Unpacking Last Night's Lollapalooza of a Board Meeting


  • (literally) screaming woman going way over time? Check.  
  • City Council gadfly jerk calling President Harris, rude? Check.
  • Cute, polite kids thanking the Board and especially Superintendent Juneau for saving Licton Springs K-8? Check
  • Out of nowhere parents of color having their statements translated about claiming no info at their schools about AL, wanting access for their child to AL and, amazingly enough, wanting said AL at their attendance school.  Just like that.  
  • But also, a couple of parents pointing out that losing the cohort for HSS would actually not be equitable and hurt the students furthest from educational justice. One parent said other parents need "empowerment" to access these services, not changing the whole system. 
  • Librarian pointing out that some elementary schools have counselors via WSS, some via PTSA funding and some with none (usually low-income population schools).
  • Chris Jackins pointing out that the IRB committee for curriculum adoptions by law is supposed to have members approved by Board.  He also pointed out that several changes to Board policy, moving power from the Board to the Superintendent, would not be a good idea. 
  • An amazing realization, this is one of the few times I have seen the Speakers list made up of POC.  Many teachers who are POC came to speak in support of Ethnic Studies. 
I kind of went in and out watching the meeting at home so my notes may seem scattershot.

One funny moment - Director Scott Pinkham talking about his availability but not during the US/Oregon football game this Saturday.

He also defended not changing the AL policy until after the work of the Taskforce is done.  He said he wants to see ways to allow more students to access AL.

Director Rick Burke, calling in from a roadside in Baltimore, said he wanted to apologize for the C&E meeting.  I tried to hear why but it was not clear.  But he did say one thing - to the Board and the Superintendent - that I heard loud and clear.

We need to do more "by listening and not with authority and power."

I'll take the liberty of thinking it possibly meant "we listen to those we serve and not bully or shove down those people's throats" policies and procedures.

He said he was just trying to give the Advanced Learning Taskforce "the space to do their work" so they (the Board and Super) can build on it.

So I skipped most of the Action items and came in where an ailing CAO Diane DeBacker explained that the district had approved of creating Ethnic Studies and was working on a process to approve curriculum and had "approved a consultant or contractor" to help with the work.  But I thought TCG wanted staff.   If you end up being the consultant or contractor, good luck with that.

On the Research and Evaluation Plan, Director Geary said the work looked ambitious but the C&I committee had been "reassured they - R&E - can do the work."  Well, that's a relief so I guess the Board's gaze can go elsewhere.

My notes reflect me counting down from 5 to 0 in anticipation of President Harris asking about the "case study" mentioned in the BAR on Garfield's Honors for All.  And she did.

DeBacker referred to page 3 of the BAR under "Detracking."  She said they "just started" that case study and will put the findings "in a Friday memo."  Wait, what? If the Super and staff think that detracking is the way to go - and indeed have shaped the next Student Transition Plan to include detracking - how come parents don't get a report?

Harris asked if it would be a report with data or anecdotal?  DeBacker said, both. 
  She also asked about the roll-out of MTSS and data on its efficacy.
  Then there was discussion of Policy 2022 around "electronic uses of the Internet."  Burke said this went thru C&I.  Geary chimed in and flatly said "I won't vote for this."

There seems to be two threads of thought on the Board about this issue, specifically about cell phones in classrooms.  (I'll have a separate thread on the  news story on KUOW a couple of weeks back about cell phone usage in the classroom).

Hersey said education is moving into a landscape where kids will have phones and it's up to educators to teach them how to use them properly at school.  (I note he has no children but I'll chime in and state that parents also have a right to chime in about cell phone use at school.)

He said there is more and more tech in classrooms and teachers will miss opportunities.  

He then made the claim that every 2nd grader in his class "has a phone."  Really? I think I might give his principal a ring and ask about that because I very much doubt every single 2nd grader in his class has a cell phone. 

Director Mack said it was not right to expect that every single kid would have a phone AND that parents would allow its use in class. Good point.  The district (and its teachers) have no right to expect a student to produce their phone and use their dataplan to do school work. And this is especially true if kids are working in a team and only one kid has a phone.  I don't believe parents should have to pay for technology use without clear guidelines.

Director Burke also ask staff if the protections on computers in classrooms - via filters - would be there for phones.  Staff had no answer.  The district puts up walls to protect kids from accessing things they should not be reading or seeing.

Harris said she, too, "would push back on this" and "it's not ready for primetime" because of a lack of engagement with parents.

But they came to the Student Transition Plan discussion and that's where the wheels came off the bus.

Called to the podium for this discussion were head of Enrollment, Ashley Davies, and head of Student Services and Supports, Concie Pedroza.  Pedroza read thru the new actions/changes for the Transition Plan. 

Things like:

- moving Licton Springs K-8 to Whitman.  It appears from the public testimony that some families are giving into this idea.  
- new geozones for several schools
- Updating Advanced Learning (AL) assignment language and tiebreakers to reflect the fact that all schools offer AL programming and eligible students will be assigned to AL at their attendance area school. 
Just with a snap of their fingers, all these changes.  Oh and Spectrum is dead but no one in the district has the intellectual honesty to just say that outloud.

Then they came to the part about STEM by TAF at WMS.  (Except that it wasn't in the Plan.)

Apparently there were two sheets with two different plans for this effort.  President Harris said they had not been publicly available and therefore would not be discussed.  Juneau earnestly asked if they couldn't just be read into the record. Even Pedroza blanched at that.  Everyone was going to sit there for 15 minutes as these were read into the record? No thanks.

Director Pinkham asked about the transportation costs for Licton Springs K-8 students to the Webster Building in Ballard.  He asked because it only had the costs for a year and what did that mean? Davies said year-to-year costs do change and that's why there was just one year (at $83K).   Pinkham pressed on, would that mean forever transportation?  Davies said students would be grandfathered in until they finished at LS K-8.

He also later asked about what happens to the LS K-8 section of the RESMS building.  Would it need remodeling? Staff were vague.

Geary chimed in for the second time that night, saying she would not support this plan because of the Thornton Creek students who would go to JAMS instead of Eckstein.  She said many students would be in the music program that flows from TC to Eckstein.   I rarely have seen a director take such a direct stand for a single school population.

Mack said it was unclear to her if STEM by TAF at WMS could happen in the Fall of 2020.  (The MOU signed by the district and TAF indicates a full plan by September 2019 and a vote in September 2019.  Clearly, that didn't happen.  And that MOU? It's for a 6-12 school, a fact which I missed.)

Juneau said the engagement with community was ongoing but said they decided against using Creative Approach.  She did that without real acknowledgement that the teaching staff had firmly said no.  (My intel is that teachers just didn't know what they were voting on - no one had elucidated the program and how it would work at WMS.  Hard to vote for the unknown.)

There is a community meeting about this Saturday, October 19, 2019 from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m, at Washington Middle School to learn more about the proposed partnership with TAF. 

Davies did explain that the difficulty of making a single change to the Plan "is that the Plan would live on and it could be confusing to parents." 

Clearly, HCC as a cohort model is a thorn in the side to this process.  But you can't change HCC just at one school (well, they did for Spectrum but I suspect it would be harder to do for HCC).   But it appears that HCC is going to become a blended model but when is a good question.

Lastly, I do want to address a couple of speakers who may have changed the rules for public testimony all by themselves.

I had noted from the agenda that one speaker, Sebrena Burr, had stated her comments would be:

Racists on the School Board making decisions for "Those Furthest From Educational Justice" Lives; Amending Board Policy No. 2015, Selection and Adoption of Instructional Materials, and Board Policy No. 2020, Waiver of Basic Instructional Materials & Revisions to Board Policy No. 2022, Electronic Resources and Use of the Internet

I wrote to the Board to give them a heads up as I thought name-calling was not allowed.  President Harris said the Board was asking district legal counsel about testimony and the First Amendment.  

I'm confused.

Like the City Council, the Board has rules for testimony.  Length of time, has to be a topic on the agenda, etc.  An official public meeting can't be a free-for-all.

Also, the Board doesn't allow any district employee to be called out by name if a parent or community member is upset with that employee. 
But apparently, I am wrong about all of that.  Because there were two speakers who broke every rule and yet, nothing happened.  I plan to keep it in mind for the future if I want to address the Board and Superintendent.  Fair is fair.

Turns out Burr decided against calling anyone on the Board racist but she certainly called me a racist. Twice.  (I'll just interject here that if there's anyone's opinion I don't give a rat's ass about, it's hers. She's desperately trying to remain relevant in SPS and her efforts are more than a little sad.)

But really, that was the least of it as her performance - and there's no other word for it - went (loudly) on.  (And I don't want to hear about "calling a woman POC loud" - she was literally screaming.)

She talked about her meditation (or maybe medication, hard to know), how Emijah Smith's character was "lynched" and she is "our Queen."  (And fyi, I did know about Smith's legal troubles but said NOTHING until KUOW and the Times did.) 

She said black women built this country without pay or acknowledgement.  

She went on a tear about Director Mack? at a cocktail party.  

Totally unhinged.  

Know what I know about public speaking? You never yell, call names or swear.  Do that and you lose most of your audience and/or they won't know what you are talking about.  I note that at the Democratic debate I could see so much passion from Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris but you didn't see them shouting.  Great and important thoughts can be made in a calm manner but that's only if you really are putting forth an argument for change rather than a rant.

Burr went on for at least five minutes without a single Board member, particularly President Harris, calling a halt to it.  There were children in the room who witnessed this and boy, I wouldn't like to be on the car ride home explaining that one. You know, because we teach children that we don't allow name-calling.

After Burr came Alex Tsimmerman who was a pain in the ass at City Council meetings and is now (sadly) a pain in the ass at School Board meetings.  He started out his rant about the Board being fascists and when he took a breath, President Harris asked how his remarks related to the agenda. He called her rude and she backed right off. 

So apparently, the rules of public testimony are out the window.  Anything you want to say will be allowed at any length.

The times they are a'changing in SPS.


Shameful said…
"Out of nowhere parents of color having their statements translated about claiming no info at their schools about AL, wanting access for their child to AL and, amazingly enough, wanting said AL at their attendance school. Just like that. " Check.

Sure seems like the district is recruiting vulnerable populations to support breaking HCC pathways with the belief that they will have access to advanced learning!!
And Shameful, it's possible. Except that the district has not prepared schools for this. With training and resources. So it's really just words. And the district allegedly had ALOs but that was also just words and zero enforcement.

Superintendent Juneau should really read up on district history.
Anonymous said…
Shameful, you are so far removed from the reality of "vulnerable population" reality that I forgive you. To suggest those parents were there by district recruital is highly offensive.

Delete me
Anonymous said…
I’m going to guess Manuela Slye recruited those parents as her daughter was translating for them. It’s hypocritical to demand that highly capable students remain in their neighborhood schools while driving your kids all over the city to access dual language programs.

I wish those parents had described the kind of advanced learning services they want in their schools. Having just realized those services exist, they might have some fresh ideas.

I would rather listen to Alex Tsimmerman for five minutes than Sebrena Burr and just thinking about him makes me cringe in embarrassment.

Public testimony should be used to comment on specific decisions the board is currently considering or to bring a solvable problem to the board’s attention. It is not the time to scream about your feelings, call people names or complain that the board chose a black male teacher to fill Betty Patu’s spot rather than a woman who attacked an unarmed young woman on her porch with a baseball bat. Burr’s daughter was in the audience last night, the poor thing.

The board should ban Tsimmerman and Burr from the testimony list.

Madison Parent
Anonymous said…
Gee, the power balance in this district has certainly changed.

I agree that it is very offensive to write off legitimate opinions of people outside the demographics of this blog as somehow being coerced or recruited.

The gravy train known as HCC is on life support, at best.

Gig's Up
Anonymous said…
"gravy train" -- ha ha ha ha

You clearly don't know what you're talking about, Gig's Up.

The real "gravy train" is the SPS central office, starting with the obscene salary of the superintendent, followed by the useless Ed directors, and all the central admin staff who've been on the payroll for years and years....doing what, exactly?

Thanks for the laugh.

SPS Bloat
Shameful said…
With boundary changes etc., the district can't predict any meaningful cohort in any classrooms. Advanced learning via differentiation is theoretical. Families are being fooled.

A POC testified in support of existing model. This parent understood that breaking HCC will not provide meaningful advanced learning options. Some members of the board ignore the voices of these parents.
Discuss said…
Do board members see POC standing in front of them advocating to keep existing model?
Anonymous said…
Unfortunately Gigs, the delicious gravy train doesn’t derail easily or quickly. There’s a long trail to the graveyard of bureaucrats who have taken various potshots which haven’t quite killed the beast. The best plan to was to let it love itself to death. When half of all the white kids get a special gravy ticket, then who could argue with HCC in every school? Followed by blending. That’s kinda where we are now. Juneau May have overplayed her hand though with her over the top antics.

NE Parent said…
MTSS for Advanced Learners is a lie and joke.

When my son was in 2nd grade, he was assigned to "Spectrum".

At the time, he did receive walk-to-math, but that was it.

How do I know? I asked in the school office, and was told there was nothing written down regarding the Spectrum Services. I met with principal, and was told there was nothing for Spectrum besides walk-to-math. I spoke with the Director of Advanced Learning, and was told that the services provided were up to the school and that all Advanced Learning did was provide identification and professional development when asked.

During my son's teacher conference, I asked what was being done for Spectrum, and was told "walk-to-math" and that was it. When I asked the teacher about receiving PD for MTSS, the answer was they had received none.

What does Spectrum consist of today at that school? Absolutely nothing, because the SCHOOL ELIMINATED WALK-TO-MATH. Students that were ahead had to redo a year of math.

At the district level, in class differentiation for advanced learners is a lie. That doesn't mean some teachers don't differentiate, but I've asked for years, and I can guarantee you from a district standpoint it doesn't exist.

Take the new Middle School Math Curriculum that the district spent big $$$ on. Last year, I asked that the online practice activities be enabled for my son. My son's teacher tried, but couldn't figure out how to make them optional. So, the teacher contacted the math department, and in fact, there is no way to make the online practice optional without going in and assigning to individual students on a per lesson basis.

I asked three times, before giving up, because clearly it was a huge hassle for the teacher. Instead of focusing on "Ethnic Math", the district could try and figure out how to make the online interactive extra practice available (that is already paid for) available to those students that want to do it.

In my son's case, we paid for online IXL math as a supplement instead, because he never receives any math homework.

We are fortunate in that our son has generally attended high scoring schools.

The students that will suffer most under the district's new plan will be the advanced low income and minotiry HCC students from low performing schools, because they are going to get sent back into classrooms where the teacher's primary focus is on "failing" students. For district staff to claim they will receive advanced differentiated instruction through MTSS is an absolute lie.

Anonymous said…
"The students that will suffer most under the district's new plan will be the advanced low income and minority HCC students from low performing schools"

Well, then, what about the students who are already in such schools who aren't low achieving? Where is your concern for them?

This system already warehouses highly impacted students into certain schools based on residence.

