it implies, schools are often somewhat segregated by race).

Well yeah, that's pretty obvious. If you have racial (or income, or parent ed, etc.) clustering and disparities at schools across a city, by picking a set percentage from each school you're likely to get a more representative population. HOWEVER, there's nothing in that methodology that suggests you're likely to get a more APPROPRIATE population for whatever the service is. In other words, picking the top 2% from each school does not mean that the overall aggregate group consists of the 2% who are the most the gifted. The article focuses completely on the optics of representation, and zero on whether or not the kids who would be identified were actually those in need of special services or programs.

As well, the paragraph about implementation challenges pretty much nails the problem that would sink it all in SPS. "An immediate challenge is that not every building has services to provide even if they all implemented local norms tomorrow....All schools would need to proactively plan for how they would challenge their most advanced learners." Yeah, right. Not gonna happen. And do you know where it's least likely to happen? In those schools at which the kids become HC-identified via "local norms" instead of national or state norms.

This part was interesting, too. "When educators examine performance relative to peers’ performance within each individual school building, gifted identification is about determining which children are not being challenged by the existing “grade level” instruction provided in a specific school setting. Every building has kids who could do more, and every building needs to proactively identify and serve those kids." Why is "grade level" in quotation marks? It seems to suggest that "grade level" instruction varies by school, presumably because schools with higher achieving students benchmark their "grade level"instruction to a higher level, and that "grade level" instruction at a low performing school might actually be below grade level instruction. In other words, if "grade level" instruction is relative, those who newly get HC via local norms aren't likely to get the same level of instruction as those who are high achieving but no longer considered HC at a high performing school.

Local norms may sound good, but the devil is in the details. And no matter how many times you (or your moniker-mates) are asked about the details of how this could actually WORK, you never have a decent response (if you bother to respond at all).

all types
Anonymous said…
@ Enough, you think an actual remedy was proposed? Maybe a remedy for the optics and racial disparity issue, but NOT a remedy for the "who needs services and how can we serve them?" problem. That's the real problem for which we need a remedy, don't you agree?

One other point. Choosing the top x% from every school can result in a wide range of outcomes. For example, if every school is representative of SPS's overall demographics, we'd have school-by-school eligibility that looks just like HCC does now, right? The degree of segregation is a factor in the extent to which local norms dictate the "right" racial makeup of those deemed eligible. At what point would the local norms approach need to kick in?

Also, there are other ways than school-based norms, right? They could be by poverty status, race, etc. Not all legal, but potentially better suited to getting the right population in terms of who needs services.

all types

PS- If you already have some concentration of gifted students in certain schools--because their parents were seeking more appropriate services--that skews the local norms thing, too. If school x has a LOT more gifted students, shouldn't a higher percentage there qualify for gifted services?
Anonymous said…
Always a rebuttal for optional ways to deal with the unsustainable current system.

In the meantime, it looks like the district might be headed toward differentiation as the service model except for the extreme outliers.

Drip, Drip, drip...

Tired Mom said…
Remember that time school district employee harassed us on the internet and called us segregationists for sending our kids to their schools? Good times, SPS.

Testimony Continues said…
Fortunately, HCC parents continue to testify at board meetings. One immigrant parent told us about her HCC son with Attention Deficit Disorder. She didn't know how to manage SPS bureaucracy. Her child kept getting punished at school; made to walk circles alone on the playground. It wasn't until the child was placed in HCC that his behavior problems stopped.

Two other minority parents spoke.

President Harris made some a statement to the effect that the superintendent feels parents are getting "hysterical", when, in fact, we are looking at a multi- year process.

I will note that the superintendent does not have children. She doesn't have a clue. Teachers without children have said that they truly didn't understand public education- until their children were in the system. I agree.
Anonymous said…
Oh, this is extra special: the supe doesn't "get it" because she has no kids! That's the most lame yet.

Maybe *not* having kids helps you treat all children more fairly since you are looking beyond your own self interest.

Try that

Testimony Continues, I read in other places that those are just "token" minority parents. So, there's that.

Did Harris say the Superintendent actually said "hysterical?" Because that would be a very bad word to use.
Anonymous said…
Some obvious issues here:

1. The supporting document is really hostile to special education kids. If you watch closely the video interviews that Chandra Hampson and Molly Mitchell gave to the 36th District Democrats this month you will see them very carefully but clearly dismiss the very idea of categorizing kids as having special education needs, saying everyone should have an IEP and basically indicating that they intend to denigrate and dismiss the needs of SpEd kids and parents.

2. The changes for option schools, particularly the massive expansion of the geozones, appears designed to end the option schools as choices open to many parents. The new geozones will make it a lot harder for kids who don't live within the walkzone to go to the option school.

3. The first or second slide suggests that advanced learning was set up to stop white flight during the 1980s, which is totally wrong and ahistorical and should not be allowed to stand unchallenged.

4. People should raise hell about moving Licton Springs K-8 from a site that has meaning to Native peoples, a site that was promised to them by SPS, to a random school in the middle of a white neighborhood. This is quite literally SPS breaking a treaty.

This could be Denise Juneau's Waterloo - she has already alienated the community with her stubborn refusal to grant excused absences for the climate strike and is infuriating everyone with her mismanagement of enrollment. We all know she has ambitions to become the next Education Secretary if a Democrat becomes president, but her top-down approach that holds the community in contempt is simply going to provoke a year of bitter fights that will make her toxic to any presidential transition team.

Anonymous said…

Attempted to suspend the HCS-AC, suspended the ALTF after over a year because you don't have the votes, trying to push through with zero public engagement a program that will fundamentally change every SPS building in Seattle.

Staff run amok or Sup's gone wild. Wonder if she reads emails.. Because she doesn't answer them.

Nyland's Ghost.
Watching said…

The Washington Examiner has a very good article that exemplifies SPS's actions.

Title: The Left seeks to homogenize education in pursuit of equality over excellence

"Elimination of gifted and talented programs is, thankfully, a bridge too far for even the NYC teachers’ unions, but it is fully compatible with what many on the Left see as the goal of education. They deem the purpose of schooling not the passing on of knowledge or even the training of an individual necessary to be a contributing member of society — but instead believe our school system ought to pursue the nobler aim of social leveling."
Sydney Herald said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
"Overall, we rate the Washington Examiner Right Biased based on editorial positions that almost exclusively favor the right and Mixed for factual reporting due to several failed fact checks."

Google it
Sydney Herald said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
She sounds smart to me.

Her analysis was spot on!

No surprise

Stuart J said…
First, has anyone asked OSPI if "local norms" is even legal? The state is giving money to the school districts for gifted education. There are a lot of rules that go with the funding.

Second, is anyone talking with people from the OSPI office that deals with gifted ed, or contacting legislators, especially people on the education committees in the house and senate?
Testimony said…
September 18th Board Meeting. Hour/minute 2: 26

Harris states:

"I've been reminded by a number of senior staff, and in fact, the superintendent as well, that some of the HYSTERIA that we have been hearing about and I use that word advisedly...HYSTERIA or that this will be a multi year process." Harris goes on to talk about differentiated teaching and professional development.

Harris should know that braking communities, creating instability etc. is deeply disturbing. Hard to believe staff and some board directors view public in such a manner.

I will remind individuals that testimony is compelling.

Listen to the tape- it is all there. Shocking!

C&I Minutes said…

C and I minutes:

"The ALTF will implement planning alongside the implementation before handing it over to the advisory group. Director Geary inquired about any discussion around campaigning within the task force. After an initial investigation, Ms. Hanson revisited the norms and discussed consequences with the task force. She reported that the situation did not impact the momentum of the work. Director Pinkham asked if student voice has been included in this work. Ms. Hanson replied that they plan to engage with historically underserved students, enlisting the assistance of principals with reaching out to students. "

Does the district plan on reaching out to the families and students that will be displaced??
Anonymous said…
MW, DeWolf has never recanted his claim that HC is 90% white. Nothing like number crunchers running for the school Board. (Surprisingly it is closer to the districts numbers and browner than Seattle.) Hey the HC numbers on the presentation only add up to 85%. And is that the HC services or cohort? Doesn't say. Should we guess? But honestly it is anyone's guess and I am sure Kari Hanson will have a few guesses to throw at the Board on Thursday --- regardless of validity.

That said the October number they use is 55,335, is that correct as it sounds too high. Then they give the number of white students as 3,288. So they are off by 90% there. When do we start saying bullshit and garbage in, garbage out and let us slow this train and finish the expensive task force and get their recommendations based on real numbers and real history. This is way too important isn't it? And this is the professional presentation to the Board that can't really be corrected in time to find the 15% and trust they know what they are TRULY talking about.

That is before you look at the other bush league absent-reference stated facts. It is like a press conference with MAGA hat man. I said it therefore it is true. I've seen staff mislead the Board before but this. is. amazing. in its corruption of facts and numbers. And it is like the contractor that warns you , fast, cheap or quality work. You can only pick two though. And we know how little of a budget there is for these "jobs" and we know they are trying cram this in really fast. So you can dismiss any hope for quality.

