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Friday, September 13, 2019

Friday Open Thread

Yikes, it's Friday the 13th.

Sad news that some schools in Kent SD and SPS have lost some free breakfast coverageDetails from KNKX:

Five schools in Kent that were offering free meals to all students will no longer have the program this school year. Separately, in Seattle, United Way of King County has ended a grant for a breakfast pilot program in nine schools.

Lauren McGowan, senior director of ending homelessness and poverty at United Way of King County, said the grant was intended to help the school district establish a Breakfast After the Bell pilot program, but that the program didn’t result in that many more students eating breakfast.

Seattle Public Schools spokesman Tim Robinson said the schools that were part of the pilot program were Aki Kurose, Beacon Hill, Concord, Dearborn Park, Lowell, Northgate, Olympic Hills, Sanislo and Wing Luke. Students from low-income households will continue to receive breakfast for free, Robinson said.
“We appreciate the partnership we have with United Way to help feed students,” he said. “While we will continue to offer breakfast, both before school and after the bell, we’re not equipped to move forward with some of the specifics United Way is seeking, like serving meals in classrooms.”
I am hearing that not every school has communicated the new dress code and even some teachers don't know about it.  Did you hear from your school about it?

South King County Discipline Coalition presenting: Training for families and students on Washington State's School Discipline Rules set by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instructions
Thursday, September 26, 2019 at 6 PM – 9 PM with a free dinner offered.
LOCATION: Salvation Army White Center Community Center, 9050 16th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 
Next weekend on the 21st, it's free museum day.  There are many museums in our region participating but remember, just one free ticket.


What's on your mind?

70 comments:

Anonymous said...

This article names of national merit semi-finalists in Seattle and across the state. Bellevue is doing a much better job it seems than Seattle high schools, despite all the talk about so called "privileged affluent" high schools in Seattle. In reality many Seattle kids are less affluent, less resourced and attend overcrowded high schools. Lots of middle class kids at Seattle public high schools, these are not "the affluent" as some like to say over and over.

https://patch.com/washington/bellevue/hundreds-washington-seniors-are-national-merit-semifinalists

PL

Melissa Westbrook said...

PL, I just ran a separate thread on this topic.

Is Bellevue doing a better job? It's hard to say because they are likely to have more upper income parents.

And, looking at the last names of many students there, it might lead someone to think that it might be many people who come over on visas to work at Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday, picked up my kid and some of friends after school. They talked about what they learned in school that day before.

At JAMS, history teacher explained that America got bombed on 9/11 because America dropped a bomb on Hiroshima to end WWII.


I wanted to vomit.


To know that my kids go to school every day and don’t get educated, that’s garbage, but we put up with it because we don’t have any choice.

But to hear now that my kids are getting inoculated in propaganda, unmoored conspiracy theories?

I probed this with the 13-year-olds, and they were very defensive. They said they could see his point. And I said do you realize 60 million people died in World War II, and the US was trying to end the war? I said it might be one thing if he was talking about the second nuclear bomb dropped on Japan and trying to debate the necessity of that action ... but really? Blaming the US for the 9/11 attacks on our soil? Almost 3,000 mostly civilian Americans and others murdered that day by jihadists on American soil in an unprovoked cowardly attack? For what?

Of course, these kids have not been educated about World War II in school, but some of them did know quite a bit from their own independent reading. For example, they knew who Yamamoto was and that the US killed him.

They really don’t know much about 9/11, they don’t know that it rained people that day, for example.

I feel so helpless and hopeless. School is just getting less and less. The teacher took four days to review a syllabus. A one page syllabus. And then have them sketch out an imaginary map of places that were important to them. This is eighth grade US history. And then on 9/11 to tell these children, a captive audience if ever there was, that America was responsible for 9/11 on 9/11.

What am I supposed to do? Go in there and tell this teacher to back off and teach some history? Rat him out to the principal? They would just circle the wagons and tag me as that complainer parent and make my kid and these friends miserable for the entire rest of the year. An outstanding social studies teacher quit JAMS at the end of last year without a job, she was professional and didn’t say much, but it was clear that she couldn’t stomach how badly and how politicized the history education was degrading.

I have no problem with radical points of view. If he wants to assign the kids Chomsky or Naomi Wolf, Disaster Capitalism, go for it. But his own personal tinfoil hat crockpot conspiracy theories? I don’t know if it’s arrogance or stupidity it’s driving him.


Jaguar

Melissa Westbrook said...

I would go to the teacher and make sure you have the complete story and context. Kids can get things wrong.

If the students' story is accurate, ask the history teacher where he/she learned that the U.S. was responsible for 9/11. Ask for the documentation and curriculum that says that.

If the teacher gets defensive, again, just say you need to see the documentation because that is not your understanding of that event.

If the teacher refuses, yes, go to the principal and explain and again, ask for the documentation via curriculum.

I'm fairly sure the message will be received when they cannot point to the documentation and you can request that accurate information is delivered to students.

Please note - I believe in teaching the good, the bad and the ugly of American history. This is why we need Ethnic Studies. Is there any valid reason to drop a nuclear bomb? That's certainly open to debate. But I don't see how you connect the dots from that event to 9/11.

Anonymous said...