When concern about the impacts is only brought up as a talking point to preserve HCC/HC, and never about the justice of having these existing highly impacted schools in the first place, the "concern" is disingenuous at best.

Gig's Up
Anonymous said…
Gig's Up, then why aren't you asking for AL at your school? I mean real AL, not this say we do it but don't. There is nothing stopping the district from doing this already. Why does it require eliminating HCC? The district needs to prove that they can do AL at every school before they eliminate HCC. No trusts the district to be able to do that.

Isn't it ironic said…
I find it ironic Jill Geary talks about social equity and the need for changes. But doesn't want it when it affects her child's precious school. Talk about privilege.
Anonymous said…
To the people who think they are fighting the good fight by arguing against HCC kids being able to access a cohort of peers, I ask you this question. Do you truly think the district can serve those kids well enough in low (HCC) population schools? What does this plan actually look like? My assumption is ALO. That amounted to no difference in our school. However, for my kid, it made no large difference. We were fortunate enough to have enough peers in our neighborhood schools. In fact, my HCC kid is going to their neighborhood school now and has enough peers. I suspect when this change is made, there will still be those arguing for equity particularly at those schools because in practice the district will not be providing much of anything to them regarding advanced learning coursework or peers. I also wonder if the district will do away with AP and IB courses as unless they do away with core classes, they are self select and not honors for all.

A Perspective
Anonymous said…
Gigs up,

Remember the fight for choice, the district's promise to investigate making a FRL tie breaker for the 10% choice seats & boundary decisions. The promise from MGJ that by standardizing all classrooms the inequities would be eliminated so we wouldn't need school choice. Yet here we are.

Did standardizing curriculum, ending the choice system, centralizing decision-making, closing or hamstringing alternative schools address the inequities between schools? And you blame HCC parents when they were the one group not involved in those battles because they weren't affected.

This district addresses every problem with a top-down, throw the baby out with the bathwater solution. That hasn't worked so far. They just end up disrupting anything that is working for individual school communities and not improving things for the schools most needing help. Maybe there needs to be an ed director who will spend time in a school that is highly impacted and bring resources, xtra highly trained staff, wrap around services, and staff training in a long term, intensive effort to improve things for those kids.

HS Parent1
Anonymous said…
Right HP. The kids in a cohort were already in schools that are high performing. What’s the problem? The worry is really for those kids in low performing schools? They don’t send kids to HCC anyway. So, no prob really. All these parents say there is no differentiation but are they actually in the school all day. ALO was great at many schools and provided enrichment and writing opportunities. Btw. Every writing assignment is already differentiated. Is somebody stopping kids from reading what they want?

Anonymous said…
@PC Also, you know what kids like my kid would benefit, as there will be more HCC kids in their neighborhood school. In elementary they became friends with a few HCC kids who still remained in their neighborhood school, but as these schools ALSO have so many spectrum eligible & single subject gifted kids they had decent math through walk to malt, writing through writers workshop etc. Friendships were more difficult though until middle when they moved to the HCC program with a higher critical mass. High school is at a neighborhood school with lots of HCC identified and spectrum kids. It's interesting how they do find each other through clubs and activities in high school. If the district does away with AP and IB classes that will be a real problem for all the kids, but unfortunately I can envision it with the current way thinking, as it does not conform to "honors for all". I do feel quite sorry for the HCC kids who will be in schools with access to very few peers. It will be rough. This plan mostly hurts those kids for certain.

A Parent

"ALO was great at many schools and provided enrichment and writing opportunities."

Really? I have never heard one parent tell me a school where it was in place and working. Could you tell me a couple?
Anonymous said…
@Gig's Up,

Someone said: "The students that will suffer most under the district's new plan will be the advanced low income and minority HCC students from low performing schools"

To which you responded: "Well, then, what about the students who are already in such schools who aren't low achieving? Where is your concern for them?"

I assume you mean the non-HCC students in those low performing schools, right? Because, as you said, "this system already warehouses highly impacted students into certain schools based on residence." Then you complained that "concern about the impacts is only brought up as a talking point to preserve HCC/HC, and never about the justice of having these existing highly impacted schools in the first place."

I think you're both right and wrong.

You're right that the performance gap between schools across the district is something that should concern us all (and I think it does, but it's hard to know what to do about it since the real solution is a more integrated assignment plan but the district seems committed to the NSAP, so I'm not sure what exactly you think parents are supposed to be doing to show their concern, besides fighting for quality curricula, sufficient staffing, meaningful board oversight, transparency, etc.).

You're wrong, however--and this is an important one--in thinking that eliminating (or mostly eliminating) HCC and returning HCC students to their neighborhood schools is going to have any significant positive impact on most of those low performing schools that you say you are so concerned about. Low performing schools generally have few students who qualify for HCC in the first place, so there aren't many students who will "return"--and when they do, they aren't going to have any impact on the quality of services provided overall at the school, since the school will still be focused on serving it's main (current) population. The only real difference is that those few HC students from those low performing schools will get even more screwed over, since any "warehousing" that is happening will be of a much greater magnitude for them. How does that help?

To be fair, one could just as easily make the case, then, that your own "concern" for the students "warehoused" at these low performing schools is "disingenuous at best," since nothing will change for those students, and your opposition to HCC is based on philosophical grounds rather than an actual concern for academic outcomes. Do you see how it could come across that way?

I'm willing to assume that most people opposed to HCC are decent people who do care about what's best for all students, but sometimes it's hard. When changes are pushed that seem (a) not likely to improve services for those most in need, but (b) likely to reduce services for those who are high achievers, then (c) it's easy to believe that serving all students well is not really the motivation after all...

all types
Anonymous said…
Both of my kids attended their neighborhood elementary school. During my 10 years as a parent there, I saw many different strategies for serving advanced learners, including Walk to Math, Walk Up to Math, classrooms where higher-performing kids had different-colored math work sheets than those working at grade level, pull-outs for kids needing intervention, etc... Lots of pros and cons to each. Walk Up to Math seemed to work pretty well, but you eventually run out of classrooms and/or teachers at the upper grade levels.

We had one amazing principal who set up a long table in the school lobby and personally taught 5th graders 6th grade-level math for the entire school year, because the school budget didn't allow for the hiring of a math specialist.

Math specialists that are funded with Title 1 funds are only supposed to work with kids needing intervention to get up to grade level. Title 1-funded math specialists are not allowed to work with kids who are working above grade level. If SPS is serious about serving advanced learners at their attendance-area school, then I hope they are planning to change the WSS formula to include funding for math specialists at all schools (in addition, of course, to counselors, nurses, librarians, and family support workers).

On the topic of Thornton Creek's proposed geo-zone change, and Director Geary's opposition to them. If I am reading the map correctly, the Thornton Creek geo-zone changes that are being analysed are well south of the JAMS/Eckstein Service area border, and the entire geo-zone for Thornton Creek will remain well-within the Eckstein Service area if the changes are accepted, with NE 95th St as the northern boundary. Thornton Creek used to attract a lot of families who live north of NE 95th (before the last round of boundary changes), so Thornton Creek kids have been attending both JAMS and Eckstein since JAMS opened in 2014. The number of TC kids going to JAMS will lessen as those living north of 95th who entered Thornton Creek prior to the boundary/geozone changes age out. Both Eckstein and JAMS have excellent music programs.

-North-end Mom
Anonymous said…
@PC, even if it's true that "ALO was great at many schools and provided enrichment and writing opportunities"--which I doubt--you do realize that the district has a LOT of schools, right? Not all kids are lucky enough to go to the few that may have done a decent job providing ALOs.

Remember, ALO services were not district-defined. There was absolutely no requirement to provide specific enrichment or writing opportunities. My own HC-eligible kids were at an "ALO" school one year, and that meant the older kid got "walk to math" once per week (no actual math instruction, but more of a math-related discussion led by a parent volunteer). The other kid got a "walk to ELA" type class one hour per week, but for only half the year (since there were a lot of Spectrum kids and they needed to break them into a more manageable group. The ELA class didn't really do much, although they did get a special field trip. I chaperoned, and felt bad that only the ALO kids got the field trip since it wasn't really ELA related and I think all kids would have liked it. So overall, ALO at our school was pretty much a joke.

As to your comment that "every writing assignment is already differentiated" and nobody "is stopping kids from reading what they want," that's not really the point, and it reinforces the idea that rigor is only for those who are self-motivated to do more. It also sounds like the old "they'll be fine regardless" approach, which has been shown NOT to be true. Yes, writing assignments are differentiated in the sense that you can use higher level vocabulary and construct more complex sentence structure if you like (which is pretty obvious across the board, but ignores the fact that public education is supposed to be about providing actual instruction, not just letting kids learn on their own), but writing assignments are often NOT differentiated in terms of the writing prompt itself, which often leaves more advanced kids too bored to even care about responding to such a simplistic idea. I've seen it many times, and those who work with gifted kids understand the importance of a prompt that can engage them at their level.

Oh, and sometimes teachers ARE stopping kids from reading what they want. Our ALO school only allowed kids from a certain grade to read up to a certain level (the books were all leveled by letter) in class during reading time. Of course kids are free to read more complex books in their free time, but unfortunately teachers often thwart those efforts, too, by assigning a lot of busy work and art-type projects to be done at home--things that take up time but don't really allow for much learning, and get in the way of the real learning that could be taking place at home. I've long been a staunch public school supporter, but SPS has soured me on the ability of public schools to sufficiently serve gifted children. It's a wasted opportunity (in both directions).

Anonymous said…
Does the geozone change to Thornton Creek mean that kids north of 95th would no longer be able to attend? I am confused. That seems really unfair. Is it because of Cedar Park which is similar to Salmon Bay and Thornton Creek. Do they want people north of 95th to go there instead of Thornton Creek?

Anonymous said…
So I went and read it and it would actually open up the geozone to more kids north of 95th. Does she not remember that originally kids from Thornton Creek did not go to Eckstein? They bused it over to Salmon Bay for 6-8th grade. I'm all for opening the geo-zones for the option schools.

Anonymous said…
Coach! Coach!, can I stay on my own and get in a few more reps? No son that would make you an independent learner and we can't have that. We need to make a special category first, lets call it HCC. And we will make sure none of those non independent learners will be around to dumb it down.

Maybe we can get you your very own field.

Get it.
Anonymous said…
The dissolution of HCC, without an explicit plan for serving students in neighborhood schools, is not a plan. MTSS? Not a plan. Maybe they will, maybe they won't, in class differentiation? Not a plan. Going "deeper" with grade level content? Not a plan.

How will students be identified, what services will be offered, and what level of acceleration will students be able to access?

We have yet to see a plan.

-no plan
Anonymous said…
@all types --"I'm willing to assume that most people opposed to HCC are decent people who do care about what's best for all students, but sometimes it's hard. When changes are pushed that seem (a) not likely to improve services for those most in need, but (b) likely to reduce services for those who are high achievers, then (c) it's easy to believe that serving all students well is not really the motivation after all..."

Thanks for your analysis of Gig's Up comments, but I think you are too generous. When someone refers to a legally mandated service to help students with atypical learning needs as "a beast" or a "gig" or a "gravy train" I tend to doubt their motivations are magnanimous.

The real "beast" here is their own hateful attitude toward HCC kids. Or perhaps a certain

Green Monster
Anonymous said…
@HP I'm confused. Where did you see something in writing saying that the proposed TC geo-zone changes will move the geozone north of 95th?

The northern boundary for the TC geozone has been set at 95th for a while now (I believe since JAMS opened in 2014). It has been the dedicated option school for the Eckstein Service Area since that time. In the transition plan for 2020-21, the northern boundary of the TC geo-zone remains at 95th (see the map on page 54 of the Transition Plan BAR from Wednesday's meeting).

Geo-zones are used for tiebreakers. They are not absolute boundaries. Families from outside the geo-zone can still apply for TC, but those living within the geo-zone get priority enrollment.

Since TC is designated as the option school for the Eckstein Service Area, if a TC family lives outside of the Eckstein attendance area (and also outside of the TC walk zone), then they will not receive transportation to TC. Also, TC families who live within the Jane Addams attendance area will be assigned to Jane Addams MS because of where they live. There is no guaranteed pathway (that I'm aware of) between a certain option school and a certain middle school. Middle school and high school assignments are based upon residence.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said…
At the school board candidate forum last night Liza Rankin made it clear she does not understand research on giftedness and best practices for HCC students is a cohort. She stated a few times that she thought the cohort existed solely for the benefit of the adult convenience rather than needs of the students. So I know who I'm not voting for.

NW Parent
Anonymous said…
I was there and nooooo, that is not what she said. That is what you chose to spread on this blog because she will not come here and defend herself.

Undecided voter
Anonymous said…
What percent of JAMS students are Eckstein area, HC identified students?

From SPS 2018-19 enrollment reports, 95% of students attending Eckstein are from the Eckstein reference area; 67% of JAMS students are from the JAMS attendance area and 31% (291/936) of JAMS students are Eckstein attendance area students. The Eckstein students attending JAMS constitute 21% of the total Eckstein MS population (attending SPS).

The same reports indicate just over 260 HC enrolled students from Gr 6-8 in the Eckstein area (mostly attending JAMS, but also HWK8, HIMS, Eckstein...). About 90 HC enrolled students per grade. By comparison, JAMS has about 20 HC enrolled students per grade (not all attending JAMS). And this is where you have to wonder what will happen if the plan is to return students to their neighborhood attendance area schools.

numbers question
Anonymous said…
As a side note, students near the Seattle/Shoreline border might also choose Shoreline schools, with this exception:

The District is closed to new non-Shoreline resident applications for grades K-6, Headstart and Early Childhood Education and Einstein Middle School. Due to a reduction in available classroom space during construction, Einstein Middle School is closed to new non-Shoreline Resident applications for the 2019-20 school year.

numbers question
Anonymous said…
I didn't see any definite new boundaries for Thornton Creek, just that the proposal was to open up the geozone to walk boundaries. Not sure how much bigger that would be. It still doesn't change the fact that kids used to go to Salmon Bay for 6-8 and now they are already split between Eckstein and JAMS.

Voters should be aware that many of the people who approve of the dismantling of HCC would also like to see Option Schools go away. They have been presented as white flight choices rather than alternative learning styles or focus. Eliminating option schools would just open the district to more charter schools.

kellie said…
In all my years of advocacy, there has been one true constant. SPS's ability to divide and conquer. It's the oldest strategy in the book and SPS is a true master of this tactic.

This conversation has been framed as equity vs HCC, or AL-for-the-lucky vs AL-for-all. But that framework is really disingenuous.

The larger conversation is really tracking vs de-tracking, in all of its forms. The de-tracking advocates have a point. The negatives of tracking are well known and well documented.

That said, detracting advocates are taking a very firm blue sky approach to the problem, that is beyond unrealistic.

The original point of tracking was that tracking was cost-effective. By batching students of similar abilities, you are able to create some economies of scale. The original intent was that this cost-savings could be re-invested in the students who need it most. (as usual, theory and reality have little in common)

De-tracking has some great upsides. The downside is the cost. True de-tracking is EXPENSIVE.