NEXT IPP was brought to SPS by two brilliant professors at the UW, the Robinsons, who realized if you put HC kids into groups you could meet their idiosyncratic socio-emotional needs as well as get them to skip high school. Yep. Look up the history. Not to stem white flight. It wasn't some trick. It was and is best practices and it was sending 9th graders to the U of W! See UCDS curriculum for instance. But it didn't/doesn't cost anymore. Amazing. Last few years we have banned ANY AP classes for 9th graders and watered down the MS curriculum so much that most probably can't get into the Robinson center anymore (let alone the U).

Anonymous said…
Also Horizon = Spectrum. So no not extremely gifted as they so falsely claim. What we had then was like APP and Spectrum in the day and what we have now is Spectrum (1 year ahead if you are lucky) no world language - no Algebra II in middle school. Why the lies and did they feed these lies to the ALTF? Nasty staff. And the still didn't get the votes so they suspended it. That would be Tricky. Nasty. Staff.

Now let us talk about the word segregated. Is that segregated by race on purpose or perhaps without direct intent due to institutional racism. Or as Brian Terry likes to call it White Supremacy. Or as the clever stickers say APPartheid?

There is no doubt things could have been better. None. IMO myopic staff collaborated with professors of education and came up with a great program for only those who came from steady homes, mostly middle class parents (and above) and without stigma and trauma in their educational or life experience. Or extremely resilient learners who persevered despite one or more difficulties. And probably not 2e. But please bear in mind the "problem" they were solving was what do we do with kids with achievement and IQ who could go to college in the 9th grade. Pretty easy to find that group. Not that easy to do it then and while also identifying people of color. The test were bad. You had to know how to sign up. Heck you even needed to know about it. But to be clear it never was how to get white kids and black kid's into separate classrooms. Brian Terry is wrong. It was how to get some 9th graders into college.

But over the 30 years that IPP/APP/HCC has been around it has mostly been strikingly less black than Seattle/ or SPS. And less brown during some periods too. So it is a solution with problems. Not a problem without a solution. That is tracking not segregation. If you must use the term segregation for your own jollys you need to be professionally clear, it is achievement segregation and not racial segregation. But they are not...


Anonymous said…
Which brings us to ANOTHER deception. They cite ALTF 2014 as proof that we tried and it didn't work. That is bullshit. That task force had solid recommendations on how to get more kids of color into HCC classrooms. But NONE WERE FOLLOWED. Michael Tolley buried them. In fact any thing of significance was buried. Which made me scratch my head and ask "why do it again?" So the father of putting APP into Thurgood Marshall, against John Stanford's recommendations for such placements, didn't like the work that was done and started looking for new ways to get rid of HCC.

Here is one of the seven recommendations ALTF 2014 offered to help solve the problems of the program this one directed at erasing of the obvious absence of people of color in APP :

RECOMMENDATION 5: Enhance equity in access to Highly Capable and Advanced Learning services and programs. The District should provide additional pathways for identification of students who need Highly Capable services at all grade levels. In addition to teacher nomination and parent nomination, the District should investigate testing all kindergarten and/or second-grade students with an unbiased, non-verbal, cognitive screener (such as the CogAT screening form). In addition, the District should design and implement plans to support students who demonstrate potential for high achievement, especially those from underrepresented groups (including special education and high-poverty students), through talent development
initiatives. Details of administration and implementation would be developed jointly by the Advanced Learning office and the Equity and Race Relations department.

Yeah that was 5 years ago and nothing. happened. I see nothing but inaccurate data, bordering on propaganda false history, smoke and mirrors in this bogus deck.

More ToCome
Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…

Devin Bruckner - funny that an anti- HCC person would be put on the ALTF. Didn't she say on her advocacy website (that was a sign up form to speak at every Board meeting regardless of topic) that she also got money from the District for her advocacy. So basically costing several potentially meaningful testimony slots cost to false-statement-talking-points. Please FOIA. Should request all the AL dept. all the way up to Michael Tolley.

Lice Party

Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…

more context please. "I've been reminded by a number of senior staff, and in fact, the superintendent as well, that some of the HYSTERIA that we have been hearing about and I use that word advisedly...HYSTERIA or that this will be a multi year process."

i read that to say staff are calling parents hysterical because... they don't trust staff. they lied about high school pathways. they misled about budget numbers. they don't move moveable wait list. and for the last decade they have been slowly dismantling hcc. and over the last two years that has increased. students at wms lost a year of wl because not enough students of color were CHOOSING the classes. no science for 7th graders. jazz band - said to be decimated. rems is overcrowded so let's cut off ls. oh and let us change all these geozones to make the haves, have more. i am not hysterical enough though because the propaganda continues. fwiw continues to claim magic bullet mtss bs. brian terry calls a sps program white supremacist. no one is there to say... bullshit. i know the people who work in the al department. they are not white supremacist. hell it is said some of them district folks have funded his cause. but that talk should be rebuked.


Anonymous said…
This comment leaves out a very important fact: IPP was for a very small group of PROFOUNDLY gifted students, working four grade levels ahead.

HCC/HC is not a gifted program. The Robinsons did not put "HC kids into groups." The put a very small select group of highly gifted children together.

Your attempt to correlate IPP with HCC reveals misunderstanding, at best.

NEXT IPP was brought to SPS by two brilliant professors at the UW, the Robinsons, who realized if you put HC kids into groups you could meet their idiosyncratic socio-emotional needs as well as get them to skip high school"

Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…

This is another reflection of what’s happening elsewhere in the world today. The underclass is tired of being the underclass, and wouldn’t it feel good to burn the whole thing down? Sadly it is misguided. Seattle’s truly “elite” don’t send their kids to public schools, and if this keeps up, any one with the means to move across the lake or place their children in private schools will. Maybe those that will be left behind can enjoy the “equity” that comes with an across the board truly mediocre school system. I agree HCC needs reform. Please tell your story to the school board. We all need to hear it.

Spite OurFaces

kellie said…
In many ways, this conversation is stunning simple and deeply repetitive.

Downtown says "Parents, you need to trust us. We know what is best for ALL students. This time will be different. I promise."

Parents say "Trust is based on promises kept."

Downtown makes it clear over and over again, that putting teachers into school buildings, is not the number one priority of the school district. This year's drama can be boiled down to ... 'We find overstaffing the entire district by even one teacher so fiscally offensive, that we understaffed by 45 teachers instead. You are welcome."

Seriously, parents have every right to be skeptical that any plan based on PROVIDING MORE SERVICES at the school building level will be yesterday's news before the ink is dry on the press release and will be long forgotten during the next budget cycle when those services need to be paid for with real money, not lip service.

True real meaningful differentiation is the holy grail in education. It can be done, but only with a lot of funding for small class sizes and professional development.

IB has been in Seattle Schools for 15 years now. IB requires a tiny amount of additional funding, in the form of test fees and an IB coordinator. Just look at the history of paying for that small promise and you can easily understand the skepticism / hysteria.

kellie said…
There is a good reason why new and "newish" advocates fall for the "trust us line of argument." The argument usually seems plausible on its face.

Back in the dark ages, I fell for this line of reasoning as well. Circa 2002-2005, the official reason why we-couldn't-have-nice-things was small schools that were too expensive. The district argued that small schools in old buildings, like Montlake elementary, were just "too expensive" and if we "consolidated" all of those small schools, then there would be more money for the classroom.

That seemed completely reasonable to me. Then two advocates with a lot more experience, patiently explained to me, how the district plan was logistically impossible. There might be small schools, but that didn't mean there just was enough space to consolidate. And more importantly, how the district plan, treated all students like widgets and was geographically inconvenient because the "consolidated buildings" were not where the students lived.

When folks say this plan is not fiscally possible, that is a real and meaningful data point. This plan could work if we DOUBLED the teaching staff district wide. I think doubling the teaching staff is a fantastic idea and lots of great things are possible with more teachers.

Downtown has made it clear, that changes to AL will be an un-funded mandate.

Anonymous said…
"So interesting how these people who truly come from generational educational and most likely also wealth privilege are actually trying to "burn [the] bridge" for families like ours...But if HCC is eliminated and not revised and only Rainier Scholars stands, then what programs or bridge to the middle class exist for the poor kids?"

That's what's so confounding about it all. It's a toxic zero sum approach. So much seems based on optics, anecdata, and personal, anti-intellectual spite.