Jaguar, I agree with Melissa (I'm not doubting the students, but 2nd hand reports can get muddled). Did the teacher actually say that or was it part of a discussion? Do you know if the syllabus review was during the first few days of school? If so, then I agree with that. There are so many disruptions and schedule changes in the first few days (especially at the middle and high school levels), that it is almost impossible to get into the class content. I tried that one year and ended up having to redo almost everything because there were so many students coming and going. -TeacherMom

maltby said...


Just received this Friday's editon of Juneau's Journal

"We’ve officially kicked off the 2019-20 school year, and I can’t wait to see what possibilities and opportunities this year has in store for our students.

As a part of our new strategic plan, Seattle Excellence, we are committed to creating warm and welcoming environments for our students, starting on the very first day of school. "

I think I would have lead with sincerity this week instead, something like "WOW! That was really a rocky start."

Melissa Westbrook said...

Maltby, Juneau, like Superintendent Olchefske before her, seems to like happy talk and a good public face.

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Anonymous said...

Next up: “We were never really in it for the academics, but for the social peer group and emotional well being.”
“You can’t expect gifted students to actually perform especially well on mere grade level tests, they're too advanced for that.”

Wink Wink

Melissa Westbrook said...

If your comment is not constructive to a discussion, we don't need snide remarks. Move on.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Just to say, I can delete comments one of two ways. Delete with a message saying I did or just completely as if it were never there. I have my reasons for using one method or the other. Sometimes I do omit comments that were about unpleasant comments and I choose to do so to end that train of thought.

Onward.

Anonymous said...

"the semi-finalists represent less than 1 percent of all high-school seniors in the U.S"

Let's run through some basic numbers. SPS had some 4000 juniors enrolled last year. If all of those students took the PSAT and around 1% of them scored in the top 1% statewide (the general qualification for NMSF), you'd expect at most 40 SPS students to qualify as NMSF. That's just a rough, rough estimate. This year 20 SPS students qualified (so not wildly out of line with the rough estimate). Also consider that in SPS the HC cutoff is 95% for achievement. NMSF represent the top 1% in the state. It's statistically improbable that all HC identified students (who qualify by testing in the top 5%) will then test in the top 1%.

basic math

Never ends said...

Now that we have a plan and teachers have received their raises, we should start thinking about what to do next. I’m thinking the opportunity gap should be zipped up by 2023.

KIC Family said...

I don't understand how they can say they offer cohort classes if they are removing self contained classes.

"Dear Madison Families:

Across our school district, all elementary and the majority of middle schools have transitioned away from self-contained classes for students identified as “advanced learners” through SPS testing. Based on educational best practices and the priorities detailed in the SPS strategic plan, the district’s Advanced Learning Department has recommended an integrated learning model.

Beginning in the fall of 2020 Madison will no longer offer self-contained classes for students who’ve been identified as Advanced Learners though SPS testing. This change affects 6th and 7th graders who are currently enrolled in Honors Language Arts or Honors Social Studies. This change does not impact math or science classes.

Throughout the 2019-2020 school year, Madison’s staff will receive training on strategies to increase differentiation and scaffolding so that all students receive rigorous lessons and assignments.

Madison will continue to offer Highly Capable Cohort classes. If you wish to have your current 6th or 7th grade advanced learning student tested for the HCC program, please do so by contacting the Advanced Learning website. The deadline for registering your student for HCC testing is September 23.

For more information about the Advanced Learning integrated learning model or for testing information for the 2020-2021 school year classroom placement, please visit the district’s Advanced Learning website.

https://www.seattleschools.org/departments/advanced_learning.

For more information about the district’s priorities and core beliefs, please take a look at the recently released strategic plan:

https://www.seattleschools.org/district/district_quick_facts/strategic_plan

If you would like to discuss this change, please attend the upcoming PTSA board meeting on October 2 or the general meeting on October 16 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. in Madison’s library or contact me with questions at rgary@seattleschools.org.

Sincerely,

Dr. Robert Gary, Jr.

Principal"

Anonymous said...

When you look at the NMSF link, the SPS numbers are seriously pathetic.

You really can't spin this one.

Why do these parents in this city keep insisting that so many of their progeny are gifted?

The proof is in

The Puddin'

Anonymous said...

Methinks you don't understand basic statistics.

no spin

Melissa Westbrook said...

KIC, I suspect Madison is ending Spectrum but will continue with HCC. However,

"Beginning in the fall of 2020 Madison will no longer offer self-contained classes for students who’ve been identified as Advanced Learners though SPS testing. This change affects 6th and 7th graders who are currently enrolled in Honors Language Arts or Honors Social Studies. This change does not impact math or science classes.

Throughout the 2019-2020 school year, Madison’s staff will receive training on strategies to increase differentiation and scaffolding so that all students receive rigorous lessons and assignments."

So they made this decision but did not inform parents in the Spring of 2019? They have already started this change but the teachers are still getting up to speed?

Sounds like SPS.

Anonymous said...

Madison has self-contained Spectrum ELA & Social Studies classes this year. My 6th grader is in them. We’ll be testing for HCC now and looking at the private middle schools in West Seattle for next year.

If they are going to stop offering a program like this they should start with 1st and 6th grades and removing an extra grade each year so that students who enrolled in a school for a particular program can complete it at their school.

Madison Parent

Anonymous said...

Why were "Advanced Learners" getting self-contained classes in the first place? That is ridiculous and likely led to segregation and highly impacted classes for those without the made-up AL designation. HC students aren't even entitled to separate classes.