The real problem here is the unwillingness to be honest and transparent about the costs. SPS has a long history of looking for that free lunch. Implementing the grand vision, without doing the hard work to put meaningful budget in place.

De-tracking or MTSS could work. In order to work, there must be smaller class sizes and substantial built-in supports. SPS was unwilling to even acknowledge their own enrollment numbers and provide teachers at the SEA contracted ratios.

Show me the budget. If there is no budget, this is just optics and press releases.

Anonymous said…
What they implement will indeed be school dependent. Our experience was same as DisAPP. Eventually the principal did away with the Walk to Math and "equity" was given as a reason.... so much for ALO. My kid is one of those who test above 99% on cognitive, as well as on MAP tests. Not sure if the district would retain something for them or now as WJ stated to Melissa in an interview.

Academically neighborhood elementary was no where near as rigorous as HCC middle, and friendships were much harder in the neighborhood school. It was not the worst it could have been because of the sheer number of spectrum identified and single subject gifted kids in the school. That will be the difference between schools which as others have pointed out has more to do with address. This will be "fake equity" and optics as others have pointed out.

My father was extremely gifted and as a child went to the lowest income schools in the South Bronx. The high school was eventually closed due to being low performing. Graduation rates were 20% at that time. I don't even know if they had gifted programming during that time period. Without going into more detail, that was a true travesty. You know what he did? When he was an adult he moved his kids away from the city where they received an education 100 times better than his own.

A Parent
Anonymous said…
Yes. Deluxe services, extra languages offerings, better college counseling, best musical offerings, luxurious field trips, reduced class sizes, 2 or three extra choices in school assignment offerings (where others get none), more respect, presumed competence. That’s the gravy train! And so right! It brings out the green monster. Inequity always does.

Anonymous said…
@Get it, apparently you don't. Asking the Coach to stay and do a few more reps is exactly the opposite of what we're talking about here. After all, doing a few "extra" reps assumes the Coach has already shown you the basics of what exercises to do and how to do them properly. Doing some extra reps of what you were taught is not really "independent learning"--it's just doing a little extra of what you were already taught to do.

The "independent learning" you were suggesting HC students do, on the other hand, would most likely be based on no additional instruction. You don't just do extra reps of vocabulary words or writing to learn more--you need instruction, guidance, etc. (Otherwise, why even have teachers in the first place?). "Independent learning" in this context means that HC students should just teach themselves what they should be learning, although I'm not really sure how they'll know what that is. My own HC student routinely gets scolded by his teacher for trying to look things up and go deeper when the lesson is too simplistic, so apparently teachers don't really like independent learning in the classroom. I guess they want kids to waste their time in class then do the independent learning on their own time. So I guess HC kids are supposed to spend their days in school for socialization purposes, then essentially be home-schooled on the side? No wonder many HC parents want to opt out of standardized tests that give the schools credit for learning they didn't provide.

all types

Anonymous said…
Undecided, she definitely did say that. She said HCC as it existed now was for adult convenience.

NW Parent.
Anonymous said…
@HP, The proposed TC geozone changes do extend to include the walk zone, but it is all south of 68th. The north boundary of the walk zone is still a few block south of 95th.

-North-end Mom
Anonymous said…
@ PC, you're misinformed.

Extra languages offerings? Language immersion schools are not HCC schools. Middle school language offerings have varied by school, and they are not specific to HC students. High school languages similarly vary and are open to anyone.

Better college counseling? I actually spit out my tea on that one. There is no special HCC college counseling, and are counselor to student ratio is so absurdly low everywhere that everyone is equally underserved.

Best musical offerings? Didn't WMS--an HCC site--eliminate music levels in favor of one big mixed-ability class? (I'm sure that went well--ha!) Doesn't Eckstein, a non-HCC site, have a great music program? Music offerings are more tied to school demographics (primarily income) than to whether or not it's an HC pathway school.

Luxurious field trips? I have chaperoned many field trips, and nearly all were NOT-HCC specific--they were grade-level trips. Oh, and none were luxurious. Although that might be a way to get more parent volunteers....

Reduced class sizes? Now you're really reaching. My kid's smallest class sizes were in GE elementary school and middle school PE (also a GE class, at an HCC pathway school). HCC classes were routinely overloaded, and sometimes took place in hallways or common areas because there was no space.

More respect? Seriously? From whom? Not JSCEE. Not most teachers. Not most administrators. Not most other students. And not parents/adults like yourself. To be honest, they also don't get "more respect" from parents of other HC students, either--just more understanding and acceptance.

As to "presumed competence," I have no idea. You often here people talking about "supposedly gifted," so that doesn't seem to presume competence, while test scores are usually high which does suggest some level of competence in at least some areas. I guess it all depends on who is doing the presuming, and what sort of competence you mean. If it's that teachers are biased, yeah, we need teachers to better learn to check their inherent biases and assess competence more directly and accurately.

Gravy train? Hilarious.

all types
Anonymous said…
"So I guess HC kids are supposed to spend their days in school for socialization purposes, then essentially be home-schooled on the side?"

And that's essentially what we did up through middle school. Glad we're

-almost done
Anonymous said…
That's not what Rankin said. She said, "there exist inequities across programs due to SPS making choices based on what's best for adults and not what is best for students".

Which was not pro HCC nor anti HCC.

Eric said, " SPS is in year 10 of the 2 year MTSS implementation." He was being funny.

Harris seemed weird in that she is was in the position of having to defend the district and it's problems, by blaming everything on lack of FUNDING...SAY WHAT. If Molly were the incumbent then Harris would have ripped her apart.

I think it would be easier to get Liza to support HCC then to get Eric to focus non HCC equity issues.

BTW it's not the school boards job to create the budget or manage Capacity, but they should know what they are signing off on or better yet interject in the creation process. And that's something any SPS grad could easily do.

Was there

Anonymous said…
Opt out to not give the school credit? Come on should students in band skip the performances because they have had private music lessons? Should athletes skip the games because they also play on Select private teams.

Try making some lemonade, it taste good.

Get it.
Anonymous said…
From my perspective, equity is being used as a red herring. The real problem is a lack of trust in the school district. No one trusts that any meaningful AL will take place at neighborhood schools. No one trusts that MTSS will actually be supported or accomplished at neighborhood schools. No one trusts that anything will improve for Sped or high FRL or 2e populations, either. And instead of addressing that distrust, trying to win over those who have been burned before, trying to repair the relationship, the district’s solution is to reframe everything with equity. Disagree with the district? It must be thanks to your own bias, not, y’know, that you don’t trust the district farther than you can throw a truck.

For instance, I saw someone talking about how some neighborhood schools might have enough AL students to have a mini cohort - but someone else points out that might not be the case at other schools. That’s probably because the district is dismal at identifying POCs who are advanced learners, so the obvious solution here is to put a lot of work into identifying AL at those schools. It would make everyone happier. But... does anyone think the district will do that? It seems it’s less an equity issue and more a “the district is lazy and cheap” issue.

-Pragmatic Xennial
Anonymous said…
All Types is correct PC, you need to do some factual research. Do you have kids in the schools? I could not believe it when I heard there are actually schools in SPS that have 18-22 kids, but keep in mind those are the lower income schools. SPS is highly focused on "equity" regarding class sizes, giving schools with the highest FRL populations more teachers.

Not only were HCC middle school classes overcrowded (nothing less than 32 and up to 40) but so were our elementary neighborhood school (K-3 were 26-30) classes. HCC middle was the most crowded. Also, middle schools with the great music programs have nothing to do with HCC. That can be attributed to parental investments in private lessons. That will exist with or without HCC at neighborhood schools. Eckstein has a terrific music program, not due to HCC. Only bussing will help reduce inequity, combined with massive investments by our government, state and city in poverty stricken neighborhoods. NY state is currently doing some of that right now. Four year college is free in NY state for those earning under $124,000.

A Parent
Convenient Cohorts said…
A particular board director seeks to destroy cohorts- until the music cohort at her school is impacted.
Anonymous said…
@ Get it, are you kidding? All we DO is make lemonade. Go to school (lemons), come home and teach/learn (lemonade).

Your examples, once again, aren't relevant. Band performances and athletic games are team efforts. Regardless of one's prior training (or not) and skills (or not), these are team efforts and the product of school-based instruction/direction/coaching and student collaboration/cooperation, and each student contributes to the group outcome.

Standardized testing, on the other hand, is an individual effort with individual outcomes. If all your instruction/training happens outside the school, it doesn't make sense to participate in standardized testing at the school. Maybe (and only maybe) if the testing were used to actually tailor instruction to the full range of achievement by students, but not since it's really just used to report on how successful (or not) a school is in terms of meeting basic standards. In that case, inclusion of students whose learning occurs outside the walls of the school would skew the data.

all types
Anonymous said…
"A particular board director seeks to destroy cohorts- until the music cohort at her school is impacted."

If you mean Geary then just say it. No games! Now get me some HCC lemonade.

Get it
Anonymous said…
You implied that because you are the person teaching your child then they should not take the state recorded test showing just how smart they are, because that would give the impression the the school district would get the the credit for your work.

That's not any different from a musician or athlete whether solo or team sport who spends their non school hours training.

Should parents that pay for tutors do the same as you suggest or is this another very special privilege reserved for the gifted?

Get it
kellie said…
To clarify some confusing information on this thread. Director Geary was discussing Decatur Elementary School, not Thornton Creek Elementary, the option school

"I don’t agree with the creation of Decatur within my district. I don’t agree that Decatur goes to Jane Addams. I think it takes a cohort of students that should be at Eckstein away from Eckstein that would support its music programs, would support advanced learning within that environment that would benefit "
PC, c'mon. You can't prove a word of what you are saying.

My kids were in Spectrum; never had a single field trip just for those kids. Ever. College counseling? Nope. Smaller class sizes? Yeah, I also did a spit take myself. My kids' classes were always maxed out.

Also, watch that tone; "presumed competence" is directly addressing kids and you will not be disparaging kids here.

"De-tracking or MTSS could work. In order to work, there must be smaller class sizes and substantial built-in supports. SPS was unwilling to even acknowledge their own enrollment numbers and provide teachers at the SEA contracted ratios.

Show me the budget. If there is no budget, this is just optics and press releases."

Kellie is correct as usual and I hope she sends this thought to the Board.

On Liza Rankin remark:

"She said, "there exist inequities across programs due to SPS making choices based on what's best for adults and not what is best for students".

One, that doesn't answer any question on support for HCC. Two, which adults? The district staff that thought it up, enacted it and kept it that way?

But on that topic, I have some info that about Rankin's stance on HCC that she wrote herself awhile back. I'll be putting up my picks for consideration for School Board this weekend and I'll include that.

Get It, you, too, should watch your tone.

"Eric said, " SPS is in year 10 of the 2 year MTSS implementation." He was being funny."

No, that's true. What makes you think he was kidding?
kellie said…
Pragmatic Xennial said, "From my perspective, equity is being used as a red herring. The real problem is a lack of trust in the school district. No one trusts that any meaningful AL will take place at neighborhood schools. No one trusts that MTSS will actually be supported or accomplished at neighborhood schools. No one trusts that anything will improve for Sped or high FRL or 2e populations, either."

Once again, SPS is doing an excellent job of getting parents to fight each other, rather than focus on yet one more unfunded mandate.

Detracting could work with at least another 500K per building (a conservative estimate, based on the cost to implement at McGilvra). As SPS has over 100 buildings, that is a lot of budget.
Anonymous said…
I have a question for Licton Springs parents...

Has the Licton Springs community looked into Licton Springs being designated as an "Option School with Continuous Enrollment?" Schools listed in this category (in the 2020-21 transition plan) are: Cascade Parent Partnership, Interagency, Middle College HS, Nova, South Lake, Skills Center, and Seattle World School.

Of the schools listed above, I believe only Cascade Parent Partnership covers the full K-8 range. There doesn't seem to be a continuous enrollment option school north of the Ship Canal.

Licton Springs has historically served as a good fit for kids who, for many reasons, were not doing well at their assigned school. It seems as though it would beneficial to be able to transfer mid-year in these circumstances.

If the move to Webster happens, maybe this would be looking into as a way to bolster enrollment?

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said…
I never said anything about those people. I was responding to all the HCC hysterics.

In the big picture there wasn't HCC there were just kids going to school and learning what was being taught. Some kids signed up for harder coarse work and other kids moved ahead, like the school board director's wife that likes to post here. Like a local conservative talk show host and many others SPS grads.

Being in HCC will not make your child rich or famous, no more than being in GEN ED will. Did the kids left behind turn out any worst or better. Who cares.
What's my point?

There's is just no correlation to HCC and becoming someone notable. Placing your children in the HCC bubble might not be what you expect.

Get it
Get It, you have no idea what other parents' hopes and dreams are for their kids and you don't have the right to infer you do just because of what you think about HCC. Very unseemly talk. Watch that tone.
Anonymous said…
Sigh...you think parents opt for HCC so their children might become "notable" or "rich and famous?" You really, really don't get it.

long sigh
Anonymous said…
what "long sigh" said......

Anonymous said…
Ok then why are you asking for segregated classroom and segregated schools. Please educate me on the reasons.

Get it
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the clarification on Director Geary's comments (that she was talking about Decatur, not Thornton Creek).

-North-end Mom
Anonymous said…
The phrase “presumed competence,” was referring, I believe, to the benefit of perceived expectations that the cohorted service benefits from. Being identified and receiving separate services may be seen as a practical benefit, but it’s also an expectations benefit. Students who enter the cohort get an academic expectations and public acknowledgement boost that contemporary students don’t receive. It’s a lifetime benefit that other students are deprived of.

Anonymous said…
From an elementary APP Overview (dated 2009):

The primary purpose of APP is to provide a differentiated, challenging curriculum for highly capable students that meets their intellectual needs while being sensitive to their developmental level. Our...curriculum combines acceleration and enrichment to promote learning at a pace, depth, and intensity appropriate to the capacity of academically gifted learners.

The APP curriculum is academically rigorous and challenging...But we cannot emphasize strongly enough that this challenging curriculum is also developmentally appropriate.

[As opposed to grade skipping, which expects more developmentally - for example, proficiency in handwriting too early in elementary or reading age inappropriate material at too young an age. Can't tell you how many times teachers just treated APP students as older students - just because students can read at advanced levels does not necessarily mean they should read whatever as part of class.]

...If children feel pressured to achieve, to compete to be "the best" it is our experience that these feelings usually come from within the individual children themselves. Do not interpret this to mean that we think that this pressure really comes from parents. Rarely is that the case.

...It's sometimes a shock [for children new to APP] to realize that one must work hard to succeed at complex, challenging tasks. They have sometimes become accustomed to being a top student with next to no effort.

It's what you want for all students, yes? Academically rigorous and challenging, but also developmentally appropriate. They've since done away with most of the language, as they don't really deliver a different curriculum and come middle school SPS seems to put the brakes on academic acceleration.