Comments on the presentation:
1. Student and teacher voice? ONLY from Garfield. That's one bleeping school. We have a long list of HC pathway schools (Fairmount, TM, Cascadia, WMS, HMS, RESMS, JAMS, IHS, and GHS) along with the 90+ non-pathway schools and we only hear from GHS?
2. There was also a 2007 analysis of APP done by UVA. The recommendations were similar to those of the previous ALTF - create a talent development pathway to APP, have PD for teachers, and get a curriculum. SPS promised a curriculum when APP went through the first program splits but not much materialized. They just continued to add APP sites with little to no curriculum planning (or teacher PD). Expect NOTHING if the plan moves forward with differentiation as the pathway to appropriate services.
3. The description of IPP history is BS. It stemmed from a UW program to support profoundly gifted students. Yes, qualifications broadened over time, but the program was still limited to one site each for ES, MS, and HS until 2009 (?) when they split to TM and HIMS. It was not a "prize" to spend long hours on a bus to access appropriate services. APP at Lowell shortly outgrew their location (it went from being an APP site to APP/GenEd) and was temporarily housed at Lincoln for what was supposed to be a year or two, but what morphed into 5 (?) years. When students no longer needed to make the long bus ride to Lowell or WMS, more families considered APP. Is that any surprise? At around the same time, Spectrum programs were being dismantled, making more families consider HCC.

long timer
D7 parent said…
Melissa- Did you get permission from the people whose quotes and name you used? If not, the least you can do is remove their names. You took posts from a private FB group. Pretty sure that is against the rules of the group unless you got their permission. You should probably stop doing that.
Anonymous said…
That AL slide deck is so outrageous I don't even know where to start. I CANNOT BELIEVE that Superintendent Juneau, or whichever district official, would approve such an un-edited (typos, grammatical errors, numbers not consistent, footnotes not saying what you say they say, etc.) and incredibly BIASED and FLAME-STOKING presentation to move forward. Talk about poor judgment.

References to "segregation" need to be corrected. HCC, AL, etc. are not racially segregated programs. If they want to make the important points that eligibility for and participation in the programs are marked by racial disparities, make that point. But to allow the slide maker(s) to call it segregation?

The apparent vision--both of the current situation, and of the future--are also so overly simplistic, biased, and unrealistic that it's almost a joke. Teachers are painted as clueless and uncaring now, but they'll all be amazingly tuned in able to work magic in the future. Current teachers are apparently totally unaware of the ADHD kid jumping around and blurting out in class now, but just you wait, they'll be able to spot them by 2023! Current teachers are also apparently completely unwilling to provide advanced work for any students now, partly because they just have such a darn hard time recognizing who is doing well in their classes (!), but in the future, teachers will finally be able to see who is or can do well and they will finally have a bunch of extra time to devote to developing challenging opportunities for them. Ta-da!

Aside from the inaccurate cries of segregation and the magical thinking version of what teachers and schools and the AL office will all do in the future, the actual details of what KIDS will get remain pretty vague. They'll get some various levels of MTSS services, which are never really spelled out (and this matters, because if you can't do it, the whole thing collapses). They'll also get math all the way up through Geometry in middle school. Wow, geometry? So a whole year beyond that "8th grade Algebra for all movement" level? Sheesh. There are middle schools--even NON HCC middle schools, that have offered Algebra 2 in 8th, but it seems that would no longer be allowed. Did you hear that sound? It's the sound of the ceiling being lowered one more time onto the heads of our most advanced students).

Seriously, who wrote and who approved that presentation? When can the public comment on it, and how best can we do so? I've got to hand it to you, SPS--you've really outdone yourselves here.

all types

PS - Where is the head of AL in all this???
Anonymous said…
Also, where are the discussions about capacity? With the current assignment plan, APP/HCC has been used as a moveable capacity management tool. Need to relieve HIMS and Eckstein overcrowding and fill JAMS at opening? Place APP/HCC at JAMS. Need to relieve overcrowding at GHS? Create an option pathway at IHS (and then stop funding it). How will schools manage capacity when students transition back to their once crowded neighborhood schools?

long timer
Raceless said…
According to the inflammatory and error ridden slide show for the special board meeting


The percentages in the chart on page 5 don't add up to 100%. Which is weird given how the whole AL part of the document is focused on race rather than academic need.
Anonymous said…
I forgot to include one other big omission from their overly vague presentation of the modified services: what are the "alternative placement services" and who will they serve? What will be the criteria? How many kids would that mean, and would students have a sufficient number of peers at their age level? It's not really much of a plan to just say "oh, we'll do something else for some other kids who need something else...."

The case story type things are so lopsided they made me chuckle. At least we all know now that, according to SPS, current teachers are uncaring buffoons who do nothing to observe or support their students, while future teachers will all be superheroes able to do it all, for everyone, every day.

Current teachers should take a look at the slides and see how accurately the case studies reflect what they do now, and what they'll do in a few years.

FYI, in our own "case studies," teachers were not such clueless and uncaring idiots. They seemed to genuinely care, and many went out of their way to provide additional challenge and/or allow work-arounds to circumvent SPS's stupid rules (rules that will likely still need to be circumvented in the future). The only possible change I see that would happen under the new plan in our "case" is that there would be more restrictions on how far ahead a student could go.

all types
Anonymous said…
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Desegregation for All Schools! said…
All types, the other possible change that will happen under the new plan is that more kids will likely stay at their neighborhood schools. It sounds like part of the reason for this is the desire to fight segregation in the schools. And yet so many non-HCC schools like Ballard and Rainier Beach are more segregated than HCC schools like Cascadia and Decatur. What the district is really missing is any semblance of a plan to reduce segregation at schools like Ballard and Rainier Beach. Where's the plan for that? Where do we sign up to support that plan? Because the plan that desegregates Ballard and Rainier Beach will impact far more students.
Lots to unpack.

1) "NEXT IPP was brought to SPS by two brilliant professors at the UW, the Robinsons, who realized if you put HC kids into groups you could meet their idiosyncratic socio-emotional needs as well as get them to skip high school."

I had to smile as I just saw Nancy Robinson at a forum for school board candidates. I told her what was happening in the district around HCC and she said, "And how does the district think they can cover that big a spectrum in each classroom?"

2) I don't mind if you can provide background on people but do not disparage them. It's easy enough to say "if this, then it explains that."

3)No outing of people.

4) I will have to write the Board about the hysteria comment because like many words today, it's a weaponized word against women.

5) Ah, the ADLTF of 2014, I remember it well because I was on it. We ONLY talked about HCC (and that should have been a tipoff that they were going to get rid of Spectrum). Our recommendations were ignored and we got a gold star and a pat on the back for our service.

As one person said, the Board should wise up about these task forces.

6) The ever-smart Kellie LaRue made a great comment - go ask the IB schools how supported their important program is. I despise that the district loves to brag on IB, dual language, etc. and yet created them and then refused to fully fund them.

7) JK, do NOT ever, ever,ever challenge someone's heritage here. Chandra Hampson did it to me and I'll be damned if it will be here. Cease and desist.

8) D7 Parent, I don't think I need their permission. One, while it's a closed group, the guideline/rules say nothing about reprinting comments. Two, it's Facebook. Three, I have quoted people for years and no one has ever asked me to get permission. Four, actually one person did today and I promised her I would not quote her again. I quote these people because it made for an interesting discussion.

9) All Types, thank you. I saw many proofreading errors and thought, did someone get paid for this? Also, man, the enrollment problems ending separate HCC is going to cause so many schools. Yes, where is the projecting on that? I suspect many parents at some schools may be very unhappy when their student is told to move onto their attendance school so that some HCC kid who lives in that attendance area can come back.
Anonymous said…
I am both a gifted person and a specialist in gifted instruction and education. I grew up in Arizona and my 'gifted' program was the ability to finish the curriculum in a few months and then get to read for the rest of the year. Teachers did not know how to teach me, were generally not interested in teaching me or anyone like me, and lacked the curiosity and passion to grow their skill sets. My existence in school was to be the last person called on when the teacher asked the class a question. They knew I had the answer. That was my life until I could enroll in honors classes where at least there were kindred spirits who wanted to learn at a higher pace or complexity. Those were my new baseline. I didn't feel like a freak or a problem. I felt that my passions and knowledge were valued by my peers and not sneered at by most of my teachers. I began to feel like a person of value.

When I left junior high for high school I did have some serious gaps in my study skills and some STEM content areas which I had to remedy. I was often snidely asked that since my test scores were so high why couldn't I already do the things they had yet to teach me. Combine that with the stress of transitioning to high school my Freshman and Sophomore year were pretty terrible. I was knowledgeable but unwise and acted out a lot. Failing classes when I didn't know how to ask for help 'because I was so smart' I figured I was born stupid in those areas and might as well get kicked out of class rather than display my stupidity.

It took two wise and compassionate teachers who were themselves exceptional people to see what was happening within me and help me to see that I had value and helped me to choose a better path.

As a teacher I see zero training on what giftedness is. I've been an AL teacher and AP coordinator for over a decade in this district and there have been zero trainings on the basics of giftedness. I see teachers who have zero training and are not part of the gifted community decrying the program and the students publicly. The two are not the same and yes the program, which the district controls, is woefully in need of updating. Yet the students still need the services.

A gifted cohort IS an affinity group. It is THE most effective service for students diagnosed with giftedness.

A gifted cohort IS the best social emotional learning environment for these asynchronous children.

But since SPS is relying on demagoguery rather than research based best practice they are blaming the children for their own needs rather than owning up to being directly hostile, encouraging staff ignorance through a lack of training, removing what few qualifications a teacher needed in order to teach the program, and now saying that since they don't like how they've run it they are now going to fix it by killing the hopes and dreams of these children?

SPS needs to read the RCW on this as I think they are breaking the law. When classes are blended, and I see this on a daily basis, advanced learning because an institutionalized option rather than a basic education. That does violate the RCW which states that Gifted education is both basic education and does not constitute an entitlement.

