Seattle Schools National Merit Semi-Finalists

Congrats to all these hard-working students for this great academic outcome.  Your parents must be very proud.

Roidad, Aneesa S.

Cohen, Jed M.
Lundsgaard, Annika P.
O'Kelley, Ciaran A.
Philipose, Millan J.
Shao, Zhemin
Vinh Farr, Myles M.
Webbeking, Blaise E.
Wozniak, Natasha A.

Groom, Maks J.
Lempriere, James P.
Truax, Roshan D.
Weiner, Duncan E.
White, Vivian M.

ROOSEVELT H. S.Johnson, Isabella E.
Peng, Avery W.
Scott, Adam M.


Michael Rice said…
I have been fortunate to have a handful of these students. Congratulations to them. As one of their teachers, I am very proud of them.
Anonymous said…
Bravo, students! Great work!

SPS Parent
Anonymous said…
Looks like you left off one name from Garfield (Becker, Zebediah S.) See the link you included. Congratulations to all of these students!

- Bulldog Parent
Anonymous said…
Never mind. Formatting was the issue.

- Bulldog Parent
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Folks, this is a good news thread. I'm not having any students demeaned in this thread. If you do not have something positive to contribute, move on.
Anonymous said…
"Unpleasant" can also mean you simply disagree. Deleting such comments is why this blog has a well deserved reputation for being notoriously slanted in favor of the privileged.

The blog rules don't include "unpleasant" as a disqualifier.

The deleted comments called out the low SPS numbers for NMSF compared to the Eastside, despite extremely high numbers of enrolled SPS HC and an ensuing backlash against changing HC (even though the program isn't delivering).

Hey, it's your blog. But realize that, when you impose your POV by deleting blog-rule following comments you disagree with, you further damage your credibility.

Delete Me
Delete Me, I have said, over and over, that I don't allow people to make unkind/unpleasant/snide comments about students.

I would have had no problem with stating facts without the sneering tone.

My credibility - to those who actually take the time to listen - is just fine but thanks for the concern.

And you are right - it is my blog. You can follow those guidelines or not.
Anonymous said…
Thats funny - The Eastside HC services - which some posters here have postulated are a benchmark based on their number of NMSFs, use all the methods that have been dismantled in SPS. Self-contained classrooms. Enrichment (rather than acceleration. Parents I have talked to told me that, before the splits from Lowell etc, APP in SPS was a reasonably effective program. But, by splitting up the program and placing it under the control of hostile principals - the district assured its demise. And this began almost two decades ago as I remember it. I think it is inaccurate to say that there is a backlash against changing HC - parents have been lobbying for change for decades - but that has been in response to SPS's gross mishandling of the program.

Anyway, congrats to the students!

Anonymous said…
Was there any type of recognition for the achievement of these relatively few Seattle public school students, in relation to district population, from the superintendent?

Anonymous said…
@Delete Me, you really put that much stock in standardized testing??? The HCC reform crowds tend run with the opt out crowds, in which case I don’t get why one would care much at all who is scoring well on so-called racist/arbitrary tests. But maybe you stand somewhere else.

I personally think it’s fantastic these hard working students reached this achievement. I appreciate moderating comments where students get dragged into disagreements (grudges, grievances etc) that grownups are having.

Flawed Logic
Wondering, I'm going to be looking this week to see if the district acknowledges these kids.

But I agree with Cynic - it would be interesting to look at the numbers from the last decade and see what those look like.

Perhaps there aren't larger numbers because of the district's and some schools' lack of interest in supporting these kids.

But again, we need to celebrate all achievements.
Anonymous said…
The district doesn't do anything to celebrate this achievement. The district is probably concerned that it'll be unfair to those who aren't named NMSFs. Equity and all that jazz.

Maybe a teacher here or there will bring 'em a cupcake or something, or maybe a counselor or principal will call a kid into their office to deliver the news in private. But we don't celebrate this sort of thing in Seattle. [Tip to parents of NMSFs--don't mention it to others. If they happen to mention it to you, I've found the best response is to sound almost apologetic, saying they must have just gotten really luck or had a good day.]