Once HC was enacted as state law, Spectrum and AL designated students could have received differentiation. By law, they aren't even entitled to that. Spectrum furthered segregation in buildings and clustered EL and students with IEPs. Spectrum and AL designated students are not covered by the HC law.

Why would any SPS principal in their right mind NOT wait to make such an a announcement? This parent population would quickly do an email to campaign to their favorite school board allies, and then trash their opponents on th blog. In other word: business as usual.

The rollout for Honors for All at Garfield will now be a template for any discerning administrator. Parents of HC at Garfield were under the impression that HC entitles their child to separate classes.

It only entitles them to services.

News Flash

Melissa Westbrook said...

Madison Parent, they should have told perspective parents this in the spring.

News Flash, they had separate classes because, despite the lack of the word in the letter, Madison offers both Spectrum and HCC. Those are both self-contained per district programming. Whether anyone is "entitled" that's what the district has.

And, AL is probably changing so you'll get your wish.

But sorry, I don't think any Honors for All will happen without Board review which has been requested for almost three years.

Alsept Teresa said...

“...I am hearing that not every school has communicated the new dress code and even some teachers don't know about it....”. We heard about the dress code however, I wouldn’t really call it a dress code, would call it a “ wear whatever you want code”. I think it’s a bad idea however, it does make my life easier.

News Flash2 said...

Madison is behind the 8 ball. Many middle schools moved to this model years before Garfield's Honors for All (?).

Some principals support this method of delivery because of administration ease. It is much more difficult to offer two classes- than one. My child was in one of these classes. There were only two students that turned assignments in on a regular basis. Did not feel the class was delivering honors content.

Outsider said...

Some interesting reading:
https://www.newyorker.com/culture/essay/clarence-thomass-radical-vision-of-race
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/10/when-the-culture-war-comes-for-the-kids/596668/

Anonymous said...

Look right around the corner from Ingraham, the gifted pathway school, to see where most of Seattle’s gifted students are actually going to school. It isn’t in SPS at all. Lakeside blows SPS out of the water, getting about twice as many all the public high schools combined with a junior class size of 125 or so. That is truly remarkable. As to statistics.Given that you’re supposed to be cognitively in the top 2% AND academically in the top 5%, that SHOULD cap enrollment in HCC at the 2% level, actually less. The relative poor rates of NMSF in SPS indicate either significant overidentication of giftedness, or significant academic underperformance of the program. Either way, it speaks to the need to reduce participation in the contentious program.

News Flash 3

Transparency Please said...

Board Retreat on September 21st. Agenda: Strategic Plan.

NO specifics.

https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/19-20%20agendas/September%2021/20190921_Retreat_Agenda.pdf

News Flash4 said...

News Flash 3 makes a lot of unsubstantiated claims. Some Lakeside students are out of Seattl's boundaries. How about verifiable numbers?

Anonymous said...

LMGTFY News Flash 4. You can try it too. Lakeside has 579 high school students. So around 145 seniors. It produced 36 NMSF this year, similar to every other year. Typically there are students from outside SPS in attendance, around 1/3. Seattle school districts also accepts many students from surrounding areas. So? These things simply aren’t “unsubstantiated”. The idea that a gifted cohort program doesn’t need to produce measurable and consequential academic results wasn’t my proposition. Some people offered up the red herring that the gifted qualification standards are top 5% explaining the performance discrepancy. But that isn’t actually the standard SPS sets. It’s top 2% AND ALSO top 5% academically. Simple math means that standard is supposed to limit participation to 2% max. That’s not unsubstantiated, that’s just math. Given the high rate of gifted enrollment at Lakeside, you’d really expect a lower number remaining available for HCC participation. You don’t see it in the participation rates, but you do see it these academic results.

News Flash 3

Anonymous said...

Interesting how quiet the typical HCC/HC commenters/defenders get on these threads where actual RESULTS are offered for all to see.

Not only does Lakeside outperform the bloated SPS HC "cohort" (many of whom qualified in kindergarten and early primary--for the duration of their SPS lives with no retesting or actual accountablity), but the east side schools completely overshadow SPS in actual, measurable results.

Yet, they'll blame Honors for All!!

The proof is in...

the Puddin'

Curious George. said...

Who is Paul Gorski? He and his work is mentioned BAR for the teacher contract.

News Flash 4 said...

Side by side comparisons can't be made between Lakeside and Seattle Public Schools. One does not need to look beyond counseling support services, Honors for None, etc.

School Visitis said...

I've seen Lakeside's curriculum and materials. Seattle Public Schools materials etc. pale in comparison. For example, Seattle's science curriculum and materials were about 20 years old. Doubtful Lakeside decided to switch the entire science scope and sequence. I expect to see a continued decline of Seattle Public School students.

Disappointed some prefer to attack students and their parents.

Anonymous said...

Lakeside is wholly set up and focused on getting good National Merit results among other things. It goes far beyond test prepping. Their whole thing is focused on those results. $36000 a year gets you a lot. I'm not sure I see what your point is comparing Hcc (which is merely acceleration with no change in curriculum and nothing else, and half the teachers have open disdain for their Hcc students, which is so helpful to those kids), and which the district has intentionally designed so as not to get the low income students Rainier Scholars feeds into Lakeside into Hcc. Hcc is a pale, withered version of a highly capable program, and everyone knows it. It's soon to be defunct anyway, which will only worsen outcomes for Hc kids. But hey. It's free.