I hope staff are counting on an uptick in mental health issues or a few new AL schools as competition. It's what 5,000 students are HCC/AL identified? How much funding loss is that? Will equity programs be able to be funded once an exodus of cheap to educate students leave? Or is the point to do move HCC students back to attendance schools in order to bolster test scores again?

If it isn't based on best practice and peer reviewed research, which these proposals are not, then they are based on bias and an unconcealed hostility to thousands of children and families.

Mr. Theo Moriarty
Anonymous said…
SPS does not know family income beyond knowing which families qualify for FRL. There are many families who are solidly middle class or just over the threshold for FRL, but, to my knowledge, this can't be quantified as the numbers are not known by SPS.

WAC related to local norms:

WAC 392-170-055
Assessment process for selection as highly capable student.

(b) Highly capable selection decisions must be based on consideration of criteria benchmarked on local norms, but local norms may not be used as a more restrictive criteria than national norms;

Schools can't just identify the top 5%ile at their individual schools if such a plan would EXCLUDE students who would place in the top 5%ile on national norms. They can use local norms to overidentify, but not underidentify.

long timer
Anonymous said…
I do not mind having my words shared on this blog; I am not ashamed of what I wrote, and if I wanted it to be private it wouldn't have been put on a huge Facebook group. I am grateful that Melissa attributed them correctly so as not to plagiarize my writing.

I believe the Amin of the Facebook group will handle that situation as she sees fit.

-- Megan Hazen
Anonymous said…
People should be up in arms about the lying, misleading presentation in the slide deck. It is an outright and malicious lie that advanced learning was brought to SPS to cater to white families. Then again, Juneau is cutting history at RBHS, so I guess we see how much history and fact matters to her.

The deck also makes it clear this is a broad-based attack on any and all form of differential learning, with SpEd and option schools also being targeted. They want you all to think it's just about HCC because it's an easier target, when in reality it's everyone.

This is being pushed by a bunch of privileged white parents who systematically silence voices of color from the discussion. The folks pushing this has been silent as the night about UNEA and Licton Springs K-8. They are out for revenge and to settle scores with perceived enemies. This has nothing to do with kids and we will resist this as long as we are able to.

No Way
Thank you for those insights, Mr. Moriarty. Please do let the Board know them as, of late, they seem very interested in thoughts from teachers. Both Director Hersey and DeWolf and Geary have indicated this.

Megan, thank you. Just to note, I do not every plagiarize anyone's words. That would be theft. Not sure if you meant that I might compressed them or take them out of context.
Yes, the admins at that page have blocked me. That's unfortunate because it occasionally has a good discussion (as in this case) but lately, they have allowed much name-calling and hostility.

No Way, your 3rd paragraph makes little sense to me. How do you link Licton Springs K-8 to the Advanced Learning program?
Another Parent said…
Stanford provides a rich online reporting tool (SEDA) that measures test scores and learning rates by race and income status for districts across the U.S. including SPS. The site authors argue “learning rates” are a better measure of “absolute test scores”. Here is what Stanford reports for SPS:

* On Learning Rates, Blacks in SPS score +15% better than the national average while Whites only +13%.

* On Test Scores, Blacks in SPS Score -1.51 Grade Levels Below the U.S. Average and whites +2.37 Grade Levels Above.

How is it possible that black students in SPS are -1.51 Grade Levels below national norms but be learning 15% a year more than national norms? How is it that according to Stanford, Blacks learn 15% more than the national average and whites only 13% in SPS, but whites still score better on standardized tests?

It’s because black students enter SPS significantly under-prepared. According to OSPI Kindergarten Readiness, 70.9% of whites enter kindergarten ready in all six areas of development, compared to 41.5% for blacks. On the cognitive measure, 61.% of blacks are “ready” for kindergarten vs 84.9% for whites.

This all comes back to “Advanced Learning”, “Walk to Math”, “Honors”, “Dumbed down Science”, and “HCC” because the only realistic way (think $) for the district to “catch” black students up is to “slow” white students down. If white students come into kindergarten significantly ahead, and the district provides “differentiation” through advanced learning, black students can’t catch up.

I believe that SPS Advanced Learning has taken real steps to try to increase black participation. The CogAT Non Verbal Test can now be substituted for the CogAT Language Test, appeals for low income students are free, and the district provides a “screener” so everyone is tested. Its safe to assume every time Advanced Learning finds a black student that scores well on the CogAT screener (AL gets lists by race), they follow up, making teacher referrals irrelevant. The reason blacks don’t score in is not because of “cultural bias” in the math test, it’s because on average they are under-prepared when they enter kindergarten and it’s hard enough to “catch up” let alone “get ahead”.

Local norms are a nice idea, until you realize that there are whites and Asians in many of the relevant schools, and that local norms are not likely to help blacks.

The only realistic solution to eliminate the achievement gap is to eliminate Advanced Learning, Spectrum, ALO, HCC, Honors, Walk to Math, to “Dumb Down Science”, to “Hack Out Math Chapters”, and to use MTSS in the classroom to target black students who enter SPS under-prepared. This is exactly what the district is doing.
Anonymous said…
Cascadia and RESMS are HC pathway schools. They share the campus with LSK8. The campus was originally designed for 1 ES and 1 MS, and LSK8 was incorporated later. Space conflicts were pretty foreseeable.

poor planning?
Anonymous said…
Megan didn't say you plagiarized. She thanked you for not stealing her words and using them out of context and not attributing them to her.

No way is saying in my opinion that the people claiming racism to get rid of the "segregated"
HCC program... Are silent on the truly racially charged issues at Lincton springs.

Disgust whisperer
Anonymous said…
@ Theo Moriarty, yes, thank you so much.
Anonymous said…
Hey enough,

You don't know your history. IPP evolved into APP which evolved into HCC. Yeah it used to be a lot more challenging. Duh that is what we've been saying all along. So what? There are a percentage of kids who are intellectually ready to enter college instead of high school. Seattle Public schools used to recognize that. They used to have a program to get kids prepared for that. And they didn't do it because kids didn't need to go to high school. they needed the challenge to keep them engaged. And I have to agree with some of the prior posters who say It is by design. There are two ways to shorten a gap and neither is to push higher achievers further.

Why does staff choose to use racially charged words. Because Juneau likes it.

Why does staff use false history. Because Juneau likes it.

Why was Washington middle School allowed to simmer in hate for the whole year and then the perpetrator of that hate was placed at licton springs. Because Juneau likes it.

Why did staff silence the third ALTF in 5 years. Because Juneau likes it.

MW you were on the first task force not the 2014 TF. But just a historical footnote as all were ignored.

I am saddened to say Seattle Public schools is dropping the roof. Because Juneau likes it.

Oh and that whole TAF thing. Yeah nothing is here. We're just talking. No board approval. No consideration to what that means for the entire South Central and East area. If I were DeWolf and Hersey I would be asking a ton of questions. Are they?


I am amused to see that somehow there's a lot of concern about this particular post and the quotes I used.

Folks, unless the page's guidelines say otherwise, it's a public square. (For example, the Seattle Schools Special Education page wisely notes that no one is to use quotes from the page as their posts/comments may be of a sensitive and/or personal nature. I have only ever commented or reprinted events/announcements.)

Further, the Facebook SPS Community Discussion page has had their comment policy "under review" for at least a month. So who knows what is allowed or not allowed?

Lastly, Ms. van Gelder, who is an adm, asked me to take down comments about her and her family (I had missed a couple). I did so promptly on her request.

I did tell her:

"I find it interesting that you don't want your background or family discussed but are perfectly okay at your Facebook page to have people personally attack me. It would be okay if it was just attacking my public work but the comments made went beyond that
in several posts over the last year or so.

So I have to help you protect your private life but mine is open season? There's a word for that kind of behavior."
TechyMom said…
Ugh. 3 years to go.
Anonymous said…
Agreed with Anon above. Like always well said Theo!

Anonymous said…
There are several ways to use local norms, which can include measuring FRL and/or ELL students against national or local norms for their subcategories--all legal, by the way.

The non-verbal tests have not proven to increase underrepresentation in underserved populations.

Anonymous said…
@Raceless who said "15% OF HCC STUDENTS HAVE NO RACE!!!
The percentages in the chart on page 5 don't add up to 100%. Which is weird given how the whole AL part of the document is focused on race rather than academic need.

Yes and the new demographic form is just as bad. It specifies ethnicity from 7 regions for "Black" Americans.They broke down every other racial group but "white" and "Asian". "Asian" can be a multitude of diverse people with diverse backgrounds, no different than Black people. "White" is also not a region, country, or unified ethnicity. European American is not even accurate. Historically "white" has been an elusive ever evolving term and only those specifically of Christian Northern European Anglo-Saxon heritage being clearly considered "white". This continues even today with Jews being targeted as "other" by white nationalists. What the heck? White and Asian are just as diverse!

Makes no sense
Anonymous said…
So, you're posting quotes from a forum that has blocked you?

Also, it really is not kosher to publicly post from a Facebook site, which is why people need to join.

Side show

Anonymous said…
Looks like everyone who talks to Director Harris or testifies at board meetings will need to get a pair of these. Or maybe we can get just one pair and everyone can "pass the shoes" to the next speaker at each transition?

Director Harris should really be embarrassed and ashamed for using such language.