Anonymous said…
@ Delete Me,

I'm glad you're starting to, at least parenthetically, acknowledge the reality here--that the apparent disparity in the number of NMSFs in SPS vs. the Eastside is likely not because Seattle students themselves just aren't as capable as our neighbors, but likely because our public schools aren't providing educational programs that deliver the same results.

Some of Seattle's private schools did well, so it's probably not just a Seattle thing.

I also don't tend to agree with the explanation of @Flawed Logic, that it's because HCC crowd tends to be anti-test and thus probably didn't take (or try hard at) the PSAT. Maybe that's the case with some of the other standardized tests, but I think many former HCC students are in fact interested in the PSAT as a practice for the SAT, which many ARE going to take because some of the colleges to which they want to apply ARE still asking for, or at least accepting, SAT scores, and high SAT scores aren't going to hurt. Some schools also provide additional $ for students who are NMSFs. I suspect that those who refuse to take the SAT (or ACT) are those who don't anticipate doing well enough for it to help them with college admissions, so those are also students not likely to qualify as NMSFs, either.

I think @Cynic has it right--or at least partly right. HCC services in SPS are weaker, and so our students might not be doing quite as well as some in surrounding districts. This doesn't mean our students are doing poorly or still aren't doing well--but since NMSF status is all relative, if other WA schools/districts have made progress in relation to SPS, we'll have fewer NMSFs and they'll have more. It's as simple as that--with one caveat.

It's also important to note, however, that NMSF and HCC are not necessarily associated. Many HC-identified students in SPS did not ever participate in HCC services, and many students who probably should be considered "HC" have not been identified. Further, the goal of HC services--whether in HCC or via neighborhood HC services--has never been to produce NMSFs. Since the PSAT doesn't cover anything that's very unusual or advanced, any strong student (HCC or not) should have just as good a chance at qualifying if they were provided a very strong academic background. The PSAT is not an HCC or HC test.

Outsider said…
What percentage of Seattle high school juniors actually take the PSAT? In particular, what percentage of HC juniors? I ask because one of my nephews is a braniac in another state, in an upscale suburb of a major metro, and he took the PSAT in 7th grade and didn't bother with it in high school at all. That practice seemed to be fashionable in his town -- it was a status marker to take the PSAT young. Since nearly everyone is rich, there seemed to be no value to taking it as a junior in pursuit of the NMS label.

National Merit Scholar is a minor distinction of no value to most students. You get your name in the paper, but considering the unconcealed animosity toward advanced students in Seattle, I wonder how many students even want that.

Long ago when I personally took it, the PSAT was positioned as a warm-up for the SAT (which coincidentally generated another fee for the College Board). This was before SAT test prep books and courses were ubiquitous, so getting a practice run was really helpful. Also, there was more stigma attached to taking the SAT itself multiple times, so you couldn't use the SAT as a warm-up for the SAT. NMS status was a feather in your cap, but little or no actual scholarship money was tied to it, so the feather was all you got.

It seems that Lakeside pushes the PSAT hard on its students for marketing purposes, but how many public school students actually take it, and when?
Anonymous said…
All the top students of color go to Lakeside, other private’s or move out of the district to where it’s more diverse. They do not want to be in the HCC cohort where we know from the student who wrote the Crosscut article, they would be alone. At Lakeside, students of color are well represented. I think they had over 30 National Merit scholars as well.

If the HCC cohort wasn’t so racially homogeneous, we’d probably see more kids of color in it and a number of them would have been Merit scholars.

IPP morphed into APP with its easier entrance requirements and became an escape for white parents who didn’t like integrated schools. After busing was eliminated APP and then HCC came to be seen as a way to escape low performing and hard to teach students.

If self-contained is so necessary, why do so many HC students stay out of the cohort yet do as well as better than those who enter it?