@Salut says, "Students who enter the cohort get an academic expectations and public acknowledgement boost that contemporary students don’t receive." Are you suggesting "contemporary" students (do you mean GenEd?) don't have similar academic expectations? Huh? How demeaning of the work teachers across the district do. Or are you suggesting that many students aren't challenged by the district's grade level expectations, in which case, whose fault is that?

wayback machine
Anonymous said…
Get it uses the terms segregated classes and schools to refer to HCC. This is a falsehood that is being spread to try to provoke a backlash against HC. They are not segregated. The appropriate term (which is used in some countries) might be "selective schools" as in you have to meet certain selection criteria to go to them, take tests etc. Although even this is a misnomer because it implies there is some selection panel/process above and beyond just meeting the stated criteria, which there is not. Just because the school does not reflect the racial make up you would like does not make it segregated, by this standard many of the predominantly white north end gen ed schools are also segregated. In addition, it is important to remember that the HCC cohorts were purposely placed BY THE DISTRICT at these poorer, predominantly black schools such as TM and Garfield many years ago in an attempt to change their demographics and scores and manage capacity. They didnt care too much about the optics having of a whiter weathier HCC alongside the poorer darker gen ed students then.

language matters
Anonymous said…
when Liza Rankins said "there exist inequities across programs due to SPS making choices based on what's best for adults and not what is best for students". I do believe it was in response to a question about HC or 2e. It may have segued into Sped at that point too but it did seem to be within the context of HCC.

Anonymous said…
@wayback machine, that comment by @Salut didn't make much sense to me either. I thought maybe they were suggesting that the "public acknowledgment boost" was something more internal to students, maybe that knowing that they had qualified for HCC gave them an extra shot of self-esteem that other kids didn't get. But that wouldn't make a lot of sense, since it's through actually being in HCC that kids often see they aren't such hot shots after all. Being the top student year after year in GE classes, on the other hand, often does provide that "public acknowledgement boost" at the school level. In other words, being labeled HC does not confer some sort of lifetime high self-esteem benefit, and the existence of HCC does not deprive others of their self-esteem. There are plenty of other self-esteem boosters in school, too--such as being a star athlete, being first chair whatever, being popular, etc. HCC is not stealing other kids' thunder. To note, there are also plenty of low-self esteem HC kids.

all types
Concord ALO said…
To the two Spanish speaking moms from Concord who testified:

You're in luck! Your children are already benefiting from the new advanced learning plan that SPS wants to implement.

This is what Concord's CSIP says your students get:
All advanced learners are provided Common Core State Standards based learning aligned to their assessed level. Some examples include the following:
- Math: small group instruction at student's level
- Reading: independent reading and small group instruction at student's assessed Fountas & Pinnell reading level
All students that are identified by Seattle Public Schools as qualifying for ALO are provided an individualized instructional plan that may include application of skills in extended projects or differentiated group/individual learning experiences. Student plans are developed in collaboration with parents and monitored throughout the year.

But that's just what the district does right now. They're planning to make this better by bringing Concord's one HCC student back from Thurgood Marshall.

That's the whole plan. Aside from returning the one kid from Thurgood Marshall, you're already enjoying advanced learning at its full glory. SPS is great, isn't it?
Anonymous said…
@ Get it, you seem to be losing it.

"In the big picture [?] there wasn't HCC there were just kids going to school and learning what was being taught. Some kids signed up for harder coarse [sic] work and other kids moved ahead..."

Okay, but the ability to sign up for harder course work and access more challenging material is exactly what's under threat. So the "big picture" (maybe the "good old days"?) isn't really the current state of things, see?

"Being in HCC will not make your child rich or famous, no more than being in GEN ED will."

No kidding. Did anyone think it would? Is that why ANYone has chosen HCC? Parents surely aren't picking HCC for the promise or expectation of future fame and glory. Maybe you were joking, in which case I appreciate the chuckle.

But you really mystified me with this part: "Did the kids left behind turn out any worst or better. Who cares. What's my point?"

Who cares? I think we all do, and I thought you did too--or maybe you're just bored today and feel like typing? But yes, your "point" eludes me, too.

Maybe try a different tack and explain to us how you think things could operate more effectively to serve all types of students and learners well. Sound ideas are always welcome here and happily discussed.

all types
Anonymous said…
There is a fb post from October 10th on "For Racial Justice in Seattle Schools" page celebrating the Juneau diatribe as the "most courageous act in support of racial equity"

Liza Rankin gives it a big thumbs up react.

open ears
And Open Ears, Rankin took that away. I found that post interesting because there actually were parents pointing out that 1) the AL Taskforce hadn't finished their work, 2) POC on said taskforce had objections and yet were being marginalized by staff and 3) the issue should be finding and serving overlooked kids, not destroying a program.
Anonymous said…
@Get it,

You asked "why are you asking for segregated classroom and segregated schools."

It is because the SPS has NO advanced learning (AL) curriculum, no AL methodology, very little AL training among staff. If you put AL students in with the general class there will be no AL. None. The only way that AL students were able to squeeze a modicum of AL teaching from SPS staff is to fill the class with AL students. Then the teacher must teach to their level (hopefully) - almost by default. That is what parents mean when they talk about "the cohort". The cohort forces the teachers to teach to the appropriate level. Almost anyone who has an AL kid can confirm this. In my opinion, it doesn't matter to me how students are designated AL - only that they are motivated to work at the level of the class - whatever that may be. There have never been any perks for being in HCC. In fact, my kid (and others) were enlisted to teach Algebra in class because the teacher didn't know any math. That's the cohort in action. I don't mean to rag on the teachers, many are great. But they can only do so much. If SPS had any proven record in providing advanced learning opportunities or curriculum then perhaps other models of AL delivery would work. But everyone knows that will never happen.

Anonymous said…
@ DontASSume: I think Get It means racial and economic segregation. Therefore, I disagree with this false accusation that HCC families are asking for racial segregation. They’re asking for the cohort model, which has been the best way to deliver HCC services in SPS, and which could be very diverse if the district did a better job identifying students.
@ Get it, you asked to be "educated." Here you go:
1. No one is asking for segregated classrooms. Pretty much everyone inside and outside of HCC are asking for more diversity in the program. That means more students of color must be identified for HCC.
2. If the district was serious about making HCC more equitable it would actively make every effort to identify underrepresented HiCap kids of color. South end Latinx parents testified at this week’s board meeting that no one is telling them about HCC opportunities or testing their children. Why is that? That’s an outrage. That’s on the DISTRICT.
3. Unfortunately segregated classrooms exist throughout the district regardless of HCC. In fact many more class rooms in SPS lack diversity due to geography, not HCC. That’s a bigger problem. Where’s your outrage about that?
4. Segregation in SPS was exacerbated by the New Student Assignment Plan that eliminated most choice and assigned students to their neighborhood schools. Maybe the district should revisit that decision.
5. Who says segregated classrooms make students "rich, famous" or "notable"? You are the only one proposing such racist and idiotic views.

Clear Now?
Anonymous said…
But you are asking for segregation by defending the cohort model. The HC cohorts are segregated from the at large student population. The experience is a sequestered one. It is separate and it is by choice, unlike a neighborhood assigned model where the individual choice of school is not allowed and is determined by street address.

kellie said…
There are a lot of folks who are arguing that the placement of students into a cohort increases segregation. While this is a compelling narratively, it is not factually correct.

The compelling narrative portion is grounded in the notion that students are simply widgets - easily interchangeable and that they will go where they are assigned. There is no real evidence to support this theory.

During the closures, the same theory operated. That schools could be closed and the students conveniently re-shuffled to the location that was most convenient to the district. However, when the data was analyzed, 20-50% of the families involved left the district, rather than accept re-assignment. (the range varied by school and the placement)

This experiment has been repeated over and over again - with split siblings, option school assignment, etc. There is a complex dynamic between what the school district will assigned and whether or not a family will accept that assignment, or exercise a different choice.

The most recent analysis showed that a full 20% of families, who participated in the choice system but did not receive a choice seat, exited the district last year, rather than accept their mandatory assignment. Again the range was really profound.

kellie said…
Almost 30% of Seattle families do not participate in Seattle Public Schools. Nationwide, the average rate for non-participation is about 10%, so Seattle is on the higher side for non-participation.

The participation rate varies tremendously across the city and across demographics. It also varies pretty significantly across grade bands, programs and option schools. And it really varies for the edges of the city where access to neighboring school districts is more convenient.

Any conversation that wants to meaningfully address segregation and integration, needs to address participation. Since Tracy Libros's retirement, I have not seen that information analyzed in a meaningful way. I was deeply involved in the boundary process for both the NSAP and the growth boundaries. Tracy did a ton of research that was based on participation and capture rates. All of that data was public during those meetings.

I strongly suspect that with the addition of charter school in SE and SW Seattle that there have been some dynamic shifts in capture and retention rates.

Anonymous said…

Soooo, for HCC, there’s no good teaching, (so bad they don’t even know Algebra) no special curriculum, no methodology, no special training.... but you will still rip out your eye teeth to preserve your entitlements for you and yours in this big nothing program which offers nothing.... that is, nothing except segregation. The main point being... who you can avoid in your kid’s education, not what they actually receive in any real content. And if the gap will increase because your kid is returned, (looks like you’re assuming now) doesn't that speak to a better outcome for your kid at your home school? You’d rather keep a social isolation model than improve your own kid’s opportunities?

Yes it’s totally Clear Now. As it has always been. Btw. It’s clear to staff too. Your program is going to be whittled away even if there’s an HCC stacked board.

old salt said…

The neighborhood assignment model was also called segregation, when we were debating the NSAP. People wanted the neighborhood model for the promised guarantee that they would be able to predict their assigned path through school. (Which lasted about a year as capacity problems ballooned.) Many people supported a choice model that had an income tie-breaker or boundaries that prioritized more economically diverse schools to replace the race tie-breaker struck down by the Supreme Court in the PIC decision. And now the street address model of assignment that perpetuates Seattle's historic racial segregation is being defended as a shining light of desegregation.

If the district cares about desegregation at all, they are very lately come to it. And considering they are championing neighborhood schools as the best way to accomplish it, I'm pretty sceptical.

Anonymous said…
@Salut and Get it Regarding segregation comments. If most of the HCC students right now being identified by our district hail from middle class populations, why are you stating they are seeking "segregation"? From who? Other middle class white students in their neighborhoods? It's all about the delivery of AL services. At our neighborhood school we had walk to math until it was eliminated due to "equity" by the principal. That meant nothing was left to meet state requirements for my kid who tests 1% IQ level. This district seems not to be able to deliver appropriate services in main stream classrooms. Things are also left up to principals in this district and individual schools vary. And I also wonder if the elimination of walk to math was actually budget driven, not equity driven at our neighborhood school because they are also a low FRL school. They need a centralized approach to programs and services.

Get it now?
Salut, it's interesting how the word "segregated", which used to be about racial segregation, is now used for any kind of grouping. The dictionary has it both ways but I think because of the history of treatment of African-Americans, most people in the U.S. would go with racial segregation.

Which isn't the case for HCC, even if it is mostly white kids.

And, even if you changed the cohort model (or rather, as I suspect, greatly narrow it down), you'll still have segregated schools. Changing the HCC model is not changing that.

PC, no one said there is no good teaching in HCC. There is not required training to deal with highly capable kids and the curriculum is the same.

You see it as an entitlement? Please, do go to the State Legislature and tell them that or find your rep and ask for bill to come up to change the State's recognition of highly capable kids. I'll wait.

That you don't believe in the cohort model? That's fine but acting like there's some big deal out of it that other kids should have doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

I think the big divide is the believe that HCC parents don't want their kid with Gen Ed kids. I don't believe that - there might be a few but yeah, they're probably problem parents whereever they go. And, for sure, in middle and high school, there is absolutely interaction in classes with Gen Ed kids.

Why do you think having all HCC kids at their home school will be better for the HCC kids?

Anonymous said…
I did not understand why some on this thread are under a perception that returning HCC to their neighborhood schools will "decrease segregation". They must have heard the primary criticism that HCC is majority middle class white kids from majority middle class white schools. It made no sense to me until I realized what they are ACTUALLY criticizing are HCC segregation of middle class kids from other middle class kids. Because returning HCC kids to their same demographic schools does nothing for our segregated school district. We need bussing to eliminate that issue.

What this means to me is they must be middle class parents who want our HCC kids in their general ed kids classrooms receiving a one size fits all academic standard. I ran into these parents when we left our neighborhood school for the HCC middle school. They were clearly jealous which I though was weird. I surmised they thought my kid was getting something better than their own. They must feel their kids need more academic rigor and have no way to access it. There needs to be academic rigor provided for these kids separate from what the district defines as gifted education. If the district had an opt in spectrum program and opt in honors track for middle school, it would be great. However it seems that SPS is going in the opposite direction eliminating true honors classes. These parents need to be targeting that as the issue instead of HCC. I have a feeling that the elimination of spectrum and no access for general ed populations to AL is what is creating this hostility.

Get it now.
Anonymous said…
@MW, DontAssume sez, “[my super smart kid] had to teach Algebra in class because the teacher didn't know any math.”

I think we can assume that if the teacher doesn’t know simple high school Algbra, then they aren’t a good teacher. That’s a fair inference. So, these pretty dumb teachers, who didn’t learn high school material, who get no training to teach the smart kids in HCC... are still worth fighting for, because you get the cohorted Citadel. We all understand. We get it. Segregation Uber Alles.

Anonymous said…
Quoting a Seattle private school participation rate of 30% is disingenuous when you know that rate( from the census) includes children in daycare and preschool, up to first grade. The capture rate of SPS is likely much higher than what is inaccurately referenced here.

As for basing what choices people will make re schools on what happened in 2008, I find that dubious. It’s a different city, with different attitudes now and comfort with segregation and flaunting of privilege no longer flies. Conservatives look to the past, progressives to a better future.

Anonymous said…
@PC 10/19/19, 3:51 PM I call foul on your fake quote. DontASSume never said "super smart." Plus, they said other kids were also called on to teach the math class, not just their kid.

You're only revealing your own snarky prejudice against certain kids.

Melissa, do you allow commenters to intentionally misquote other commenters?

@Salut, You're being disingenuous & splitting hairs. It's a pretty well documented fact that Seattle has a high percentage of families who send their kids to private school. 28.6%, per a Seattle PI article from 2013: https://www.seattlepi.com/lists/slideshow/Washington-s-kids-Private-school-enrollment-63385/photo-4697535.php

That's the highest percentage in all of Washington State and higher than the national average of 13.5%.

Oh and those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. Only fools ignore history.

Clear Now?
Anonymous said…
The link you posted does not say where the private school participation rate comes from. Most likely it is from the census, which includes day care and preschool to first grade. I stand by my assertion that the 30% capture rate includes children in day care, pre school and first grade.

If you have a definite data point and study of the capture rate of private schools and home schoolers in Seattle that does not include day care and kindergarten, then post it. School age children is an ambiguous designation that leads to distorted data gathering and misinterpretation.