Incidentally, I get the impression people are not understanding the difference between percentiles and percentages. Percentiles are normed rank bands, regardless of percentage. It's not the top 2%, it's the 98th and 99th percentiles. Highly capable testing is based on percentiles, not percentages.

P&P

Anonymous said...

No one is "attacking students and their families" by stating facts about the woefully poor NMSF results in SPS.

If the truth is painful, that's on you.

@NewsFlash4: SPS students get TWO YEARS of advancement in self-contained elementary classes. They go on to get preference in class placements and stay largely in tracked classes.

It is extremely weak to blame this on SPS, except to note that the student quality or cohort or both isn't delivering.

The east side is not Lakeside. Their numbers speak for themselves, too.

the Puddin'

Anonymous said...

To assert that SPS has designed it HC program to intentionally exclude students so they later get picked up by Lakeside may be the most insidious comment yet.

Rainier Scholars was founded BECAUSE highly capable students were (and are) being systematically excluded from SPS HC based on their longstanding entrance criteria that predated HC law.

Get your facts straight and please don't twist reality to support your argument.

the Puddin'

School Visits said...

Holy Names is set-up to support high achieving students. Their goal is to offer high levels of counseling support...amongst other things. Students just don't get that type of support in Seattle Public Schools.

No one ever made assertions that Lakeside would pick up students.

I agree with P&P. The district is focused on eliminating advanced learning pathways (LA and History) in middle school. They have moved onto LA and History in 9th and 10th grade. I don't see any preferential treatment.

The district clearly needs to do a better job of identifying students.

Anonymous said...

P&P, And percentiles are based on percentages. I take it that the high discrepancy in SPS HCC percentile nationally, and the disproportionately high percentage qualifying for the HCC cohort locally, is because Seattle is a vortex for super smart people and they all enroll their kids in HCC after breezing through the qualifying exam. That is, SPS has more than double the number of students somehow making it to the high percentiles than what would be expected, because the population is a lot smarter than average. But when we look at the actual scores, the claim that students are more gifted than national norms falls flat. It is really obvious that a great many of the intellectually gifted students are actually going to private schools, most clearly, Lakeside. PSAT and SAT are widely accepted as aptitude tests measuring raw IQ. In reality, maybe we should drastically reduce the cohort and change the service delivery.

A few more red herrings. “Lakeside does tons of test prep”. Hello? Nobody does more test prep than students in public schools. Months of test prep, year after year for Map, SBA, AP, IB, built right into the school year to maximize test scores. There’s so much test prep in public school, it’s a key reason to go private if possible. Lakeside doesn’t do standardized tests. They do allow one of the local test prep companies to offer a summer prep session for SAT/ACT on campus available to all for a fee. Same stuff offered at off campus locations too. It isn’t especially popular. But there is no private testing for admission to the school itself. “Lakeside doesn’t subject students to horrors of Honors for All.” Lakeside doesn’t offer any honors courses in any humanities subject. 9th graders all take basic English and get a choice in world history or Big History. They’re all honors for none. Doesn’t seem to hurt anyone. There is no cohorting. There also are no AP classes. Students wishing to pad college applications with AP accomplishments, are on their own to study and take those exams. Unlike the constant barrage of complaints that some teacher didn’t provide a challenge or a new lesson or opportunity to shine each and every day, a truly gifted student will independently take on such challenges through either ambition or curiosity. “$36,000 buys a lot.” Well, so does $2,000 to a private psych. Lakeside has needs blind admissions, and provides incredibly generous financial aid to everyone who needs it.

News Flash 3

News Flash 4



Anonymous said...

Oops sorry, above should have been signed.

News Flash 3

Melissa Westbrook said...

Puddin', being gifted doesn't mean:
1)You'll do great on standardized testing.
2) That because your district and your school don't really support your learning, perhaps you won't do well on standardized tests.
3) Yes, the curriculum is moved up by two years. But it's the same curriculum and most of the teachers have no PD in teaching gifted students.

Causation is not correlation.

Outsider, thank you for those reading suggestions. I read the Atlantic one and will read the other one today. I might use those for another thread as they bring up a lot of issues on the public education front today.

"But there is no private testing for admission to the school itself."

Oh yes there is and always has. From Lakeside's admission page:

"The Secondary School Admissions Test (SSAT) is required for applicants to grades 5-10."

Also, News Flash, it is unclear to me if you are one person or different people using that moniker and adding a number. If it is one person, pick a name and stick with it. If there is more than one person, find another name.

News Flash 3 said...

News flash 3 makes clear that parents of academically advanced students leave for private schools.

Advanced learning remains under attack. Perhaps if the district offered these students academic challenges, the district would have funding for a large portion of students that leave the district for private school.

I did note an AA man testify before the board. He felt his son would be given a medical diagnosis and be subjected to disproportionate discipline if the board dismantled HCC.

The crusade and quest to destroy advanced learning marches on...

Anonymous said...

If they leave for "academically advanced" schools, then why does SPS still have so many in the "program"?

I don't think it's very cool to tokenize one of the very few Black students in HC in order to support your position.

Huh?

Anonymous said...

SPS HC is not a "gifted" program, which is why they REQUIRE standardized testing to get in. Giftedness usually isn't measured by performance on tests.