Got Hysteria?
Anonymous said…
@Another Parent, except that's not a realistic solution. You said:

The only realistic solution to eliminate the achievement gap is to eliminate Advanced Learning, Spectrum, ALO, HCC, Honors, Walk to Math, to “Dumb Down Science”, to “Hack Out Math Chapters”, and to use MTSS in the classroom to target black students who enter SPS under-prepared. This is exactly what the district is doing.

Eliminating any potentially advance services for those who need/want them will only serve to drive many families away,* and while the end result may be that IN SPS the achievement gap decreases, the ACTUAL achievement gap in our community won't be any different than it is not. That's a short-sided and optics-oriented "solution" that obscures reality. [* This is not a threat of white flight. It's a statement of the reality that, if kids don't have access to any advanced courses, families of students who are above average in their achievement--or even families of those performing AT grade level--will look elsewhere for services, since services here will be geared toward those working 1.5 years below grade level.]

A more realistic solution would be to provide intensive services to those working below grade level, getting them up to grade level within a few years. With focus and commitment, I'm sure it could be done. Raise the floor, don't lower the ceiling.

all types
Anonymous said…
You've got hysteria about Harris. One word and we have hysteria about hysteria. Context matters. Even in the short portion you posted it sounds like staff and Juneau are making the claims that people are being hysterical.

And we are. Hysterical about all the b******* that staff and Juneau are perpetuating.

Grown upper
Side Show, no, I posted quotes from a group I was a member of and then they blocked me. I have done this before with no one complaining. I'm not sure why now.

Got Hysteria, did you read the comment made about that comment? Harris said STAFF had used it and she was gingerly repeating. Your ire should be directed at the Superintendent, not Harris.

Please Readers, do read for content.
Anonymous said…
My kids did walk to math in elementary school. It really worked for the kids, they did not have to be AL students, btw, just able to get the concepts faster which meant that those classes tended to move faster. Unfortunately, some parents did not appreciate that their kid was not in the "advance" math class and would complain about it. I volunteered a lot, and as teachers might tell you, not all kids get all concepts at the same time. It is really a disservice to push a kid to do more advanced math when not ready. Want to help those "furthest from educational justice"? Sign up and volunteer to help a teacher in the classroom and give those who need help one on one help. It is also a disservice to keep students that have mastered concepts in a class that is moving slowly. They tune out or act out.
Getting back to the slides, at least now SPS is openly admitting that Running Start is part of their strategy.
Very soon may family will "graduate" out of SPS. We encountered many, many, many amazing teachers. We thank them sincerely. I just hope the mess headed by Juneau won't completely derail the work they do.
Anonymous said…
As the parent of an SPS high schooler, I used to tell parents of young kids entering school that it was possible to get a good education in SPS, despite the perennially incompetent leadership. Not any more. SPS leadership has moved from being incompetent to being openly hostile to academic excellence. A bizarre interpretation of "social justice" has become our educators' primary goal instead of education.

My advice to parents of young kids is to either shell out the big bucks for private schools if you want to stay in Seattle or move to the suburbs.

My kid is almost to the finish line in SPS and I can't wait. Unfortunately, the path they took through school is being dismantled behind them.

So Sad
Anonymous said…
@ Enough, Yes, there are multiple ways to use local norms.

SPS could say, for example, that the top-scoring 2% of whites and Asians from each school are deemed eligible, as are any other whites/Asians who score in the top 2% of whites/Asians on nationally normed tests (since local norms, in this case combined race- and school-based, can't be more restrictive than national norms). At some schools, this may result in a much larger percentage of students qualifying. In fact, most of those who qualify now would also qualify under those new criteria, right?

SPS could then also stipulate, for example, that the top 2% in each of the other racial categories, based on local/school norms, are also eligible. (The national norms requirement probably wouldn't kick in for these groups, as that's the whole reason we have disparities.) You'd end up with a higher number of POC (excluding Asian students who don't seem to count as POC) qualifying and thus being counted, so things would look better on paper. Whether or not those newly qualified students would get any actual HC services would be a whole other ball game, and I suspect they would not. They's mostly be in schools where the average POC student was scoring below grade level, so they'd be lucky to get at-grade-level instruction. Meanwhile, the large (and similar to now) subset of HC students identified at higher achieving schools would likely get instruction at or above grade level, since there would be more students working at that level.

Another example: the district could use FRL- and ELL-based norms. Say the top-scoring 2% of FRL students and the top 2% or ELL students and the top 2% of everyone else all qualify as HC. That will mean a big increase in FRL and ELL students in HC, and not much change in the number of other HC students (which will again be similar to now). What happens programming-wise? Will those FRL students and ELL students at a high achieving school be put in advanced classes, even if they are working below grade level and aren't really prepared for them, or will there suddenly be a lot of extra resources available to provide the intensive support they need to succeed in advanced coursework? What about those newly identified FRL and ELL students at a lower-achieving school? Will similarly advanced classes be available, even if they aren't now?

How does the use of local norms (however determined), in the absence of major service overhauls, help or change anything, other than numbers on paper???

MTSS is not the answer. As stated near the beginning of the district's own slide deck, there is already serious variability in schools' ability to provide differentiated services. Asking even more of teachers is not going to change that.

all types
Anonymous said…
With all due respect, Melissa, it is not clear from the quote whether Juneau or Harris or some other person initially used that word.

Harris: "I've been reminded by a number of senior staff, and in fact, the superintendent as well, that some of the HYSTERIA that we have been hearing about and I use that word advisedly...HYSTERIA or that this will be a multi year process." Harris goes on to talk about differentiated teaching and professional development."

That could mean Juneau or senior staff called it hysteria, OR that they said there was intense pushback and parents were really upset or freaking out or whatever, and that Harris characterized it as hysteria. Harris also said SHE used that word advisedly, not that she was repeating that word advisedly. But even if it was Juneau or senior staff who used that term, that's still no reason for Harris to repeat it--in that case she should have pushed back on Juneau/staff, and, if she really felt the need to use the term, should have at the very least clarified that she was hearing from Juneau/staff that there was "hysteria" over this, which begged the need to understand more about how much concern was truly being expressed from parents, what their main concerns were, and what could be done to ally them.

But sure, yeah--wear the shoes for the Juneau, too. Maybe figure out her shoe size and send her a pair.

Got Hysteria?
Anonymous said…
Apparently teachers will suddenly be able to identify and differentiate for the increased range of abilities within a classroom, all without additional resources (despite their examples suggesting that it doesn't reliably happen now...).

like magic
Got Hysteria, so I have to go and watch the footage, not you? The link is out there; you go watch it. Or go ask her at her next community meeting. But to slam her seems unfair.
Anonymous said…
@ Mr Moriarity,
Thank you for your story. You were one of my son's favorite teachers at HIMS and I think I have a bit more insight now into why.

What sticks for me is what you closed with: If it isn't based on best practice and peer reviewed research, which these proposals are not, then they are based on bias and an unconcealed hostility to thousands of children and families.


-long road
Anonymous said…
@ Melissa, I watched it--and I stand by my earlier comment. It is unclear whether "hysteria" was Harris' interpretation of what she was hearing from Juneau and her minions, or whether she was simply re-using their term for the pushback. In either case, it was a word that should not have been used. Harris should have checked herself, and possibly her staff. That's not a "slam," nor is it "unfair." I understand that you respect Harris and/or are friends with her, but this does not mean you need to turn a blind eye to bad decisions (and I do think you have been willing to call her out on some things in the past).

Got Hysteria?
Anonymous said…
What, exactly, will be the advancement students could access under the neighborhood services plan? Will there be multiple guaranteed pathways for math/science starting in MS, or will it vary year by year based on student numbers? Schools are clearly moving to no acceleration in LA/SS, and the Amplify adoption has effectively reduced both content coverage and depth in science.

what's left?
Anonymous said…
There seems to be this idea that there are "highly capable" and/or gifted students--who represent a small percentage of the SPS population--and then everyone else. There seems to be this idea that if you serve the former, small group, the latter, much larger group will suffer. Why? How does serving one small group with different needs detract from a school's ability to serve the bulk of the population well? The vast majority of students are NOT HCC--why can't SPS serve them well? The HCC controversy seems to be an effort to distract everyone from the fact that SPS is having trouble effectively serving the large number of "typical" or students.

There are studies that do look at the impact of tracking low-performing students into separate tracks from their more typically-performing peers, and yes, the outcomes are better when they are placed in more inclusive settings. The outcomes for those more typical peers don't suffer, either. However, none of that research looks at highly capable or intellectually gifted students--not the impact of putting below-grade-level students with significantly above grade level students on those below grade level students, nor the impact of that arrangement on the above grade level students, etc. The research is based on typical students. Why are we conflating research on typical students with approaches to dealing with atypical (HC) students?

Further, if the district is really so concerned with racial disparities, why aren't they looking at school assignment patterns--which affect everyone--instead of the small portion of students in HCC? HCC is NOT they cause of racial disparities in SPS, and dismantling HCC will not undo the disparities that exist across schools throughout the district. Returning HC students to their mostly white/Asian, low-FRL, low-ELL schools for MTSS services is not going to make to make racial disparities in the level of instruction disappear, or even shrink.