Anonymous said…
@ PC, it seems you were having trouble understanding what Don'tAssume said--or more likely, intentionally misunderstanding and distorting their comments. They did not say there is no good teaching in HCC. They were correct that there's no special curriculum (designed to meet the unique learning styles of gifted students), but the district does at least use a higher grade level curriculum (1-2 yrs ahead)--so it's different than GE. There's no special "AL methodology" that needs to be used, but that just supports the idea that having a cohort is important--because it essentially forces a teacher to respond/teach in a more HC/AL-compatible way. No one is fighting to "preserve segregation," but rather to preserve some semblance of advanced instruction. You also seem to have really misinterpreted the comment about the gap being increase if kids are returned--no, it does not "speak to a better outcome for your kid at your home school." It speaks to the gap at an individual school, and thus the difficulty for teachers in trying to deal with differentiation. To perhaps put it more clearly, if GE teachers now have kids that span 4 years in ability (1 yr above, at grade level, 1-2 years below), the addition of ex-HC students might expand that range to 6 or more by adding kids 2-3+ years above level). That's a pretty impossible situation for most teachers. But it's not the act of sending those kids back to their neighborhood school that puts them 2-3+ years ahead of grade level--they are there regardless. Is that clearer?

PS - HCC is not social isolation. Most HC pathway schools involve mixing-- for some classes, for assemblies, for recess/lunch, etc. Plus, most after school activities (at school or not) are also mixed. Having a few hours of your day spent with academic peers is hardly segregation.

As to your comment that "Your program is going to be whittled away even if there’s an HCC stacked board," nice. It's not for parents, it's for kids. Yes, it is being whittled away--and kids will suffer for it. That you seem to relish that says a lot. (But seriously, an HCC stacked board? Lol.)

some people
Anonymous said…
@ PC, you don't seem to understand how teachers are assigned to HCC, either. There usually are not HCC-specific teachers, just random assignments principals make based on school needs (and/or a principal's support--or lack thereof--for HCC). I doubt many HCC families are fighting to keep HCC teachers who can't teach algebra. Especially since algebra is covered in middle school, and these should be math teachers. But it's true that middle and high school age students are often more familiar with the subjects being taught than are there teachers. That's particularly true for HC students. That doesn't mean teachers aren't good teachers overall, but they might not be a good fit for a particular subject or grade level. I know plenty of well-educated adults who are very rusty on their high school math, history, science, etc. If they can manage grade level material but not material a couple years above grade level, they should stick to GE, even if they are awesome teachers. If they are bad teachers, nobody should have to deal with them.

some people
Anonymous said…
It’s condescending to suggest that sharing lunch, recess and the occasional assembly while maintaining exclusionary academic settings is all that’s needed to paper over the privilege gap. That’s like suggesting that while segregation occurred on buses, it was ok because people still got to ride the bus.

Anonymous said…
Look at similar cities, you find similar private school attendance. 27% Boston, 35% San Fran. People send their kids for all sorts of reasons. We need to thank them. They save money for state governments by reducing public school attendance, leaving more for everyone else. The fact is, the HCC crowd has always sought a private school atmosphere for free. If you want a private school, go pay for it, if you can get in. But your kid won’t get admitted to Lakeside with doctor’s notes like nearly half of the white kids in HCC. There is no appeals process. Your kid has to actually be the real deal all on their own. Pontiff Kellie spouts on and on as a resident expert. Her “work” on capacity was what? Facmac? Where exactly does she work to be such an expert on service delivery? Differentiation is only feasible if budgeted? Sounds like she went to ed school. Where is that ed degree? Segregation caused by HCC is factually correct. It segregates by perceived aptitude, which drives services: enriched or remedial, high or low, advantaged or disadvantaged, privileged or left out. To deny that segregation is simply a testament to your own privilege, as well as participation in the program of high privilege. Impoverishing and isolating others at public expense does indeed lead to poorer outcomes to the low tracks. At least when people “go private” they fund it themselves.

OY said…
Rules provide individuals with 2 minute speaking times. It was inappropriate for Burr to think she was entitled to special treatment. There are a group of individuals that have resorted to bullying behavior- Burr is no different.

Like everyone else, Burr should be expected to adhere to the rules.

Anonymous said…
@Salut 10/19/19, 6:14 PM -- You're the one making claims about preschool & kindergarten data, not me. It's up to you to find and post data to support your own claims. Otherwise it looks like mere speculation on your part, like so much of what you say about HCC & other topics.

Clear Now?
Anonymous said…
It’s not speculation. The only available data used comes from the census and includes day care, pre school and kindergarten. There is no published study otherwise confirming the capture rate by private schools of the Seattle school age population. Using the commonly quoted 30% rate is a politically convenient myth. Again point me to source that is using and tracking these numbers.

Anonymous said…
Look at similar cities, you find similar private school attendance. 27% Boston, 35% San Fran. People send their kids for all sorts of reasons. We need to thank them. They save money for state governments by reducing public school attendance, leaving more for everyone else. The fact is, the HCC crowd has always sought a private school atmosphere for free. If you want a private school, go pay for it, if you can get in. But your kid won’t get admitted to Lakeside with doctor’s notes like nearly half of the white kids in HCC. There is no appeals process. Your kid has to actually be the real deal all on their own. Pontiff Kellie spouts on and on as a resident expert. Her “work” on capacity was what? Facmac? Where exactly does she work to be such an expert on service delivery? Differentiation is only feasible if budgeted? Sounds like she went to ed school. Where is that ed degree? Segregation caused by HCC is factually correct. It segregates by perceived aptitude, which drives services: enriched or remedial, high or low, advantaged or disadvantaged, privileged or left out. To deny that segregation is simply a testament to your own privilege, as well as participation in the program of high privilege. Impoverishing and isolating others at public expense does indeed lead to poorer outcomes to the low tracks. At least when people “go private” they fund it themselves.

Anonymous said…
"Using the commonly quoted 30% rate is a politically convenient myth."

I dunno. Looking just at the local private high schools I can think of, private HS enrollment in Seattle is around of 4200. SPS enrollment figures for 2018 puts 9-12 enrollment at 14,020. That's 30%, on the nose. Doesn't count charters or home school, so actually higher than 30%.

I'd guess middle school private is higher than high school percentage, and that K-5 is below.

Testimony Continues said…
POC continue to testify at board meetings. They do not want the existing program dismantled. They realize there would be no other options for their child.

Both sides of the story need to be told. This just isn't happening.
kellie said…
@ Salut,

I hope you are correct and that Seattle is becoming a more inclusive place.

I wasn't quoting anything about private school rates. Since the topic was segregation, "participation" is critical to inclusion.

Private school is only one way that people avoid SPS. Homeschooling, inter-district transfers and charter school are also ways to avoid SPS. SPS does not really look very much like Seattle, because there are a lot of missing groups.

Last year, the Seattle Times ran an article about how African American families were avoiding SPS in significant numbers via homeschooling and charter schools.

People love to treat students like widgets with the notion that students can be assigned anywhere in any manner. But that just isn't true. While I quoted numbers from 10 years ago, because those numbers were widely studied and available, I also quoted the same percentage number from just last year. It is also possible to find similar numbers from 20 years ago.

kellie said…
I suspect that many people are using the terms segregation and tracking interchangeably.

While there is some overlap between those terms, they are quite different. Advanced Learning, in all of its forms, including walk to math, does create tracking.

The anti-cohort arguments are anti-tracking arguments. Housing patterns and participation rates have a much greater impact on segregation, than advanced learning.

Tracking has many well known problems. And one huge positive, it's cheap.

In theory, tracking was supposed to be a way to batch students to create economies of scale, so that there would be more funds to invest in the students who need it the most. As always, when theory needs to meet reality, there is a lot sour news.

As I have stated many times, there are more things wrong with how SPS does AL than there are things SPS does right. That said, the current plan is cheap. All the other options will cost more money, a lot more money.

As far as I know, downtown has NEVER willingly spent more money on teachers and putting more adults into school buildings, if they could use that money to fund more projects or more headcount downtown.

This year was extra special as downtown just invented their own very special enrollment projections, in order to just NOT STAFF buildings at the SEA contracted ratios. Using MTSS to provide AL services is frighteningly expensive, and therefore a guaranteed empty promise.

Anonymous said…

You say that 30% of families in Seattle do not participate in Seattle public schools. Are you quoting from the census data that considers school age children to be preschool and kindergarten or are you quoting from another credible contemporary ongoing source? Also in referencing 2008, there was a country wide recession and the ongoing demolition, reconstruction of Seattle public housing developments which resulted in population disruptions at the time. Hard to base predictions for current decision making on past history that is different to today and with different demographics and economy.


kellie said…
PC said "Pontiff Kellie spouts on and on as a resident expert."

This is a blog. You are more than welcome to judge my comments as pontificating and privileged.

Thankfully Mel tries to run this blog as an open forum where folks gets to share a variety of points of view. I am willing to consider that my comments come from a place of privilege.

I have lived in a quite a few places, where the middle class has abandoned the public schools. It is true that some private school enrollment saves the State of Washington some money. However, there is a tipping point where the critical mass of support is lost and when that happens, everyone loses.

Anonymous said…
@PC, can you please share where you got the stats on the percentage of HC students, by race, who tested into HCC via private testing vs. district testing? I've never been able to find such data, buy you imply that you have. The data by race would be of particular interest.

Eagerly Awaiting
Anonymous said…

As you include a lot of numerical claims in your posts, it would be helpful to know the sources of your numerical analysis of the district.

Anonymous said…
What about percentage of HC students by disability? For every one person identified with an IEP, surely 5 are qualified and not identified due to the District's apathy.

kellie said…
@ Salut,

I wish we had truly hard data on participation rates. This would be fairly straightforward for SPS to compile, but they simply do not care about participation. Students who don't enroll, are very simply "somebody else's problem."

I only bring up participation because it is a component of any meaningful conversation about de-segregation and integrating schools.

In my estimation, I think that about 30% non-participation is a pretty conservative number. But frankly, the number could be 25% or 40% and the essence of the conversation would be the same. Who's missing and why? What impact does this have on concentrations of poverty? What impact does this have on inclusion?

While housing segregation has a real impact on schools, we also have some pretty diverse neighborhoods. Are our schools as diverse as our neighborhoods and if not, why not? I think we need meaningful answers to those questions if we are going to really have inclusive schools.

Anonymous said…
I don’t think it’s fair to claim numbers that are not verified. Numbers skew policy and opinion so it’s important that they be accurate and not surmised. There’s a big gap between 30% and 15% and using one as definitive over another to bolster an argument is deceptive.

Housing diversity is not the concern of a school district, but the school assignment plan is. We can get to more equitably diverse schools through the assignment plan, if it is not derailed politically as has been done in the past. But diversity on the face of it is not enough. Schools must focus on academic inclusion and internal detracking.

Data analysis and specialized demographic modeling costs money. People have decried money spent at central office, but this kind of specialized analysis is something only a central office can do. Kellie, do you support taking money from classrooms for the data collection you support?

Anonymous said…
Sounds like Salut and others are really arguing to get rid of the NSAP. I guess that means redraw the boundaries or resume busing. I don't understand how it is that HCC came to be the scapegoat for all of this.

And as for PC saying "But your kid won’t get admitted to Lakeside with doctor’s notes like nearly half of the white kids in HCC." - that is just utter BS. No kids get admittted to HCC on the basis of a Drs note either. If they do get admitted via appeal, they have to provide the same evidence as required by local private schools catering to the highly capable (eg SCD, Evergreen) formal testing using specific IQ and achievement tests administered by a psychologist.

i dont know why i bother even chiming it - it just makes me so mad to see the lies and innuendo and hate constantly being spread about kids who test into HCC and their families

It's not based on fact, and it defies logic, i think it must be mostly the

green eyed monster

Anonymous said…
Eagerly Waiting- Wait no more, the numbers from the district on HCC Private tester-inners was published in a Friday memo.


Reader Too
Anonymous said…
Reader too: these numbers leave out the status of some 15% of our district's students, students with disabilities. Where are these numbers? Why are they chronically omitted? How many of these students are of colors and are academically qualified?

This data gap shows that Juneau is not committed to all vulnerable students.

Anonymous said…
Reader Too. Thanks for sending this link: https://lookaside.fbsbx.com/file/20160819_Friday_Memo_HighlyCapableDataTrends.pdf?token=AWyDTLm2_O00IJd-_Ps_vLpvAoSjWXZhNU3SxZ3au9Op6AdId7at3CNyAS6xfHByrLPJMjmruJz84GmYLA0N0M3SDIt3uSefjGqyz0AEDA6Z2pFHGeq6HH6Wn-MgancGMAQ8vucAPlwnHOtq9KaAiC37RGv92r5Nz6ncBQxAPjP2Xae9rRRXYQAAe-lGHXOFX8ySxve1QzZHdhfJjqGNK59Y

Fascinating! If that document is official (it looks a little hodgepodge), there's lots of interesting data in there. One simple way to both streamline the cohort (it keeps expanding every year) and make the racial disparity more equitable is to remove the appeal option. This would be in line with what some nearby school districts already do (e.g. Kirkland).

Its clear that by far white students are admitted on appeal much more frequently than those of other ethnic groups. This is a bit jarring - raising many concerns regarding equity of access.

The proportion of HCC students belonging to traditionally underrepresented groups will be dramatically bolstered if appeals were eliminated. By the data presented, African American representation in the new admits would go from 2% to 3%, and Hispanic representation would increase from 3% to 5%. These are not trivial differences. Astounding that almost 40% of whites are admitted by appeal whereas only 7% of blacks and 22% of Hispanics are admitted by appeal. This is highly troubling.

The district needs to undertake a systematic review of this data for the past ten years. Eliminating appeals may be a first important step in improving the needed equity in HCC.

This is clearly not optics. This is highly problematic and hard to justify.

number looker said…
Private school enrollment for Seattle
K-12 students
per OSPI

16,527 students enrolled in private school

cloudles said…
One of our kids and several others we know got into HCC on appeal. NONE of them used private testing. It came down to this convoluted system of applying to HCC. Our kids had a kindergarten MAP score in reading that was low because our kids were still learning to read in kindergarten. We didn't go to fancy preschools. We all assumed our kids would take the MAP in school in the fall and get a more current MAP score for first grade reflective if their new found reading abilities. But the teachers didn't schedule a fall map assessment for their classes. Many of us had to appeal and get scheduled to take the MAP reading (done in school by the district).
So don't assume the appeal is all about private testing. A large part of it is about how hard it is to navigate the hcc application process, and this is more exclusionary to underprivileged folks.
Anonymous said…
Thanks Cloudles. I was unaware that MAP scores were involved in HCC eligibility other than for an appeal. In prior years (including at least some years when MAP was still administered), I had thought that identification was through CogAT, and then once adequate score on CogAT, then a second test for subject ability.

Your family's case makes a good argument for simple eligibility measures. I'm not sure most folks would have been aware of the nuances of MAP testing for eligibility - and people further away from educational justice (whether those from a historically racially disadvantaged group, whether due to SES, etc) would be even less likely to know these nuances.

It also behooves SPS that if MAP scores (or any other assessment) is part of the criteria they use, they need to administer it in a way that everyone who wants access has timely access.