It is a highly capable program.

So, yeah. The students in Seattle HC should definitely be performing well on standardized tests since that is part of what qualified them.

We are different people posting, btw.

News Flash(1)

Anonymous said...

Gifted usually is measured by IQ tests, not STANDARDIZED tests.

NewsFlash(1)

Aging NMSF said...

Well, one thing we certainly don't see with the NMSF results is any indication that "all children are gifted." But at the same time, we do see that Washington state has to have a much higher cutoff for NMSF than many states do. The only states with higher cutoffs than us are: Massachusetts, New Jersey, California, Maryland, and Virginia. Great work, Washington! Considering how our educational funding compares, we're accomplishing a lot on a budget.

Congratulations to the NMSF students. Great job! Pulling that off without the benefit of Lakeside's curricula and funding and peer group is an accomplishment indeed. Thanks to the teachers who offered challenge! We look forward to hearing about your future accomplishments. Go get 'em.

https://www.compassprep.com/national-merit-semifinalist-cutoffs/

Melissa Westbrook said...

Anonymous Aging NMSF, to your point about the cutoff and outcomes.

I have always had this sneaking feeling about public school funding in WA state and why many legislators in the Eastern part of the state don't seem to want to fund schools better.

Well,look at where Washington sits in national rankings. Overall, about in the middle. If you were a GOP legislator, you might think, "The middle is fine; why fund higher?"

(Naturally, by some measures, Washington state is not doing well but for what gets spent here, it's not bad.)

Anonymous said...

But isn’t it odd that all these HCC parental advocates cling religiously to one standardized CogAt, administered anywhere and repeated possibly many times to improve scores, yet they dismiss the one standardized test that actually matters? The great thing is that the PSAT is administered only once to students as juniors. No experts. No do-overs. If you’re going to be anti test (a perfectly fine stance), then at least have the intellectual honesty to question ALL the tests, including the ones that benefit you and maintain your kid’s privilege. HCC parents who are also Opt Outers are absurdly patronizing. You’ve got yours, so let’s close the door?

News Flash 1. CogAt IS indeed a standardized test. You can find research everywhere confirming that SAT equates to IQ. That’s why colleges use them. https://www.psychologicalscience.org/pdf/ps/Frey.pdf?origin=publication_detail
“The evidence presented here strongly suggests that estimates of general intellectual functioning obtained from SAT scores are accurate and acceptable, and that the SAT-IQ conversion is to be encouraged, whether for clinical application or in a research setting.”

MW. Of course there is an admission test for nearly every private school. The SSAT, a junior aptitude test. But there isn’t the privately administered test that can be offered as an appeal when your kid doesn’t ace the SSAT. The kid has to actually show the aptitude without help or expert psychology witnesses. The large number of appeals into HCC is completely understandable for individuals who want the best for their kids at any cost. But it also explains lower than expected gifted ranged results from the program.

The results aren’t “horrible”, and every kid who scored well deserves they great opportunities in the future they will likely receive.

Only,
News Flash 3. (Chosen to respond to NF2)

Melissa Westbrook said...

First, I told you, News Flash3,get a new name. Or everything from you from here on out will be deleted.

Second, hello? You said there was NO test to get into Lakeside. How about you being honest as well.

Why is there no appeal in private school? Because they don't need to help anyone get in. However, public schools to have to consider 2E students or students for whom testing is anxiety. This would include many kids of color who are unlikely to have any experience in testing and so need the support of individual testing. And SPS pays for F/RL students to get privately tested for free.

I don't know how you got from HCC to anti-test. I've yet to meet a parent who didn't think some testing is necessary.

Make that name change if you choose to respond.

Anonymous said...

NMSF status is just one measure of achievement, and achievement is influenced by a number of factors outside of school (family income, ahem, Lakeside...). Trying to discount the need for HC programming based on NMSF numbers is somewhat silly (Is the argument that students aren't really all that smart, based on NMSF numbers, so we should just scrap HCC, or is it an acknowledgment that SPS is doing a #$%-poor job of serving those students? Still trying to understand who's arguing what.). Nonetheless, a few points to add to the discussion:

1) As posted, the NMSF cutoffs vary by state and by year. Those scoring in the top 1% in WA have to score much higher on the PSAT than most students nationally. Live in Idaho? The cutoff is 215. Live in WA? Cutoff is 221. There are also Commended Students whose names aren't published (cutoff is reported as 212 this year, and is set to not be higher than the lowest NMSF cutoff).

2) The SAT used to be more of an intelligence test (verbal analogies, more logic based math problems, etc.), not just an achievement test. The College Board has intentionally changed it over the years. It's not the same test their parents took.

3) A significant number of Seattle NMSF (both in SPS high schools and Lakeside) attended the district APP/HC program in elementary school. This year's class was the last to be served at a single location (program split in 2nd grade). Since then, the program has split and moved and morphed to be little more than cohort based grade acceleration.

4) Lakeside and Garfield historically had the most NMSF in WA, but the region has changed significantly over the last 20 years and so has SPS. Do we even need to state the obvious that Lakeside and SPS don't compare in terms of resources, class sizes, etc? From the Seattle Times:

2007: "Lakeside, in Seattle, claims 33 semifinalists on this year’s list; Garfield, a public school, has 22. The two schools routinely lead the state in numbers of semifinalists." That same year, RHS had 7 and IHS 2.