This is nuts. As Theo suggested, it's all emotion-driven and does not seem to be supported by any critical thinking.

all types
Another Parent said…
Since our family has been in Seattle Public Schools:

* Walk to Math was eliminated in our neighborhood school (kids that were ahead had to redo a year of math)

* Spectrum was eliminated in our Service Area Elementary School

* Advanced Language Arts was eliminated in our middle school for “Spectrum” qualified students

* Advanced Language Arts was eliminated in our middle school for “HCC” qualified students

* HCC Elementary Reading standards were changed from two years advanced to one year advanced and new curriculum was purchased that was 1 year ahead. Our child received the same grades on the same school level report card to years in a row.

* Regular Math Homework was prohibited school-wide in our elementary school

* Regular Writing Homework was prohibited school-wide in our elementary school

* The Wednesday school day was cut short

* Separate High School Honors English was eliminated

* A new “Science for Dummies” curriculum was adopted district wide

* Our son spent 2 weeks at the end of the school year watching movies in math class because the planed materials had been completed.

* I was twice been told, once by a senior district administrator, and once by a principal, that providing advanced learning, such as walk to math, added logistical complexity.

No one should kid themselves. MTSS is not about ensuring advanced learners are challenged. Rather, it is about (1) helping struggling students catch up; (2) keeping advanced learners from staying ahead, and (3) making things easier for district administration.
Anonymous said…
@all types, the local norm scenario you described with breaking out test takers by racial category sounds ...illegal. Even under the new affirmative action law that’s about to be repealed by the voters.

Lawyer Up

Got Hysteria, it would have been helpful for you to say you watched the footage. Okay, you are not being unfair.

Another Parent, PLEASE send that information to the Board. They need to see it in writing.

Also, if you do favor what is happening, by all means elect Chandra Hampson and/or Liza Rankin. If not, elect Rebeca Muniz and Eric Blumhagen.
Names Removed said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
Well duh All Types. Yes of course, if the “highly qualified “ students were actually just a small percentage of students, then it would actually be relatively inconsequential having a tracking system. That would be the point in a local norming. But at our affluent schools, we see the tracks taking up more than a third of the students. This simply means a highly disabled and socially disadvantaged track which contains ALL of the most difficult and expensive students, along nearly all black and Hispanic students, all the disabled students and all of the ELL students. One hopeless and forgotten track, and one good track sparkling with privileges. (see McClure of old, Licton Springs now) Yes, it’s easy to see why HCC fight tooth and nail to keep their privileges. And yes indeed. The blame for that failing track falls squarely on those yammering parents who demand and cajole at every turn, no matter the cost to anyone else. And that cost is considerable, because isolation is a real problem. That’s on you.

No Thanks

Anonymous said…
@ Another Parent
We probably know each other because in our 12 years at SPS, we've seen almost this exact list.
I'm a really tired parent. I'm tired of HCC being the program of convenience by the district (capacity!) and then there's a whole other element of white guilt folks who have kids in HCC but now that their kid is out, well, it's racist (ALTF). And then, there's another group of POC who say that nobody should speak for them but also that HCC is racist. But when actual live POC speak about the program and how it was a lifesaver for their kid, those same guilt whites and POCs tell the rest of us that we should not listen to THOSE edge cases. We should only listen to the POC who fit the narrative that HCC is racist and segregationalist.

A few reminders:
-the AL program was developed by SPS. At this point I don't care about it's provenance. From 1977 or whenever. It's no longer relevant. Every other school district that I can think of recognizes that there are kids who work and learn at different levels. There are kids who are advanced, there are kids who are behind and they all need to be given their version of basic education. Don't tell kids who are to hurry up-so why is it of to tell advanced kids to wait?
-most of the reasonable voices within AL have been advocating for years, yes years, that the identification process is flawed. And what does SPS do? Double down on flawed. And also, use tests like the SBAC as a gate for apparently rationed services i.e. Middle School Math.
-SPS has lied along the way. They have lied about services, they have lied about identification, they have lied about putting an actual curriculum in place for AL.
All of you folks who are up in arms about how awful it is to have bright, gifted kids in SPS have been duped by none other than SPS who will ultimately lie about everything they promise to implement. Like capacity issues, this will be a self fulfilling prophesy in that those who can, will leave. And viola, the AA Male gap issue--will have been solved. Because you know, those AL kids are taking resources from everyone else, right?

That's the way that SPS has rolled.
-long road
Anonymous said…
It is extremely important to note that the leaders of the war on option schools and SpEd (using HCC as a cover) are people with a staggering amount of economic privilege. They will always be able to afford to get their kids the education they need. They can provide their kids with resources and opportunities that make the classroom education less important. Their kids don't need a high quality education in order to get ahead. So they feel no concern or downside to attacking the programs that provide differentiated instruction to children in our district. They are reckless, often driven by personal resentment or a desire for revenge, and have no hesitation using kids as weapons. We have to fight back if we are going to prevent the destruction of public education in SPS.

Testimony said…
Harris has repeatedly expressed support for programs...."They save lives." She uses her bully pulpit to express concern that the district hasn't provided an HFA report. Yet, she appears ready to close down a successful program and lead the district down the standardized education path.

Now, Harris appears to have become a Go Along To Get Along Rubber Stamper.

Parents need to continue organizing and testifying at board meetings. Sadly, we now know that the superintendent, senior staff and some board members think of these individuals as hysterics.

The district, IMO, knows that they must pit communities against each other do dismantle advanced learning. Instead of providing more opportunities...they seek to destroy communities.

Anonymous said…
@ No Thanks,

If there are affluent schools at which about 1/3 of students are HC-eligible, that's not likely to change under the new "plan." Local norms can't be more restrictive than national norms, so if you have such a high-testing population you'll still have a large percentage HC-eligible.

Your two types of students--the "highly disabled and socially disadvantaged track which contains ALL of the most difficult and expensive students, along [with] nearly all black and Hispanic students, all the disabled students and all of the ELL students" and the "good track sparkling with privileges" will still be there, and they'll still need differentiated instruction. Your two "tracks" of students will get different services, but in the same classroom--so it's likely neither group will be well-served. How is that a win?

all types

Give me a break. The reason most students are performing at or below grade level is not because my student happens to have an IQ at the 99th+ percentile. If anything, the cheaper services my student receives should make it easier to provide better services to those who need more. As for isolation, huh? Was it not isolation when my advanced student was sent out in the hallway to work independently since the rest of the class needed more attention? Was it not isolation when my student was told not to raise a hand to answer questions, because it made the other students feel bad? Was it not isolation when "peers" told my student to not bother talking, because my student's interests were too far beyond what the other students could comprehend? Even if 1/3 of the students in a school are HC, doesn't that leave 2/3 not?

@ Lawyer up, I know that it. It was an example of how one could theoretically use local norms, and what the impacts would be. It wasn't a recommendation, and I believe I stated earlier in this thread or in another that it would probably be illegal. The point was to illustrate the potential impacts and great challenges of using local norms. The devil is in the details, as they say.
"The district, IMO, knows that they must pit communities against each other do dismantle advanced learning."

Well, that's been their MO on many issues. They love the in-fighting because it takes the spotlight where it very squarely belongs - JSCEE.

No anonymous comments - person who just wrote one, come back and fix that or it will be deleted.
Anonymous said…
Wow. HCC kids are roughly 1/10 of the school population and that is isolating kids. Nice fake news. Imagine being one to three kids in a classroom who already know what the teacher is trying to teach and have known it since kindergarten. That my friend is isolation. Now imagine that person is black or poor and not like the other HC kid(s). That is isolation.


Anonymous said…
All. Types. Get a clue. The district is in no way obligated to deliver HCC services with tracking and isolation. It doesn’t have to ensure that your particular kid is perfectly engaged 100%. Shouldn’t the super gifted develop the same level of independence and curiosity satisfaction as other kids? Local norms which tracked say, 2% at each school, and differentiated with inclusive education for the rest in those “everybody is gifted, 2e, or a private-tester-inner” schools (who may or may not make national norms). The district doesn’t have to use segregation.

No Thanks
Ineffective Differentiation said…
The truth of the fact is that some middle school students are performing at a second grade level. Good luck trying to differentiate students that are 4 years behind grade level and students that are 2 years ahead.
Sad said…
Agreeing with another parent.

The dismantling of so many programs and offerings while our taxes have gone up is discouraging.

If you are just starting out, if I’d urge you to find another district.

So sad.
Anonymous said…
There is no way to solve generations of racism and discrimination that result in kids showing up to school wildly different in terms of readiness to learn by adjusting what we do when they arrive at the door to Kindergarten. That's like trying to cure cancer with a toothbrush. We need a system-wide solution to this deeply-ingrained problem that has roots going back centuries.

The fact that we can pat ourselves on the back by pretending we are solving it by dissolving AL or using "racial equity lenses" is probably damaging. We can say, "Hey, we are solving this", when we are in no way closing the opportunity gap or addressing the sins of our past.

It's false comfort.

Stop expecting schools to solve this society-wide problem. You might as well argue how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Wasting time and energy. We need to come to terms with our past and re-examine everything. Keeping bright kids from learning is not the solution to anything, and just has people at each others' throats. Go back. Start over.