HCC is draining the student of color talent pool from SPS and sending it to Lakeside and other privates or out of the district where parents feel their children won’t be standing out because of their race.

Anonymous said…
In response to some of the questions above:
At least for the past several years, all 10th and 11th graders at Garfield take the PSAT during the school day sometime in October. (There was one year where they were not going to offer it to 10th graders, but they eventually made it work.) Maybe some kids opt out, but it doesn't seem to be a large percentage who opt out. I think this is generally the protocol at all high schools in the district, but that is just based on word of mouth, so other parents can confirm that information.
There was nothing the district did to recognize NMSFs to my knowledge. But there is an "honors night" at Garfield for seniors that includes recognition for a number of different awards. National Merit is one of those. I think Ballard HS also has a similar award recognition night, and I assume other schools do as well.
Much confusion exists around this scholarship opportunity. The National Merit organization sponsors some awards, some colleges provide scholarship awards, and some companies sponsor awards. Because some colleges provide only need-based financial aid and no merit awards, the scholarship can be meaningful to families who do not qualified for need-based aid. Scholarships can be worth as much as $5,000 (the awards sponsored by the National Merit organization itself are worth $2500).
PSAT is not the sole basis for the award, though obviously it is a significant factor. According to the National Merit website FAQs, "Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements, which are provided in the information they receive with their scholarship applications and are also listed in the PSAT/NMSQT® Student Guide. These include completing an application, having a consistently very high academic record, writing an essay, being endorsed and recommended by a school official, and taking the SAT® and earning a score that confirms the PSAT/NMSQT performance. Note: Beginning with the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program, Semifinalists may submit confirming scores from the SAT® or ACT® to meet the Finalist requirement."

Bulldog Parent
Anonymous said…
Lakeside specifically targets the best and brightest in its recruiting efforts and has such a large endowment that it can reduce tuition for highly desirable students to almost nothing. I personally know one of the their NMSF's this year, and that kid and a sibling attend Lakeside for less money than some people spend at Starbucks in a year. Rainier Scholars, top athletes, etc., are all recruited the same way.

Comparing Lakeside and SPS HCC kids is apples and oranges.

My view

Anonymous said…
@ Bulldog Parent, to further clarify, I believe the additional criteria you mentioned are for moving from the semi-finalist to the finalist status. A very high percentage of those who make SF also make F, because the essay is simple, the letter of rec is more a formality, the SAT/ACT thresholds are lower (I think they just want to ensure your NMSF score wasn't completely illegitimate), etc. In other words, if you qualify as NMSF, you are almost a shoe-in for finalist.

Many of the scholarships are only granted to students whose parents work at company x, or for students who want to go to specific schools (e.g., half-tuition at a particular school, usually a school not likely to be of interest to a top student). For students who want an inexpensive education and who don't qualify for a lot of financial aid--or who are planning on graduate school and don't want to build up debt as an undergrad), sone of the National Merit perks may come into play. For many, however, they won't. Highly ranked schools get tons of applicants from NMSFs and NMSs, so I don't think it means much more most.

@ My View, I think we should avoid using terms like "the best and brightest." High grades and/or test scores don't make a kid the best, and they also don't demonstrate that they are the brightest.

"IPP morphed into APP with its easier entrance requirements and became an escape for white parents who didn’t like integrated schools. After busing was eliminated APP and then HCC came to be seen as a way to escape low performing and hard to teach students."

In your opinion. Unless you have some kind of data or proof. I'll wait.

If the HCC cohort wasn’t so racially homogeneous, we’d probably see more kids of color in it and a number of them would have been Merit scholars.

Do you see the issue? Rainier Scholars takes the top scholars of color and they get free admission to Lakeside and other top private schools. If some of those kids weren't in RS, they'd probably be in HCC. I have advocated for a long time that the HCC parents of color should be asked to do meet and learn forums in the southend so that other parents of color can see the benefits. It's hard to build up a cohort without that kind of solidarity.