1997: "Twenty-five students at Seattle's Garfield High are among this year's semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship competition...Garfield's number far surpassed that of any other high school in the state; private Lakeside School, with 15 semifinalists, had the second-highest total statewide...Overall, fewer than 1 percent of each state's graduating class are named semifinalists. That percentage can be significantly higher at an individual school. At Garfield, for example, the 25 semifinalists equal almost 7 percent of this year's senior class. At Lakeside, the 15 semifinalists equal 13 percent of seniors."

@News Flash suggested: "The large number of appeals into HCC is completely understandable for individuals who want the best for their kids at any cost. But it also explains lower than expected gifted ranged results from the program."

But does it?? There is a bell curve of abilities even within the HC cohort. Testing as HC (appeals or not) does not necessarily translate into NMSF, and missing the NMSF cutoff does not mean students are suddenly not HC. Only a fraction of a fraction would be expected to make the cutoff.

rambling

Anonymous said...

@rambling

You are doing a lot of correlation posing as causation.

"Since then, the program has split" seems to blame the low NMSF numbers and lowered expectations to geography.

This is also the the when the numbers in the program started to rise exponentially. Try that correlation.

You also didn't show the east side numbers from 1997. Have they skyrocketed as new, highly educated families choose that area as it has a building boom?

Don't think it's possible to spin these low NMSF numbers solely on the district.

New Flash

Marlow said...

How many successful HCC appeals were there last year? Can't have been many.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Huh,
"I don't think it's very cool to tokenize one of the very few Black students in HC in order to support your position."

First, there was not just a black father but an Asian mother who came and spoke to the Board about the success their children were having in HCC. Referencing that does not "tokenize" them - it merely reports who showed up and what they said. You are tokenizing them and ignoring their testimony.

News Flash 3 said...

I thought the "tokenize" comment was not only mean, but showed a complete disregard for a man that made himself vulnerable to publicly ask the board to meet his child's need. The commenter stated that other parents felt the same.

Anonymous said...

PSAT is administered only once to students as juniors.

Nope most private and some public schools offer it 10/11th grade. Not that facts matter in your hyperbolic post.

MSRP

Anonymous said...

So true MSRP, but you’re missing the point. The point is there’s very limited gaming the system in PSAT administration. There’s not an industry of test prepers. You don’t earn a NSMF with a doctor’s note. (Nobody knows the professional vouching for students. And, professionals don’t know how many other times a student has taken the CogAt or other instrument. Taking the same test multiple times in short interval invalidates the results.) There is exactly the same number of limited administrations that everyone sits for, nationally, for the PSAT. Really, pointing out the obvious data is now considered hyperbolic? You may think gaming the HCC admissions process is hyperbolic, the district itself does not. The problem is so widespread, the district has had to actually address it by policy.

Name

Melissa Westbrook said...

Address a program by policy? That's a news flash.

Anonymous said...

Jaguar, I don't think that's a fair assessment of the 9/11 discussion in that 8th grade history class at JAMS. And to assign it to either "his arrogance or stupidity" and describe your perceived options as "telling him to back off" or "ratting him out" make me want to vomit a bit myself. I believe I have a kid who got that same lecture and didn't at all walk away thinking the U.S. caused 9/11 by bombing Hiroshima. My kid was engaged and inspired to learn more history (yes, including facts) by that discussion. It included the contributing factors to the end of WWII, including the impacts of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the threat of Soviet entry, shifting geopolitical power struggles, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, U.S-Soviet competition/conflict, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and radicalization of terrorists. It was a sweeping, big picture discussion of the historical conflicts that preceded that day.

~CP

Grouchy Parent said...

It makes perfect sense that a district that has policies about what you wear and what you eat and when you can go to the bathroom would have a policy about who can test how your brain works. Around 20% of our students drop out. And people like "Name" are obsessed with how awful it is that 1,343 middle schoolers and 1,407 high schoolers (last numbers I saw for HC identified students) want to take hard classes. Of course we have policies to try to keep them from doing that. What's the point of school anyway?

Anonymous said...

@ News Flash 3, so you think whether or not a kid "legitimately" got into HCC vs. supposedly cheating their way in via test prep or private testing is what's behind our lower NMSF numbers? Which would mean, then, that if there were no appeals and somehow test prep were banned we'd then have a smaller program that somehow made SPS's NMSF's numbers better (even thought they'd still be low--and probably lower--per capital compared to the Eastside? Huh?

Your hypothesis does NOT explain lower than expected NMSF results from "the program". Whatever "the program" is, now THAT'S a more likely explanation.

@ News Flash, I agree it's not possible to spin these low NMSF numbers solely on the district. Parental choices and incomes are also probably key factors. As in, parents with gifted or high achieving students choosing to live on the east side (where their children will be better served and not made to feel bad about their abilities), and parents with higher incomes choosing schools that have better reputations (which might include NMSF results, which seem to matter a lot for some, including yourself, even if they are more expensive (e.g., private school or more costly city). Had I known what I know now about SPS, I would ABSOLUTELY have avoided SPS from the get-go.

HF

Anonymous said...