City Living said…
The HCC racial breakdown is pretty similar to the breakdown for residents of Seattle.

Race/ethnicity [% of Seattle population in 2016] [% in HCC in 2018)
Black/African American 7.0% 1.6%
White/Caucasian 65.7% 67%
Hispanic/Latinx 6.6% 4.5%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0.4% 0%
Asian 14.1% 12%
Two or More Races 5.6% 14%

What if these numbers really tell us that many Seattle families have low confidence in SPS and don't send their children to school there if they can avoid it. But that HCC is the exception to this. If families can send their students to school there, they do.
Anonymous said…
HCC breakdown is not similar to the district demographics.

Has anyone in this thread mentioned yet the extremely poor showing of SPS in the NMSF numbers?

TruthBe Told
Anonymous said…
The percentage of private school attendees in Seattle has remained steady for several decades.

Anonymous said…
Really, we're back to NMSF numbers?! It's not the be all and end all (nor would I consider the numbers "extremely poor"), but TBT, did you notice most NMSF in SPS are attending GHS and IHS - pathways for HC students? It's not coincidence. Also not coincidence that several Lakeside NMSF were formerly part of APP/HCC. Once again, NMSF are a fraction of a fraction, but way to go, kids - you managed to excel in spite of the best attempts of SPS to hold you back.

almost out
So this discussion seems to be at an end but I'm certain it will come back again.

To note, I will not be attending the Work Sessions tomorrow. If someone does and would like to write up their notes, I will be happy to publish them.
Anonymous said…
Considering the highly capable numbers in SPS, despite the few that went to Lakeside, the NMSF numbers are pathetic.

The scores are relevant to this discussion since it's about impending actions in SPS regarding HC.

Many of the current students has a self-contained elementary education and most tracked middle school.

There should have been more SPS students given the special programming.

TruthBe Told
Anonymous said…
Well as was pointed out above and in my own experience- what was once a solution to highly gifted kids and included early entry into college - now is mostly vaporwear.

So you shouldn't expect excellence at the level of LS. Dude their classrooms has a third of the students. But yours is always a sophist argument.

The fact is Seattle Michael Tolley and Kari Hanson have won. They have pulled the ceiling down year after year. Band from taking AP in 9th grade. Honors for none. Butler-Ginouf at WMS. Limiting IBx enrollment and not supporting those seniors. Soon we are going to be talking about how great the opportunity gap has shrunk from 6 years to 4. Yeah.

No outreach into the central and SE. None. Why?

And they had three taskforces and they haven't listened to a single meaningful recommendation. Yeah they changed the name. They had to because they had a plan to stop accelerating the kids... So would be false to have that in the name.

There is no MS HCS right now at WMS. None.

Oh and any hope the Juneau would get the subtleties of this are gone by the wayside. IMHO Juneau has been the worse when it comes to HC education in the 15 years I have been watching the district. Completely adviserial. Doesn't respond to emails. Total waste of an opportunity.

This presentation sent over with segregation also gets in my craw. As if they are segregated by race and as Brian Terry says district staff have developed a white supremacist program. They are cohorted to teach them faster and deeper. Duh. Can every race go faster and deeper sure. Is that what we see across the nation? Not really. But the plan was never to separate by race it was to separate by ability and the differences of those two plans are profound. So why does staff feel they have to lie about the history and conflate programs. Because they can't win on the facts.


Anonymous said…
@No Thanks, Where to start???

1. I never said the district is "obligated to deliver HCC services with tracking and isolation." Either you're reading something bizarre into my words, or this is more spin.

2. I also never said the district needs "to ensure that your particular kid is perfectly engaged 100%." More spin.

3. I have no idea what you're trying to say with the "shouldn’t the super gifted develop the same level of independence and curiosity satisfaction as other kids?" question. In my experience, many/most of the "super gifted" (?) already have a level of curiosity that far exceeds many of their typical peers (by nature), and many have also learned a lot of academic independence (by necessity). Social/emotional independence may be another story (often part of that asynchronous development)--hence the value of a developmental cohort.

4. Local norms set at 2% at each school wouldn't cut it, because local norms can't be more restrictive than national norms. If you're concerned that 1/3 of students at some schools qualify based on current HC eligibility criteria--which include being in top 2% on nationally normed CogAT--setting the cut-off at 2% would result in about the same number of qualifiers as we now have at such schools. The only thing that would change is that at a school with few HC-eligible students, there would finally be more. They likely wouldn't be working at the same level, and they might not get any actual services, but they would be counted. Yay?

5. Your interpretation of the service delivery model makes no sense: "Local norms which tracked say, 2% at each school, and differentiated with inclusive education for the rest in those “everybody is gifted, 2e, or a private-tester-inner” schools (who may or may not make national norms). The district doesn’t have to use segregation."

What? So the top 2% at each school--plus anyone else in the nationally normed top 2%, who you excluded--will get differentiation, and everyone else will get nothing? Or will everyone else will get "inclusive education," not the differentiation they should? Will special ed students get differentiation? Will students working below grade level get differentiation? Will students working above grade level get differentiation? Isn't the MTSS model intended to provide everyone with some level of differentiation, either Level 1, 2, or 3 services, with teachers using assessments to determine who needs what, when?

What exactly do you think the top 2% will get? If they get some differently differentiated services (?) that are distinct from that inclusive education that you said the other 98% will get, how is that not some form of what you consider segregation? How it that different from some sort of school based tracking or a "walk to" approach? Or is the notion that the hypothetical 2% services will really also be lumped into that "inclusive services" for everyone else bucket, and we're looking at a one-size-fits-all approach?

The vague notion you have in your mind about how this will all work doesn't seem to reflect what's likely to happen. Or what's even feasible. (It's also not likely to change geographic segregation in this city, desegregate our schools, or reduce the achievement gap.)

all types

Anonymous said…
Frankly, HCC as the scapegoat for SPS's racial achievement disparities is complete BS. Most reasonable people know that if you were to disband HCC and return all those HC students to their neighborhood classroom, you'd primarily be returning White and Asian kids to their low-minority, low-FRL, low-ELL schools, making those even less diverse.

Such a move would also not make the achievement gap disappear--and might even widen it. You'd have more high-achieving students in the already well-off schools, potentially increasing the baseline level of instruction there a little higher, while instruction in more struggling schools would not change. Gap, meet Widening.

It almost sounds like what's going on is that those advocating for the changes are the ones who fall in that white/Asian, well-off, not-quite-HCC group, and they are worried that their kids, or their friends' kids, who don't make it into that 2% are feeling bad (or the parents do) and/or they are left behind with all those "other" kids that are so hard to educate. But really, I'm not seeing how this proposed plan changes anything for them.

all types
kellie said…
The basics of project management go like this.

* Plan to accomplish X
* By doing Y
* As measured by Z.

This presentation utterly fails that rudimentary lens.

* Plan to accomplish racial equity
* By a mysterious 6 year, undetermined plan to make identification the problem of the homeroom teacher
* As measured by ... (crickets)

What should be in this presentation is something more like this.

* Plan to increase AA participation in Advanced Learning
* By hiring gifted education specialists trained to identify gifted learners in historically underserved populations.
* As measured by our goal of 8% participation in AL by African American Students.

And then the real way, you can identify an actual committed plan

* Using this budget code and this funding source.

All we have in this entire presentation is one more unfunded mandate placed onto homeroom teachers.

Anonymous said…
@kellie. Yes...if the actual goal is really to increase AA participation in AL, as opposed to "decrease participation in AL by everyone else because surely those kids didn't earn 'it' and we don't like that their parents are vocal in wanting them to receive an accelerated or enhanced education consisted with their state right to a basic education and educating them properly only adds to the achievement gap so we can't have that!"

At it's heart, I don't think these changes are motivated by a desire to get more minorities participating in HC services. I think the true goal is try to deny services to White and Asian students to somehow stick it to their parents and "prove" that those kids aren't worthy for such services. There has been nothing in recent years to suggest that the district is interested in actually serving these students, and there has been plenty to suggest the district is fine with attacks on parents and even HC students themselves (e.g., APParthied stickers, comments about "hysterical parents," district presentations that re-write history and refer to HCC as a desire for racial segregation, and so on).

all types
Anonymous said…
Ugh. I meant "its heart," not "it's heart."

Anonymous said…
Sorry to burst your bubble, but you're wrong. People who work in schools day in and day out actually do get sick and tired of watching and participating in the perpetuation of injustice, which is what HC in SPS blatantly is.

Do you think you are so important that the system would plot against you and your children? Seriously? I hope you can develop some perspective.

"I think the true goal is try to deny services to White and Asian students to somehow stick it to their parents and "prove" that those kids aren't worthy for such services."

Anonymous said…
While I don't think there is a concerted effort to "deny services to White and Asian students to somehow stick it to their parents and "prove" that those kids aren't worthy for such services, " I do think there is a prevailing view in SPS that kids who are advanced will be "just fine" and that they don't need challenge and providing different is wrong. On the other side of the spectrum, we talk alot about kids who are behind and how they too, have different needs and thus they need something different.