Most school districts allow appeals based on error in process. Even LWSD, where appeals are not permitted for inadequate scores, allows appeals stemming from error in process. Under that system, your family's case still would be a valid reason to appeal, as the way you've described it, it was an error on the district's side. What would no longer be permitted would be appeals with private testing due to inadequate initial scores through SPS testing, which is likely the vast majority of appeals. This would also be cost-saving for the district.

The numbers provided in the link by Reader Too show disturbing inequity. It's troubling that nearly 40% of white HCC students are in the cohort based on appeal rather than being identified by the district's screening process. Clearly there is a problem with the current system of identifying HCC students that allows for appeals to account for 2/5th of the white HCC cohort (for comparison, only 7% of African American kids based on the tables provided were accepted through appeal).

I'm a strong supporter of advanced learning, but this differential access due to appeals is highly disturbing and hard to justify.

Anonymous said…
And an additional note - while the inequity described in the link by Reader Too is quite disturbing for race, I can only imagine how discrepant the findings will be by SES. Is this data available (or did I overlook it in the tables)?

It's important for SPS and the school board to take up a discussion of the merits and detriments of the current appeals process. On its surface, it appears to be highly problematic and indefensible.

Anonymous said…
I would also be interested in seeing any numbers on how many black HC eligible students leave for private schools and how that could be skewing numbers. I understand Seattle private schools are generous with financial aid to those students so I think it deserves some consideration. Rather than just demonizing middle and working class families in HC

Anonymous said…
As a few other commenters are correct. Unless the district knows the breakdown of the reason for the appeals it’s hard to judge the alleged number. How many students were 2e/sped who do not do well in the group testing setting? How many were appealed due to clerical errors? I know one student who appealed because they DID meet the threshold Cogat and MAP scores yet the district inexplicably said the student was ineligible. In that instance the student was also 2e. No explanation given how that happened. Yes, I do believe more white families are likely better able to navigate the minefield and nuances of applying from HC, however that is a systematic issue.

NW Parent
Anonymous said…
Appeals are required by law, since districts are far from infallible. Private testing is only one of many avenues for appeal, and where it is allowed is an important check on district incompetence, abuses, and negligence in eligibility determinations. https://apps.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=392-170-076.

Anonymous said…
Appeals are allowed by state law. Private appeals have been eliminated by many districts because they are *ahem* paid for.

Real AppealDeal
Anonymous said…
HcC families are taking the brunt of the acrimony over 'segregated' learning. But they are not the only targets. In an earlier conversation on this blog reading groups & volunteer tutors were criticized for 'segregating' students. And on the strike facebook page special ed parents have been attacked for advocating or any pull out services, even PT/OT/SLP, or even specialized curriculum in the classroom.

I think the district wants to do the cheap easy thing of giving every student the exact same lessons and call the rest discrimination.

-sped mom

Anonymous said…
The SPS NMSF numbers are pathetic.

Spin and blame all you want, but it boils down to lack of performance, effort and/or ability.

Highly "capable" is based on perceived potentiality.

Performance is the real deal.

Tru dat
Anonymous said…
Observer, so you think all the capable black students are whisked away by private schools who are simply brimming with black students on scholarship of course? Let’s see that data. Typical HCC parent. Refuses to look at the facts staring them straight in the face. It’s the public schools that are disproportionately black, by a large number, not the privates. Whites are a minority in SPS, not POC, but a huge majority in Seattle. White gifted students are leaving SPS, not POC. Obviously. Clearly, white people in general are MISSING from the public schools, and by huge numbers. Test scores and giftedness follows the money as you have so aptly pointed out. If poverty causes a decrease in giftedness as you have fought so hard to establish for years, the corollary is that wealth causes giftedness. And wealth doesn’t have to put up with SPS. These private schools are all looking for high test scorers and they get most of them. Except for Lakeside, you won’t see many POC in private. C’mon folks. You don’t need to circle the wagons. Everybody knows that private testing and appeals is a huge issue. Are you really going to try and spin that? All the white people are really just 2e or victims of clerical errors? How could such a coincidence be? That’s the privilege we’re talking about. There’s also no reason to believe the district is especially unable to assess 2e, also nearly all white. It has an entire mandatory organization specializing in disability assessments. Proclaiming widespread appeal success based on 2e isn’t credible. Another pay to play avenue.

kellie said…
@ Salut,

There is a lot to unpack in your comments. IMHO, this is critical. "But diversity on the face of it is not enough. Schools must focus on academic inclusion and internal detracking."

I think this is the heart of the conversation that needs to happen.

In classic SPS style, the conversation has focused on this group of parents vs that group of parents. The shouting match is deafening. I know you don't approve of historical references but this distracting parent battle has been the norm for decades.

IMHO, the bottom line is that SPS is so operationally silo'ed and manages to do so many basic functions so poorly, that is easy to presume that some other group must be getting "the good stuff." And that notion has kept the parent in-fighting going strong for decades.

10 years ago, Maria Goodlow-Johnson pushed the magnet school model very hard. She argued that "the best way to improve equity" was to push this tracking model. That model did a fantastic job of creating "diversity on the face of it" and did NOTHING to create "academic inclusion." School closures were an amazing paper victory where the diversity metrics were improved on the backs of closing multiple high poverty and high minority schools.

I think conversation is long overdue. AND IMHO, it is still not happening. The myopic focus on "dissolving cohorts" is just another optics games and paper victories. Academic inclusion costs money and I want this district to focus on getting the money into the classrooms, rather than virtuous press releases.

Anonymous said…
1) For those not wanting to click on the link of unknown origin, you can google "Seattle Schools Friday Memos" and find the 8/19/16 memo - the table is in the "Highly Capable Data Trends" link.

2) The appeals info is given for just one year, 2016 (as it was the most recent?). As others have said, you don't know why families were appealing, or whether or not they even used private testing as part of the appeal. Nor do you know the grade level. The info leads to more questions than answers. Are appeals generally distributed among grade levels, are there bumps at certain grade levels, do some regions have more appeals than others?

3) A few years back, SPS used to require students to retest if they qualified but did not transfer to the APP cohort (or Spectrum site) the following year. SPS cut down on the testing and appeals by changing the qualification to "once qualified, always qualified." This kept more students at their neighborhood schools until a more natural transition point of 6th grade. Some families would keep their HC qualified students in their neighborhood K5 and wait until middle school to move to the cohort, no need to retest.

3) The ultimate goal is getting students appropriate services. I'd imagine families with students just missing the cutoff are more likely to appeal. Restricting appeals is likely to have the effect of delaying services for students, and increasing the cost to the district of subsequent testing. As it is, families not going the appeal route are left to retest the following year. Appeals may go down, but the annual number of referrals would likely increase as a result.

4) Looking at other data, the MS attendance areas with the most Gr 6-8 HC enrolled students (2018 #s, * indicates HCC site) are: Eckstein (262), Hamilton* (158), McClure (167), and Meany (160). The MS attendance areas with the fewest HC enrolled students are: Aki (35), Denny (43), WMS* (54), and JAMS* (62). Complete list (Grade 6-8 HCC enrollment for each attendance area, 2018):

Aki 35
Denny 43
Eagle Staff 96
Eckstein 262
Hamilton 158
Jane Addams 62
Madison 106
McClure 167
Meany 160
Mercer 87
Washington 54
Whitman 150

5) For all the talk about identification, it means nothing if services don't match the qualification criteria. The services should match the criteria and vice versa. Identification and services must be considered in tandem.

6) Give it a rest on NMSF numbers. Seriously. Qualification for HC is 95% achievement (mix of national and state norms, depends on test used - SBAC or ITBS or ?) and NMSF is less than top 1% in state. Washington State has one of the highest cutoffs. If you don't understand why only a fraction of a fraction meet that standard, well. just. Lost cause.

Anonymous said…
Again, why are students with disabilities not included in the HCC data ? Why is this ok?

Troubled, students with disabilities need to be able to test private (and on the District's dime) because the District does not know how to test them. The knowledge base is not there. It is an equity issue, again not on anybody's radar.

Anonymous said…
Yeah sure. NQ. Give the NMSF a rest. Why? Because on the only objective test that provides something that actually matters... HCC is like the ugly step sister at the ball. The shoe doesn’t fit!

Anonymous said…


Data is crucial to understand the big picture. Thanks for highlighting. And, that is one piece of data, but the CRUCIAL data is the *percentage* of opt-in by middle school service area compared to the qualified number of students actually approved to opt-in.

ECKSTEIN HAS THE LOWEST OPT-IN percentage. Last I checked, it was 70%.

AKI KUROSE HAD THE HIGHEST OPT-IN %. It has consistently been 100%.

Think about that, what that means for equity. Shutting down the Cohort leaves the Aki Kurose kids ‘stranded’ in a place they would choose not to be, per their perfect record of opting-in.

FYI - the last time the district inadvertently provided stats of this kind, via Phil Brockman, Eckstein 8th grade math achievement medium percentile was 90%. That means half the kids in that school got 90% or BETTER on the state math assessment (this is stale data, but it was a very detailed school by school analysis that the district has not daylighted since).

I suspect the parents of color of highly capable students of color who are on that task force figured out the dynamics of how good-intentioned rhetoric would intersect with actual learning needs of real kids who were highly capable academically but found themselves isolated in peer groups without many (or any) similarly oriented students and suddenly the reality of the differentiation mythology (aka, the rainbow unicorn) became obviously punitive. The cohort is the effective and efficient tool to support needs of these learners regardless of skin tone. The problem lies with the lack of talent development programs in title one schools, and that is not what HCC is for.

HC collects kids of high capability- it does not manufacture them. The missing element is the academic nurturing for the highly talented kids who live in neighborhoods of low resources. THAT is what Stephen Martin wanted to implement and that was what the district said no to.

Also: the opt-in percentage also reveals that the *mythology* that student of color don’t choose to come into the Cohort is also rubbish. They DO choose to come in, and come in at HIGHER rates. The data broken out by race clearly indicates the black/African American students opt-in with the highest rate. The lowest opt-in rate by race? White.

There’s feel good rhetoric, brimming full of emotion and righteous, and then there are the facts. Inequity is real and crushes hope and harms children and communities and inequality is perpetuated through generations, but the answer to defang institutionalized racism has to be to lift up, not pretend or smash or dumb down.

Go Figure
Anonymous said…
7) The appeals data actually spans SYs 2010-11 to 2015-16. Looking at overall numbers, the % HC students admitted on appeal is in the 20-40% range:

2010-11 37%
2011-12 37%
2012-13 42%
2013-14 21%
2014-15 28%
2015-16 37%

It would be interesting to know what tests were used each year, and what the screening process was. Why the dip in 2013-14 (highest total number qualified, and lowest number of successful appeals)? 2013-14 was the year before JAMS opened.

Anonymous said…
No NQ. The June 10 2016 Friday memo reports the number accepted on appeal for 2010-2016. That’s a long history. And the number of appeals by demographic is on page 4. Seems a steady 40% for white kids. HCC parents don’t appear to be clamoring to close that huge gap. At the same time, they never tire of complaining of how low the standards have become. Where’s the effort to self police? To raise standards? To institute requalification? One test in on appeal and your kid is set for life. Proving once again, you’ve got a gravy train going.

Passthe Gravy
Owler said…
MW: you wrote, "moving Licton Springs K-8 to Whitman." but I think you meant the Webster Building? I would encourage the LS parents to embrace the move to a stand-alone building. I think nothing good comes from co-housing two principals in one building, and I think they got the short shrift in being asked to share with a new and growing middle school and with principal Marni. (The decision was ham-fisted to begin with, being a late night vote back in 2013 with good intentions but no real vision).
Anonymous said…
no pg. standards are for what is taught in the class once identified. not how identified. hc parents have been asking for years for universal screening and talent development programs. the district has chosen not offer either. why? probably because that takes real work. also your arguments are stale just like your data.

no caps
Anonymous said…
@ owler

In the transition plan discussion from Wednesday night's school board meeting, they discussed the plan to expand the geo-zone for Licton Springs K-8 to include the Whitman Service Area. Webster is in the Whitman Service Area.

-North-end Mom
Owler said…
@ NQ, March 2013 was the Scrap the MAP at Garfield, when teachers and students protested the overuse of MAP testing data. I feel like it might have been a factor in the following school year's appeals process. The reliance on evolving tests from WASL to MAP to CoGAT hasn't helped the identification process, and I wish SPS would have some transparency about the success of the Title 1/second grade testing program.
Anonymous said…
Not exactly. There are several ways to look at the data: the percent of appeals which were successful, and the percent of those qualifying who got in on appeal. Just randomly selecting SY 2014-15, the total number of newly qualified HC students was 793. Of those, 163 were white students who had qualified on appeal, so 21%. For appeals that were successful (448 appealing that year), 33% were white. There were 5309 referrals that year, so only 15% of referrals resulted in HC qualification (793/5309). Of the 3486 white students who were referred that year, 529 became HC eligible (or 15%), and 163 of those referred (or 5%), qualified for HC through appeals.

Anonymous said…
After reading multiple comments I truly do believe that those arguing for elimination of HCC services due to "segregation" are middle class white families who are upset that kids of the same demographic as their kid have access to above grade level material.

Green Eyed Monster is correct, it is jealousy fueling this argument. That and illusions of some "fake equity by SPS. Otherwise we would see a push and dollars allocated to identify more black kids of color for HCC program, as HCC parents have been advocating. But send white middle class kids back to their middle class schools and call it reducing segregation?

As people keep repeating over and over, putting those kids back in their neighborhood schools does nothing for our economically and racially segregated schools. Therefore these people are "USING" people of color and the language of segregation for their own selfish motivations.

However keep in mind that in schools that had walk to math etc at neighborhood schools, this was ALSO viewed as tracking even though it was flexible grouping.

Our principal at our low FRL majority white elementary school, abandoned it because middle class (non-HCC) families were arguing it "was not equitable" for their own middle class children. This is problematic as it highlights there will be no true AL opportunities if an HCC cohort is dismantled.

They have to provide something though, despite the protests of those middle class parents who want one curriculum at their neighborhood school, as it will not pass muster with state audits and policy regarding gifted kids.

Get it now
I'll have to have a separate thread on HCC because I have been considering how this playing out (over years) and have some thoughts.

Also, there was a meeting at WMS about STEM by TAF and apparently, it didn't go all that well. I'll say more but to push back without listening will be a HUGE missed opportunity for that school and this district.

"One test in on appeal and your kid is set for life. Proving once again, you’ve got a gravy train going."

Just to note, all your "gravy train" consists of are kids who passed qualifying admission to a program that is at different schools throughout the district. How is that "a gravy train?" Answer: it's not.
Anonymous said…
One thought on appeals, we noticed when our kid entered HCC there were larger numbers, than at neighborhood school, of kids with autism, ADHD, ADD. Wondering how many appeals had to do with 2E kids. A guess is that ADHD, ADD kids would have some distraction issues testing in the SPS group setting, and might need the private psychologist's setting instead. Has anyone correlated THAT data?