@ Name, are you kidding when you said there's limited gaming the system in PSAT administration, and that there’s not an industry of test preppers. Of course PSAT is included in the test prep industry--it can get you the NMSF status that some see as so important, for prestige and/or college admissions and/or scholarships. For those with a reasonable chance of scoring within the top 1%, test prep might make sense. If you're seeing test prep numbers (which I doubt you are), it also makes sense for PSAT prep numbers to be lower, since many fewer students have a shot at scoring in the top 1% statewide than will have a chance of scoring in the top 5% and 2% nationwide (HCC cutoffs).

"You don’t earn a NSMF with a doctor’s note." True, but you also don't earn a spot in HCC with a doctor's note, either. Not sure your point.

"...professionals don’t know how many other times a student has taken the CogAt or other instrument. Taking the same test multiple times in short interval invalidates the results."

Uh, that's all the MORE reason to trust private testing over SPS testing. Students can, by policy, take SPS testing over and over year after year, using an instrument that wasn't really designed to be used that way. Private testing, on the other hand, is expensive (or free for those who qualify for the district to cover it), so people are probably less inclined to keep testing their children year after year. Especially when the cost-effectiveness of HCC itself is suspect.

If the district really wants to limit the number of people "gaming the HCC admissions process," they should stop relying on their own testing process and allowing students to test year after year. The reliability of scores at the top end of the CogAt and SBAC probably wasn't so great last time I checked. (In other words, a student who scores a 95th percentile one year, might usually be in more like the 93rd percentile, but they guessed right and got some lucky questions. Scores can vary from day to day, year to year for the same student.) The district might be better off addressing it's OWN retesting by policy. At the same time, they could address whether they want it to be a program for high achievers, of highly capable/intellectually gifted students.

Your arguments make no sense in the context of everything else about SPS HCC.

HF

Anonymous said...

HC, evidently your sacred cow has been rousted. There really aren’t arguments. If the tests are so inaccurate for their designed purposes, as you claim, then why do you religiously believe in their results? Somebody gaming the system, doesn’t need to do it year after year. Rather, they can do it week after week with different professionals, until they win the golden ticket. In fact, many people privately test “just in case” before they even take the district assessment. This renders the testing invalid and is right up there with the recent college admissions scandals. Then they’re done. Right, nobody would expect all HCC students to earn NSFM, but it is reasonable to expect that 25% of them, at a minimum, to hit that mark. It isn’t an obsession with NMSF, but with some evidence of program efficacy.

The district clearly does want to limit appeals, which is why it changed the policy on appeals, raising the bar. https://www.seattleschools.org/cms/one.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=8631501 Why would they do that without a reason? Obviously there is a reason. Obviously, that reason is overidentification through appeal. It isn’t “my” opinion, it is clearly what the lauded professionals in the district believe. HCC posters comment often about the watering down of the program. Many note the constant need for “remediation” of students who aren’t at the academically accelerated level. I personally know district hired assistants, costing money, catching up students who actually weren’t academically capable enough to survive without that added support or cost. IBX has all but been cancelled because the acceleration was too difficult for students. A truly rigorous program could be achieved by raising the thresholds as well as the academic demands to meet the needs of actual highly capable students. I have no doubt that there is and always will be a need for such a program.

Name

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Rather, they can do it week after week with different professionals, until they win the golden ticket. In fact, many people privately test “just in case” before they even take the district assessment."

And you know this how? Week after week? That's just ridiculous. Data, please.

I have no problem if they end appeals as long as students with a certified medical disability/issue are allowed along with F/RL kids. Or is that bad as well?

Anonymous said...

SPS can't end appeals, as they are a required part of the HC identification process. What SPS can eliminate is private testing as part of appeals. Should they, though? Of course that is part of the debate. Some would have us believe private testing is creating some rampant abuse and overidentification of HC students, but I'm not buying it. Those wanting their children to have access to Spectrum level services are also part of the appeal process, just fyi.

HC has become what Spectrum used to be - a modicum of acceleration accessible in your geographic cluster of schools. Is the total % of Spectrum + HC identified students much different from years ago? Perhaps more families have an interest in HC level services due to lack of support for Spectrum.

realist

Anonymous said...

No gaming the PSAT??? Well if it’s anything like the SAT or private school admissions testing (ISEE etc) that is just not true. There is a whole industry around test prep and tutoring for these, one which perpetuates the advantages that come with high family income.

Instead of using the NMSF figures as a weapon with which to bash the ‘not gifted enough’ HCC families why don’t you ponder this..... How would the SPS HCC and Lakeside cohorts perform if they were switched? Given a Lakeside education, would a lot more SPS students be awarded NMSF? Would as many Lakeside students get the award if given the SPS curriculum and support? Is it the school or the student's innate ability that matters? Or are economic and cultural background factors the deciding factors?

Of kids who qualified for HCC in elementary, a number do go to Lakeside in high school - so it would be interesting to know how many of those go on to get NMSF awards vs those who remained in SPS. Although again HCC-identified kids that end up at Lakeside are probably different socioeconomically than those who stay in SPS through high school.

Is it actually a surprise to anyone that the combination of excellent school programming plus (mostly) high parental income/education level plus the highly selective admission process (the cream of the crop get in) could produce these results?