So following your logic, can you actually tell me though, how is it an injustice to recognize and address that some kids are advanced and some kids are behind? Could you net it out for me as in how it's an injustice for other kids? Can you give me 1 or 2 examples?

I think you are probably an example of the prevailing view on the ground, and I hope you are able to keep your views to yourself rather than inflict them on the kids you are there to teach..all of them. The real issue seems to be that SPS does a poor job of teaching to both groups but the playbook is to get parents on board to be angry at the "other" because then, nobody is paying attention to what SPS is NOT doing for either group. Because reality-we pay taxes for all kids to be taught the basic education they deserve, and not at the expense of other groups/kids.

Oh, one last thing, Enough. Your statement: "Do you think you are so important that the system would plot against you and your children? Seriously? I hope you can develop some perspective."

I am in no way conflating HCC with SPeD, but maybe you should ask parents of SpeD kids how easy it is to get the attention of SPS, how easy to get services, how much of a battle it is, how much advocacy it takes...almost like there is a directive against serving these children well. Just some perspective food for thought...

-long road
Truth said…
Kelly offers a good plan. We need teachers that are trained to identify highly capable.

I do agree that some are fueled by hate. If X doesn't qualify for a particular service, all should be denied. Enough seems to fall into this category.
Anonymous said…
Gifted students should receive as much attention as any student and an equal opportunity to reach their potential.

However the cohort model SPS uses is flawed.

Mr. Moriarty talks about best practice, but neglects to address the thousands of single subject gifted students that are denied access to HC service.

Mr. Moriarty neglects to address the under-representation of the poor, ELL, 2E, and those groups who have suffered historical discrimination.

I remember when Spectrum self-contained was eliminated at our school and it was a big improvement.

The elimination of spectrum at our middle school was also a positive.

Segregating students is not healthy in all but extreme cases; I'm sorry Mr. Moriarty, you're beliefs are not shared by all gifted researchers.

I would like to know what experience Mr. Moriarty has teaching non-gifted students and/or blended classrooms as he puts himself out as something of an expert.

Anonymous said…

So you're saying SPS, and folks like you, actually don't want to see a decrease in the number of white and Asian students identified as HC? That you actually want to see more students identified as HC, by also including anyone who scores in the top 2% of their school at each of those currently underrepresented-in-HCC schools? Awesome.

I hope SPS will also provide teachers and administrators with the PD and curricula they need appropriately serve the even larger--and more academically disparate--cohort of HC students we'll see under the new plan.

all types

P.S. - Don't worry about me. I'm under no illusion that SPS cares about me or my children. I was only worried they were trying to limit/deny services to other children who legitimately need HC services, but since you're saying SPS actually wants a bigger ten, not a smaller one, I guess all is good!
Anonymous said…
@ JJ, Spectrum students and HC-eligible students are very different in their needs, abilities, learning styles, social-emotional needs, etc. You're conflating Spectrum and gifted.

And all those things you say Mr. Moriarty fails to address? The district has failed to address them for years, AND the new "plan" also fails to address them. The big difference is that it's not Mr. Moriarty's job to fix this mess. (For the record, Mr. Moriarty is one of the very few SPS teachers who actually understands the unique challenges of teaching gifted kids.)

all types
Anonymous said…
@ enough "People who work in schools day in and day out actually do get sick and tired of watching and participating in the perpetuation of injustice, which is what HC in SPS blatantly is."

Injustice??? That is a strong word - perhaps you can provide some some specific examples of this injustice before you start tossing that word out there.

As far as I can tell SPS uses pretty much the same criteria for eligibility to HCC as does Bellevue ,for example, and other school districts. Are they also unjust? Is it injustice in Bellevue that the equivalent program consists of predominantly Asian students and whites are the minority?

It is not any school district's fault that some students come to school with generational, racial, economic advantages or disadvantage, and different IQs (which may be independent of disadvantaged or advantaged background), different cultural expectations, and different early childhood experiences. Nor can school districts alone change this.

There always has and always will be students that are academically more advanced than their peers for whatever reason - whether it's an innately high IQ, a strong work ethic and desire to do well, demanding parents and extra tutoring, rich early child experiences, or a combination of these. Dismantling the HCC program will not make these kids disappear (well, apart from those who leave SPS for private schools or less-f*cked up neigboring districts).

Why are you guys so against identifying kids who are capable and willing to do work above grade level expectations for whatever reason, and providing them with appropriate above grade level instruction? Why does it matter to you if a class of 6th graders is doing Algebra instead of the 6th grade curriculum? Its still one class and one teacher regardless of whether the kids are 11-12 vs 15 year olds. It just smacks of jealousy - like you have the misguided idea that HCC is getting something better and want it taken away. It is only better to be doing work that is 2 grade levels ahead if this is the actually the appropriate level of instruction for that student, if they actually can do the work. Giving them that instruction is not taking anything away from students who are not able to work beyond grade level.

HCC is just a scapegoat. If you want to see injustice - well it will be injustice for all when HCC is dismantled. School boundaries will inevitably need to be redrawn (because how are all those JAMS HCC middle schoolers going to fit in Eckstein) and all the associated angst. Higher level class offerings will be increased to accommodate the greater numbers of no-longer-called-HCC-but-still-just-as-academically-advanced-students that are now at some neighborhood schools but nonexistent at others = too bad for the 'students formerly known as HCC' who live in these areas. Teachers will struggle to accommodate an even larger range of abilities in their overcrowded classes, and who believes they will miraculously be equipped with the PD and in-class assistance to actually do this well? So go ahead, give those uppity entitled HCC families the big middle finger if it makes you feel better. But don't delude yourself by thinking the resulting schooling SPS provides will be better or more just for anyone.

Injustice my *ss
Anonymous said…

A few comments:

"Mr. Moriarty talks about best practice, but neglects to address the thousands of single subject gifted students that are denied access to HC service."

Response-The larger AL community has asked SPS to address this for years. SPS denied it. Maybe direct your focus there.

"Mr. Moriarty neglects to address the under-representation of the poor, ELL, 2E, and those groups who have suffered historical discrimination."

Response: Last I checked, SPS doesn't have family incomes (but certainly FRL can be ascertained) however again, the larger community has asked for this to be address but this has also been denied by SPS. Maybe address your focus there. Interestingly, private testing/appeals help several of these groups but then many people think this is somehow gaming the system.

"I remember when Spectrum self-contained was eliminated at our school and it was a big improvement."

Response: For whom exactly was it a big improvement and how? Was it good for the kids who were placed in Spectrum because they needed something different and then they left, or worse, couldn't leave? Or was it good for others who thought that HCC kids were getting something special, shiny and new (actually they were getting some acceleration and a long commute but perhaps also some empathy with their immediate peers based on typical asynchronous dev issues) and since they didn't get it, nobody should? I find the attitudes of the parents drives the attitudes of the kids. Was it the kids or was it the parents? Just my observation after 12+ years in public school. One local elem stopped Walk to Math made some kids feel bad. That was straight from both a parent and a teacher. So the kids who "walked" were sacrificed for the kids who felt bad. How about the adults drive the conversation that people are different with different needs instead of leading with division.

"The elimination of spectrum at our middle school was also a positive."

Response: Not even relevant since there was no segregation of Spectrum in MS in any recent years AND CERTAINLY NOT NOW EVEN WITH HCC. We are now dickering over HCC which will be dead soon if all goes according to SPS plan, not Spectrum which has been dead.

"Segregating students is not healthy in all but extreme cases; I'm sorry Mr. Moriarty, you're beliefs are not shared by all gifted researchers."

Response: Segregating is a loaded word that pretty much clues me in on your perspective. You know it. We all know it. And kids these days are hardly segregated. Esp in MS when there are many classes with blended age groups and capabilities. Oh and there are many many gifted researchers that do align with Mr M's beliefs. Shall we cherry pick?

"I would like to know what experience Mr. Moriarty has teaching non-gifted students and/or blended classrooms as he puts himself out as something of an expert."

Response: Mr M has been for years a very thoughtful on the ground expert with both his own lived experiences (we are really into that too when it fits the narrative) as well as his additional training and by the way he certainly does not need me to defend him. Have you been in a MS in the last any years? The experience overall is blended so please stop with the segregation. But do expect that more and more folks who have the means will leave from private schools or districts that recognize that kids have different needs and one does not need to be sacrificed for another.

-long road

Anonymous said…
@Injustice my *ass

You are spot on and also lets not forget this: nothing that the district is actually proposing will decrease the gap. But eliminating AL makes them feel they are doing something and of course it seems a popular but not data driven course of action. Its a middle finger for sure. Yeah it will do something-widen the gap and remove even more funding from the system to help it. Remember this is a 1B business right now-and we can't get it right by our underserved or lower performing kids?
-long road
Anonymous said…
As a district longtimer, it's interesting to see how outdated the majority of posters on this blog have become.

As I predicted a few years back when I was but a voice in the weeds, new people have moved to town and are appalled by policies and practices that were business as usual in SPS for too long--including the demographics in HC.

Look at the Democratic Party. The gig is up, folks.

Had you admitted just a pinch to your privilege when you had the chance, you wouldn't be dealing with such a sea change here.

Read some history, get out of your bubble. You can't fake it 'til you make it on the NMSF list.


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