A Parent
SE Parent said…
Generally, I'm doubtful that eliminating appeals will eliminate the racial imbalance. The fact is, students, can retake the tests year after year. Neither of our children qualified the first year they were tested, and we didn't choose to have them privately tested although perhaps if we had, they would have qualified earlier because in both cases it was only one of four tests that were disqualifying. But in subsequent years, they both qualified using district tests. The fact that students are retested year after year is essentially a delayed appeal.

I believe the real issue is that some minorities just don't score as well on the qualifying tests. All students take the SBAC. All Title 1 students take the CogAT screener. But to qualify for HCC, students must have a 4 on the SBAC ELA and Math tests and based on district data, certain minorities just don't score as well. If one looks at kindergarten readiness, the same is true. Getting rid of appeals is not going to change this.

Unknown said…
I hope everyone putting their energy into comments here is also taking the time to express their opinions directly to the two folks from SPS who presented the Student Assignment Transition Plan to the board. Melissa maybe you can add these contacts to your running list here.

Concepcion Pedroza, Chief of Student Support Service
clpedroza@seattleschools.org, (206) 252 - 0693

Ashley Davies, Director of Enrollment Planning
aedavies@seattleschools.org, (206) 252-0358
Anonymous said…

Here’s the thing about TAF - it is totally different than ‘standard fare’. It is different, a technology focus — it is different like any ‘special flavor’ — like MONTESSORRI or language immersion or anything that is distinctive and different.

So, like language immersion - TAF ought to be purely in an OPTION SCHOOL with a small geozone and lottery admission with transportation supplied to all (ideally, but not cost effective). That would make it fair. Everyone should have an essentially an equal shot at getting in if they want it (like aviation high school) AND just as important no one should not be forced in to it - regardless of its awesomeness (I remain skeptical due to the actual data of test scores that are bad) it is about fit and choice - just like it is unfair and inequitable to give someone something really fantastic because they have the “right address”, it is equally wrong and unfair to force someone IN to something faulty because they have the “wrong address”.

If this district was SERIOUS about TAF and REALLY believed in it, they would definitely NOT try and cram in down somebody’s throat - if it was all that, we’d be begging. We are not.

The right place for TAF? Embedded as a purely option school in the rainier beach building. A stand-alone school that can grow from 6-8 to a 6-12 in RB. RB has the space (enrollment still is less than 700 despite having an enormous attendance area). Plus, is this not the desired demographic for their pedagogy? Disadvantaged children? By being opt in, it would thrive with an intentional community, not a forced march. And when did a forced march ever produce good / durable results?

This is the district using TAF to break apart community, not elevate it. WMS deserves much, much better.

Seattle Parent said…
Another reality is the demographics of certain parts of Seattle:

16% of UW Faculty are Asian, 2% Black, 68% White, and 4% Hispanic.
20% of Amazon Managers are Asian, 7% Black, 62% White, and 7% Hispanic.

The CogAT test used for Advanced Learning qualification is not an IQ test, its a "learned reasoning test". The SBAC ELA and Math Tests also measured what has been learned.

Odds are, the children of UW Faculty, Amazon Managers, etc. are going to score better on the Advanced Learning qualifying tests, and the demographics of these groups are skewed.
Anonymous said…
Uh, that's why the CogAT scores should be locally normed.

Doing universal testing will not help capture historically underserved students until this inevitable finally occurs.

No brainer
Anonymous said…
@Seattle Parent, Good points. Seattle is the most highly educated city in the country, by some measures. That probably skews HCC ID rates too.
Other observations: Appeals are mandated by state law. Districts must allow them.
SPS offers free appeals testing to FRL students. But from the Friday Memo data, it looks like maybe not enough families know this to take advantage of it.
Does SPS offer appeals testing to nonFRL kids? If not, would changing that eliminate the need for private testing?
The data from the memo indicates that eliminating appeals (if it was legal to do) would not really change the demographics of HCC.
For ex., 33 percent of Multiracial kids and 27 percent of Asian kids got in on appeal. You shut the door on appeals, you shut out kids of color too.
Another interesting detail from this data: not all families who appeal are successful. Looks like about half of them are not. That puts the lie to the urban myth that appeals = surefire entry to HCC. Apparently not.

Anonymous said…
SE Parent suggests that eliminating appeals will not eliminate the racial imbalance as students can retest and qualify in subsequent years. There is no reason to believe that the score for gifted (but not HCC qualifying) white students will improve while those for gifted (but not HCC qualifying) non-whites will not. Hence, a dubious argument.

The data in the Friday memo strongly suggests that appeals are highly racially skewed. Getting rid of appeals, in real numbers in those data, would increase African American and Hispanic representation from 5% to 8%. Representation for other non-white groups would similarly increase. It also means that access to HCC would be more based on a set criteria, such as a certain score on an aptitude test. If the goal is to make HCC more accessible to a larger group of kids, then lower the CogAT eligibility requirement to 97% and don't allow for private testing appeals. The private testing largely benefits those with privilege who have the means or know how to navigate the appeals process.

I'm still astounded that 40% of HCC kids who are white are admitted through appeals. This is a sign of a broken system all around. I'm curious how other districts have navigated this.


Anonymous said…
Just wanted to highlight the important point that Go Figure makes "HC collects kids of high capability- it does not manufacture them. The missing element is the academic nurturing for the highly talented kids who live in neighborhoods of low resources. THAT is what Stephen Martin wanted to implement and that was what the district said no to." Dismantling the cohort, claiming to have MTSS or differentiation at every school, it's all window dressing. The highly capable kids are still going to be there and the disparities between their outcomes and those of those 'furthest from educational justice' are still going to exist. This is not going to somehow create more HC kids of color. If you want to do that, you have to exactly the previous poster said. Identify, nurture, mentor potential talent in those low-resource settings. Thats what Rainier Scholars does so successfully. If the district was prepared to invest actual money, resources, and personnel it could do this too. But obviously its cheaper to build up HCC to be bogeyman that everyone loves to hate and pretend that tearing this down will somehow miraculously solve the problem.

And the middle class white families at their predominantly middle class white schools eat this up. I wonder if they realize that dismantling the cohort model means all those white middle class HCC kids will be mostly returning to their largely white middle class neighborhood schools, many of which are already overcrowded and that the resulting boundary redraws that will be necessary to accommodate them might mean their own kids end up getting sent to a different school. Unintended consequences, right! (Look at the figures above to see which schools would be most impacted). Also those very schools are the ones that have been allowed to systematically remove any options for advanced work (spectrum, walk to's) over the years all in the name of equity (parents/staff didn't like it) and SPS now tells us that advanced learning to be available in all schools, right. We believed that once and it never materialized for the vast majority.
Regardless of the existence of HCC, schools will continue to reflect the racial/economic diversity or lack thereof of their neighborhood. Dismantling the cohort will not change this one bit unless they totally redraw all the school zones or introduce busing.

Schools in weathler whiter neighborhoods from which many HCC kids hail will continue to have a more affluent white student body. And removing the HCC cohort from more diverse sites (such as JAMS. TM, WMS or Garfield would result in those schools being more 'segregated' not less, in that the greater proportion of those remaining would be students of color or FRL.

Move past the past the optics, and buzzwords, and jealousy

green eyed monster

Anonymous said…
Troubled, I suspect if you lowered the CogAT to 97%, the kids who get in on private testing appeal would still get in. I suspect parents who go the private testing route do so because their kid is on the cusp, so they privately test. It might eliminate the percent that gets in on appeal, but likely not who gets in.

Just guessing
Anonymous said…
Just guessing. Fully agree, its likely mostly those on the border zone that are appealing. However, as the stark racial disparity points out, disenfranchised folks with kids on the border zone are not appealing at the same rate as those with more resources and know-how. Hence, lowering the acceptance bar to 97% would allow these folks to participate and be represented - in other words, it would be more equitable. And the ratios of those admitted without private testing appeal will likely look similar at 97% as it does at 98% - hence a higher proportion of underrepresented groups would be included in HCC compared with the current appeal system. Or keep the eligibility at 98% if a smaller cohort is preferred. But keep it the same for everyone - and without private testing - as that introduces a whole new bundle of inequities.

There are many things stacked against those with limited resources. Let's just level the playing field by eliminating private testing appeals.

Anonymous said…
There will be positives to returning HC to reference schools. Right now private schools, particularly private middle schools, gain students who do not qualify for HC assignment but whose families will not enroll them in the co-housed contemporary setting. With the dissolution of the cohort and the expansion of integrated advanced learning services at the reference school, it will make the untracked reference school more appealing to families who have gone private because they did not want their students stigmatized as not HC.

And it won’t cost anything to do this......


Anonymous said…
If you lower the threshold, you will still have many students just missing the cutoff, and likely more just missing the cutoff (bell curve and all that), meaning even more appeals. Private testing has been continued to support 2E students - I'd be curious how other districts handle testing for 2E.

Just to note, in my recent conversation with Wyeth Jessee, he indicated they are no longer using the Cogat.

Pro-WMS, good insights. I believe that the Superintendent and staff made this decision very much to be an early icebreaker to smash up HCC. Because your idea about RBHS makes tremendous sense and because Aki Kurose would have been a much more natural/better choice if the goal was to reach more students of color.

"Another interesting detail from this data: not all families who appeal are successful. Looks like about half of them are not. That puts the lie to the urban myth that appeals = surefire entry to HCC. Apparently not."

Yup. Or, that you can buy your way in.


"... it will make the untracked reference school more appealing to families who have gone private because they did not want their students stigmatized as not HC."

This is a stretch and I'd bet it's not that many kids for your reasoning.

Numbers, wish I had time to call around and find out how other districts serve their 2E kids; it's a great questions.

In reference to the low number of families of color who don't access the (free if you are F/RL) appeals, again, the district clearly hasn't done enough to make that clear.

Of course if your goal is to undermine a program, slowly and carefully, you'd want to make sure that, year after year, you make the program look woefully undiverse.

If your goal is to undermine a program, you go the Spectrum route and dissolve it like an episode of Breaking Bad, using acid to break down bodies,slowly and completely.

If your goal is to undermine a program, you don't really try to tell families of color about it and you certainly don't tell them they would probably get a free appeal.

That way you keep that diversity down and are able to say the design of the program - the district's own design - is racist. And, you save money on having to pay for those appeals.

It's a win-win for no one but the district.
Anonymous said…
Salut, I don't believe any families send their kids to private schools in order avoid them being stigmatized as non-HCC. and stigmatized by whom? Maybe you are projecting your own parental insecurities.
If families are choosing private schools over the schools that co-house HCC (eg WMS, JAMs or Garfield) then reasons are much deeper and probably varied than that. Perhaps they believe the kids will just get a better quality of education with smaller classes and more individual attention and rigor at a private school. Perhaps they want to avoid the racial or economic diversity of those schools, or the constant uncertainty and churn that goes with SPS. Maybe they don't want to be subject to mismanagement by a terrible principal. Maybe the particular pedagogy of the school is more appealing, or maybe its as simple as all the neighbors go to it.
Whatever the reason, I don't believe for one minute that getting rid of the HCC kids would make those schools more attractive to parents who must obviously have the means to go private. Those (and indeed all) public schools could become more attractive than private schools if they really truly offered advanced course work, smaller class sizes, and more individual differentiation and support for students however that is pie in the sky.
Anyone that has followed SPS for any time can see that this is all talk, and that what looks good on paper rarely materializes. Over many years SPS has failed to produce REAL opportunities for advanced work or differentiation consistently and equitably among its sites and indeed has scaled back any opportunities that did exist. Why would you possibly believe they will do so now - or that it wouldn't cost anything?

Green eyed monster
Co-housed said…
People are avoiding Hamilton, Eagle Staff, Jane Addams and Madison because of the co-housed HC students? B.S. Most of those schools are bursting at the seems and they would be anyway even if there was no HCC program co-housed there and the students just went to their neighborhood middle school. Eckstein would burst if you sent the HCC students back there. Who knows what would happen to McClure or Whitman. Pop?

One thing's for sure. It would change a LOT of middle school boundaries. And when you change middle school boundaries, high school boundaries would change. It would be a complete reshuffle.
Anonymous said…
There is stigmatization of non HC by HC. It occurs on this blog ( you did it to me just now) and at the school level. It also occurs on a social level. To avoid it, many go private.

We can gain back many private school students by integrating HC back into reference schools. It may mean some boundary reconfigurations, but they are an opportunity for increasing accessibility and equity.

Anonymous said…
@ Salut, talk about optimism and pessimism in one! "With the dissolution of the cohort and the expansion of integrated advanced learning services at the reference school, it will make the untracked reference school more appealing to families who have gone private because they did not want their students stigmatized as not HC."

Optimism: "Dissolution of the cohort" means "the expansion of integrated advanced learning services at the reference school"? Yeah right. Probably won't happen. After all, parents at reference schools shot down AL services and walk-to's because it made kids feel bad, so how can anyone believe that AL services will actually be offered in the future? We'll be back in the same boat as before.

Pessimism: "It will make the untracked reference school more appealing to families who have gone private because they did not want their students stigmatized as not HC." Wow, what a sad view of parents. Families are skipping shelling out big bucks for private schools so their kids aren't "stigmatized" as being a typical kid? If parents are so worried about their kids being not labeled in the 98th percentile or higher, we have bigger problems.

SE Parent said…

I'm not going to argue that eliminating appeals won't change the overall Advanced Learning Admission Rates at the edges, but I think its wishful thinking to believe this will solve the problem.

* Universal Screening Didn't Help: In the past, the argument was made of bias and discrimination in the nomination process, so "universal screening" was implemented in Tier 1 schools. But I don't believe this made a material difference.

* Non-Verbal Test Didn't Help: The argument was also made that the CogAT discriminated based on language, so the Non Verbal test was introduced. But again, I don't believe this made a material difference.

* Free Appeals Didn't Help: Further, the district made appeals testing free for low-income students, but that didn't really solve anything.

* Local Norms is Another Illusion: Some argue the solution is Local Norms, but I believe this is another illusion: Take Madron K-5. 91% of Whites Meet Standard on ELA vs 35% for Black / African Americans. If the district uses local norms at Madrona, in all likelihood it will mostly qualify more Whites and Asians.

* Reality is HCC Mirrors SBAC: The state used to publish the number of "SBAC Level 4s" by race and the numbers pretty much mirrored the HCC numbers. This is the real problem; Whites and Asians, on the whole, perform significantly better than Hispanics, African Americans, and other minorities on the qualifying tests, most likely because of family income level and parental education level. The kindergarten readiness numbers further support this.

* Solution: Use a Diversity Score: I believe the only realistic way to get more minorities into Advanced Learning is by lowering the bar, just like the College Board is doing by calculating a "Diversity Score". For example, if student is at a Title 1 School (w1), and the school is Underperforming (w2), and the student qualifies for Free or Reduced Lunch (w3), and neither parent graduated from college (w4), and first language at home is foreign (w5), then their eligibility requirement is w1*w2*w3*w4*w5*98% = adjusted eligibility score, such as 90th Percentile.