It’s just wrong to use these NMSFs as a weapon to bash HCC. If anything it represents a sad indictment on SPS if there are such a lot of students identified with potential that is going untapped. Or it's a reflection of American society today - where the advantages of wealth percolate generation after generation (better educational options, connections, greater academic success, more wealth, repeat) and social mobility is limited. Or it could simply reveal the impressive nature of a Lakeside education itself (after all, other private schools didn’t do so well). In any case, those that are against the very existence of HCC will continue to use whatever ammunition they can find to rail against families who are quite right to avail themselves of an existing program for which their students qualify.

Longtime lurker

R Station said...

This is all just silly. Our high school had 3 students were NMSF this year. Does anyone believe only 3 of the school's students come from wealthy families? Nope. Plenty of wealthy students at the school, way more than 3. These aren't the wealthiest kids at the school by a long shot. These 3 are surely bright and accomplished students, but are they they only ones in the class of 2020? Nope, plenty of bright and accomplished students at our high schools, certainly more than 3. NMSF is just what it is. Students who did really well on the PSAT last year, top 1% on that test. That's all it is. And yet, there are many students who could take the PSAT over and over and over again and not score in the top 1%. I mean, Felicity Huffman didn't spend her $15,000 on tutoring, right? All the tutoring in the world only takes a student so far. Even at Lakeside. Over 100 of their meticulously hand-selected, wealthy, highly education knowledge wizards, kids who have had every opportunity to learn real science and math and language arts and history and not SPS's play-doh versions, well, more than 100 of them didn't get NMSF. Oh well. I'm sure they have other redeeming qualities. Like the hundreds of other seniors at our high school.

Anonymous said...

If socio economic is a factor in Lakeside success, is it not also a factor in HC admittance? The arguments being made that Lakeside is a reflection of a society that funnels resources to the top, could also be made about HC. The difference is that Lakeside does not receive public subsidy, and while the cultivating of a private privileged elite may be odious and anti social, it is a private endeavor. Not so with HC which often functions as a separate entity within our public schools whose goal is equity, and which the existence of HC as a separate cohorted experience, with additional placement advantages, contradicts. The fact that measurable HC advanced academic achievement post cohort admittance, with all its benefits, is not showing up in measures such as the PSAT does call into question if the service as currently delivered is serving a mythical population.

Perplexed

Anonymous said...

@perplexed.
It may be true to some extent that there are somewhat more higher socioeconomic group students in HCC but it is wrong to say that HCC "funnels resources to the top." HCC students get the same resources; same curriculum, same teachers as every other student -the material is just delivered earlier. Just delivering the same curriculum a year or two earlier may not the best way of serving academically advanced students but that is all SPS provides. This does mean some AP courses are open (prerequisites met) earlier in high school than for those in general ed. This is the so-called "advantage"? But those AP courses are open to all students when they have met the prerequisites (If any). As far as performance after admission - who knows? SPS does not measure it in any meaningful way. Smarter balance assessments test at grade level - not adjusted for the actual grade they are being taught (ie 8th graders get 8th grade math test even if they have been taking algebra 2 all year). Its almost as if the district doesn't want to know how their program performs. They are all about identifying eligible students but there is no actual HCC curriculum, program, data collection, or accountability. So theres no point in grasping to make the NMSFs numbers some sort of meaningful reflection of the accuracy of the HCC identification process or adequacy of the program.

h(cc)aters gonna hate

Anonymous said...

Lakeside is private and a straw man argument.

Look at how SPS is being hugely outperformed by public school students on the east side.

Enough

Anonymous said...

Enough. You’re missing a reason to focus on Lakeside. One of the key proponents of the ballooning HCC cohort has always been the claim that there are extreme rates of high intelligence in Seattle. Eg. 10x higher than national averages. Lakeside does specifically target highly capable students. And, it is able to attract them - rich, poor, Asian, black, white. Who would stay SPS if they had the opportunity to go to such a place? Positive. Diverse. High performing. Highly supported. Expert staff. What’s not to like? That basic fact leaves way fewer high performers for the public schools in Seattle. If 8% of Lakesiders are black, that’s proportional representation, not some sort of skimming all of one demographic leaving none for SPS. Imagine the size of the HCC cohort if there was no Lakeside. Dunno if they’d be still receiving their NMSF designation or not, but an influx of that size would dominate any pathway school that absorbed it. Not sure the point about the high performance of eastside publics. Looks like they do way better than SPS. Makes sense. They’re not in constant turmoil.

Still There

Anonymous said...

Students at Lakeside are not just from Seattle.

Those who have high aptitude and study extremely hard will do best on the PSAT.

Children who are immigrants or come from immigrant families often have a relentless work ethic.

I recently lived in Asia. Students came to a study center in my apartment building for several hours each evening.

Enough

Anonymous said...

Students in SPS are not “just from Seattle” too, people can and do transfer from out of district all the time. Lakesides are mostly from Seattle and it is actually in Seattle.

Those who have high aptitude and study extremely hard will do best on the PSAT.
Yes. That’s the definition of highly capable. High aptitude and, importantly, high performing, which requires effort on the part of the student. That’s why we’re talking about it.

Lakeside serves 30% Asian, not mostly Asian. The largest subgroup at Lakeside, are the plain old white kids, just like SPS and Seattle generally. Lakeside doesn’t serve mostly immigrants. Certainly SPS has a much larger immigrant population than Lakeside. Not sure why you’re turning to non-sequiturs.

Eastside has lots of Asians and immigrants too. I guess it’s a big So what? Is there a point here?

Still There