Also, Lakeside may have some students of color - I haven't checked lately - but the school is mostly white and Asian.
Anonymous said…
Lakeside was 8% African American last year. What was HCC?

Lakeside was 36% European American last year. What was HCC?

Lakeside is very well balanced by race and reflects the community much better than HCC. And that’s no doubt a strong factor in why gifted students of color prefer it to SPS. They can be in classes with kids who look like them, just like the Crosscut writer noted in their essay. That’s extremely important for students.

Anonymous said…
How many students at Lakeside are 2e?

NW Parent
Anonymous said…
JJ says: “All the top students of color go to Lakeside, other private’s or move out of the district to where it’s more diverse.”

And also: All the top white students go to Lakeside, other private’s or move out of the district to where it’s more diverse. And, for the same reason. Sure is a lot of Lakeside envy on this blog. Don’t worry, they’re used to it. The PSAT obsession is absurd and nobody practices for it nor gets special tutors for that. Even at Lakeside. PSAT isn’t pushed hard anywhere. The PSAT is simply a limited practice test for the SAT with no real stakes in play except a brief accolade if you win big. A practice test. You can bet your last dollar there’s plenty of prep at Lakeside and everywhere else, for the ACT/SAT after PSAT scores are established as a baseline. ACT/SAT are what colleges actually care about. And they really do care. But the lack of hoopla around the PSAT does make it a good point of comparison. People haven’t really studied for it, there is nothing except a huge honor riding on it, it’s a great measure. SPS should use Garfield’s PSAT scores to validate Honors for All LA. This year’s PSAT scores are from students who were in Honors for All, correct? It appears that a slight improvement, or at least, no regression in PSAT top scores have resulted from Honors for All. It would seem Garfield’s decent results should quell fears of academic regression for the best and brightest as so feared previously.


Hum Hum said…
Um, there's no HCC in high school in Seattle? I mean, you can have an HC in your school record, but there's no HCC-only classes in high school. If I got a free ride to Lakeside, I would go there in a heartbeat. Lakeside's average class size is 17.
Anonymous said…
There are HC pathways to IHS and GHS, and now LHS. In theory, you should have enough of a cohort that higher level classes might still be offered (AP Physics C, AP Calc BC, etc.). In reality, the cohort is fractured to the point that it varies year to year whether some of the most advanced coursework might be offered. Yes, AP classes are open to all students with the needed pre-reqs, and individual classes are not intentionally cohorted, but some classes might still be made up of majority AL/HC identified students because they have been accelerated the most (classes that somehow seem to be on the chopping block each year).

now RS
Anonymous said…
Folks, did you not see the numbers of NMSF PUBLIC school students on the east side?

Focusing on Lakeside is a straw man argument. The numbers in SPS pale in comparison to the PUBLIC schools on the east side.

There is HC in middle and high school in SPS and it is largely based on tracking. HC students also get preferential choice of classes.

@Melissa "If some of those kids weren't in RS, they'd probably be in HCC."

Are you serious??

They started Rainier Scholars because students of color were not being qualified for advanced learning in SPS. It used to be spelled out on their website. Didn't you know that?
No, they wouldn't qualify for HC in SPS because the entrance criteria excludes them.

Call Rainier Scholars and please stop spreading false information.


Anonymous said…
Enough, you presume success on the east side is a product of the schools and not something else. Median home values are $200k above Seattle’s, demographics are different. Schools play a part, but we’d be naive to think it’s the only factor at play when it comes to student achievement.

See Nuance
I'm not spreading false information; that's my opinion. Also, how does the entrance criteria exclude anyone? Yes, the testing is probably biased and yet HCC does have kids of color in the program.

I'll put a call into Lakeside to ask them about how many students come from Seattle and how many come from surrounding communities.

Popular posts from this blog

Tuesday Open Thread

Seattle Public Schools and Their Principals

COVID Issues Heating up for Seattle Public Schools