Anonymous said…
On the appeals issue, there's lots of talk about success by race and how that impacts optics and enrollments, but where's the discussion of whether or not the students who are admitted via appeal are actually just as qualified for HC services for everyone who got in via the district's testing?

The district's testing is not more accurate--in fact, it's probably less so--so there's no basis for an assumption that the students who get in via appeal are any less appropriate for HC services.

Efforts to limit appeals are solely an attempt to exclude needy students from HC services. How is that equitable? If too few minorities are taking advantage of the appeals process, isn't that the problem that should be fixed? If SPS is intent upon keeping its eligibility criteria the same, SPS could reach out to minority students who just miss the cut-off and strong encourage them to follow up with free private testing.

Excluding students who need services is a pretty shitty approach to improving SPS HCC optics.

typical SPS
Anonymous said…
I call BS on that - you have absolutely no evidence that would happen; and also how am I stigmatizing you Salut? By implying you are gullible for believing SPS can realistically implement their grand plan and at not cost.

You don't know whether I have an HC qualified student nor do I know that about you.

If anyone is stigmatized on this blog is it the families who choose HC. Any casual reader can see that they are called things like:

fakers (because of appeals)
not truly deserving of the HC designation
low performing (because of low numbers of NMSF)
not really gifted
wanting entry into HCC so they can become "rich, famous" or "notable"

This is just a small example of the language frequently seen on this blog and others about HC-qualifying kids and their families. And I have truly never seen any HC-aligned commenter say anything derogatory about gen-ed, except that maybe they are jealous. And I don't think that is entirely uncalled for given the illogical arguments against HCC seen here.

Green eyed monster

Salut, you offer no evidence of you conclusions.

It may mean some boundary reconfigurations, but they are an opportunity for increasing accessibility and equity.

I love that airy wave of the hand about boundaries but "increasing accessibility and equity" to what? HCC?

SE Parent, good insights and I like the idea of a diversity score. It's just that the district and some Board candidates are not looking for more kids of color in the program. They want everyone to stay put in their attendance schools and receive "services" there.

Anonymous said…
Well you implied that I was jealous and inferred that I would have a child that did not or would not qualify for HC, as if that was the only reason for objection. You might consider that many do not support cohorted HC because the practice has no academic benefit and the population is a contrived one as proven by the appeals’ numbers.

D7 parent said…
What you are missing too is 2e kids. Many of them do not perform to their abilities in the group testing environment the district provides, and many of their disabilities aren't actually discovered until they do private testing because their giftednesss masks their disability. And before anyone says that if their giftednesss "overcomes" their disability they can just be in gen ed, I'll point out that this usually only happens in the lower grades as masking becomes less possible as work gets harder, and kids with disabilities still have a legal right to be taught to their cognitive ability.
Screen Everyone said…
Fiction: Universal Screening Didn't Help
Fact: Universal screening does help identify kids who needed HC services and get them those services. The universal screening at title 1 schools does identify students who need services and get them those services.
"You might consider that many do not support cohorted HC because the practice has no academic benefit ..."

Read any Seattle Times comment section on public ed, especially around Sped and the above is exactly what gets said. Just because parents or the public don't think it has benefit, the district and the State and the feds are in charge of programming.
Anonymous said…
Salut - No academic benefit? I'm pretty sure it is of academic benefit to the kids who are in HCC classes to be doing class work that is at a more appropriate level and instead of languishing and learning nothing new. But of course SPS does not seem to want to measure performance outcomes in this group so there is really no data relating to this district. SBAC tests are at grade level even if the kids have been working on curriculum 2 years ahead for example.
But once again you make a claim without providing any evidence, and I think in fact there is evidence that cohorted is the one of the best models
"The existing base of scientific research is generally supportive of the homogeneous/ability grouping model as a means of improving achievement for gifted learners. .....Some studies have also identified some negative impacts of deliberate homogeneity. Research suggests that gifted students may experience a slight decline in self-esteem in the homogeneous/ability grouping model, likely due to the recognition that they are now performing at a similar level as the rest of the cohort."

You are the one that said non-HCC kids are stigmatized - asked by whom and why you would think that? Is that just how you feel? I don't know whether you have HC qualified kid - maybe you do and you chose to stay at neighborhood school for all I know, but as I said before, I genuinely struggle to understand where this animosity toward families/student in HCC comes from. I don't understand why people feel that the existence of of a group of kids doing classes/work 1-2 years ahead is harming kids who are doing grade level work. Contrary to popular belief they are not getting special teachers or more resources or money spent on them. Look at the names they are called. Now even the district has a agenda and courts this sort of attention by using language like segregation and privilege. SPS is effectively rallying a disgruntled mob chanting "Send them back! (to their neighborhood school)" so that when they carry out their agenda they can say it's what the community wanted. It's all very well to say we'll have Integrated advanced learning - but it's campaign promise and based on past performance I'm not convinced that the this differentiation/MTSS will ever actually materialize.

green eyed monster

HCC Parent said…
Teachers are making less HCC referrals. The district needs to break- down data for multi-racial students enrolled in HCC.
Anonymous said…
@Green eyed monster:

I have no horse in this race. To imply that all of the obvious issues with SPS HC--which include segregation by demographics and race, lack of best practices in trying to identify historically underserved students, the underwhelming performance of cohorts students--are not driving this discussion but instead it's a jealousy of you and yours would be laughable were it not so typical.

A cohort model is best practice for serving gifted students. Unfortunately, HCC/HC is anything but that. It is HC with 40% by appeals, to boot.

If you could digest this it might help: not everything is about you.

Adulthood 101
TAF Meetings said…
Is it ok that the district segregates meetings? More on TAF:

Elementary families of color and ELL families at John Muir, Thurgood Marshall and Bailey Gatzert
June 12, 2019, 6-7:30 p.m. 2100 Building
August 3 2019, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Bailey Gatzert Elementary
August 17, 2019: To Be Rescheduled
Please note, the August 17 STEM by TAF event at Bailey Gatzert for 4th grade families will be rescheduled. The new date will be posted here when confirmed.
All elementary families at John Muir, Thurgood Marshall, Bailey Gatzert and other interest elementary families.
June 25, 2019, 7 - 8 a.m. Washington Middle School
October 19, 2019, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Washington Middle School


so many lies said…
Many HC parents have been fighting for equity in identification for a long time. Have you been paying attention to what is really going on, or just believing the rhetoric from the district?
Anonymous said…
@adulthood 101. I know not everything is about me, or about HCC

But for some reason the district and other parties (including some running for board positions) seem to be making it all about HCC.

You agree the cohort model is the best practice for serving gifted students so what do you have against HCC as it stands in SPS. We can all agree the DISTRICT has failed for a long time at identifying gifted or potential talent among undeserved populations. That an excessive number get in by appeal also relates to failings in the districts own identification practices and policies. BUT none of this is the fault of families who access the HCC offerings and I think you'll find no argument from them against using best practices for identification and other measures to increase diversity.
Now they want to get rid of the cohorted model because of their own failings make the optics look bad. So families with students in HCC and others who believe this is the best approach for dealing with gifted students (as mandated by state law) are forced to defend the status quo. Not because they think it is the best thing ever (it could certainly be better) but because they fear (rightly) that the alternative proposed by the district is, in reality, nothing at all.

It is the district and some community members who hold HCC up as the beacon of inequity in the district, causing segregation and perpetuating white privilege. They are the ones who seek to make it all about HCC in an attempt to push through their agenda.

green eyed monster
Anonymous said…
Again, where is the data for students w disabilities and hcc??

Anonymous said…
Let’s face it. Where did Jeff Bezos send his kid who graduated in 2018? (now at MIT) Where does Bill Gates send his kids? Where do all the Microsoft tech execs send their kids? And Amazon execs? Where do all the Seattle Intelligensia send their kids???? Hint? Not the slave ship. Overwhelmingly the smart successful Seattlelites send their smart offspring to Lakeside. Any truly smart kid in Seattle would get a free ride to Lakeside if they need it. The second or third string goes to HCC if they can. HCC is actually the

Green Eyed
Anonymous said…
Green Eyed. Not true at all. Happily have sent my kids to HCC by choice. Have been extremely pleased with HCC. North HCC - so my experience in no way reflects the turmoil in the south. Many Seattle intelligentsia send their kids to HCC. They just do it more quietly. Bezos, Gates, etc also need private school for security. No matter how highly I think of my kids, no one is planning to kidnap them!

HCC has been fantastic for my family. Obviously HCC is also positive for many other folks otherwise why strive so hard to save it. We need to learn lessons from the good parts of HCC and make sure all of SPS gets an equally enriching experience for whatever level of education each student needs.

Green Eyed Monster. I disagree with one point. The appeals process (private testing) is clearly not equitable and not simply optics. The numbers are startling. Hopefully the district and board will look into this more closely. Some have said that eliminating appeals won't solve the problem of inequity. Of course it won't, but it is an important step to improving equity. I get the 2e concern, and it should be studied and addressed thoughtfully. But current practice of appeals so glaringly benefits those who have means and know how to navigate the process. Simple statistics says ability to test privately gives an unfair advantage - the more you test, the more opportunity to get over that magic line. This is NOT equality of opportunity.

I'm still

Anonymous said…
Green eyed you forgot one common factor with your list of Seattle intelligentsia - RICH. And anyway Bill Gates went to Lakeside himself but sent his kids to Evergreen and Eastside Prep.
I don't know what your point is. Apart from implying HCC kids must not be truly smart and are more like 2nd or 3rd string. (Sigh more namecalling).

Firstly, plenty of families make enough that they would not qualify for a substantial scholarship yet could in no way afford the $30 000 + per student per year that a private school costs. It doesn't mean their kids wouldn't be good enough to get in if they applied.
2ndly, Lakeside isn't the be all and end all - the wealthy elite send their kids to other great private schools in the Seattle and the Eastside. Some people would not think Lakeside would be be a good fit and some people actually support the idea of public education (- even though SPS makes it harder and harder to.)

But yeah, I won't deny that I am a bit jealous that those private school kids are getting a top notch, college prep education with class sizes of 11-15, great course offerings, responsive staff and counseling and none of the limited resources and political bullshit that we struggle with in SPS. So what? I'm not out there bashing those kids and their families who choose private school - I'm not decrying their privilege, or saying they are harming SPS students by not participating in the public school system, and trying to get their schools closed down. If they applied to the school and met the rigorous selection criteria and can afford it. then good for them! Same with the kids in the SPS's HCC program, if they applied to the program and met the criteria and chose to go to an available HCC school (not that they compare in any way to a private school). good for them! It doesn't hurt anyone else!

Green eyed monster
Anonymous said…
Disabilities in HCC. A bit of an oxymoron. Students don’t have some god given or legislated right to a mythical “taught to their cognitive level”. That is false. There is no such requirement. Students with disabilities have a right to participate in any program for which they qualify. Period. But HCC requires both high cognitive ability and high academic ability. Most students with disabilities qualify under IDEA with an academic deficit, and often a cognitive deficit. Therefore, disability participation in HCC should be exceedingly rare. There is no special program for high IQ and academic underachievement, maybe special ed should offer it. It is perfectly reasonable to imagine a student with a physical or emotional disability qualifying for HCC, but these disabilities are low incidence. Supposedly Virginia offers a special ed program for that, but that is not what HCC is. HCC, like every school program, must provide accommodations to support anyone with a disability. It’s unreasonable though to provide continuing special instruction for students with academic disabilities in a program for academic acceleration. And, it’s a waste of resources. If your kid can be independent in a gen ed class, that is what they should do. At the end of the day, the fact that a student has a high IQ isn’t really meaningful if they can’t perform well. And also questionable is the heavy reliance on private testing. Like all others who get in via appeal, the results are suspect. Every parent usually thinks their own kid is smarter than they are, disability or not.

so many lies said…
Really? How many families do you think actually send their kids to private school because they don't want them in the same building as HCC? I'd guess that number is pretty low
You can hate HCC co housed programs, but in most schools that have cohoused HCC the HCC families bring resources that are either school wide or largely funneled to support gen ed needs.
Anonymous said…
GEM amen.

MC Truth. Don't disparage kids just because they are 2e. I've listened to you threating post for a while... aybe it's time to pack it up for a while.

Board room
Anonymous said…
Private testing would not be necessary if teachers knew how to identify 2e especially dyslexia. I guarantee that half those successful appeals are because of a LD. We will never know because it doesn't benefit Juneau to share the narative when she has the likes of Brian Terry and Devin Bruckner who conflate and call school staff white supremacists on her side. Just keep pushing soon her and hurricane Emily can start a charter school with them. They aren't helping SPS IMO.

Busted drums?

Anonymous said…
2e is ADD, ADHD dys - lexia, graphia, calculia. It is medical conditions that hampers achievement but not so that they can not be served in the cohort.

Often times there IQ means they probably will do just as you say... Stay in gen Ed with a higher likelyhood of suicide or dropping out. Because IT masks there underlying LD but I guess that is fine with your sense of fairness. As long as they don't get anything different from all the other kids. And that doesn't mean better, it's just different.

Liar liar pos
Anonymous said…
Truth, there is no such thing as an academic disability. What you are asserting is that qualified students do not have to be served in classes with a higher level curriculum. I believe the term for that is discrimination.

Tell the truth
Anonymous said…
Honestly I don't believe most HCC families think placing students in the HCC cohort is the best practice for educating HC students. I believe that many of them think it is the best that SPS has been able to offer and maybe the best that SPS can afford. I believe further that if SPS implemented a plan to truly meet students where they are and educate them at the appropriate levels then most HCC families would be fine with dissolving the current system. Given how unlikely that is (see Kellie's explanation of why that would be expensive), from the point of view of HCC families it looks backward to remove what little services the district manages to provide for them, and replace those services with what amounts to... nothing.

Every student in every class learns something every day whether the grownups bother to teach them or not. Some of them learn that the grownups have very little idea of what they are going through and what helps them learn. In this district there are many lucky students who have excellent teachers and learn a lot of useful things from those excellent teachers. That does not mean the district has any cohesive plan to provide a consistently good education to every student.

The district should focus less on playing gatekeeper, denying that students have varying needs, and encouraging families to fight each other for access to what their students need (SpEd, music programs, decent science instruction, neighborhood schools, option schools, advanced learning, whatever) and should focus more on making sure more of those needs are getting met. A good first step would be to move toward providing enough classrooms, and an excellent teacher for every class, so that students can at least learn that the grownups are paying attention and trying to help them.


Anonymous said…
Students absolutely do qualify for special education in the academic subjects of reading, writing, or math. Most students in special ed absolutely are significantly BEHIND in these areas. That’s how they qualify for special ed. If so, HCC is not the program for them. It is a program for students who are AHEAD. Ahead and behind are opposites. HCC is not just a high IQ program. If students have a disability that can be accommodated, as in, use a writing device, books on tape, or organizational system, that is fine.. A program that is “accelerated” is at odds with people who can’t keep up, even if due to disability. Maybe families with these disabilities should argue for that program: high IQ/cognitive underachieving program. Meaning, IQ doesn’t match performance. If HCC is appropriate for kids who can’t read, are slow at academic, can’t do math, then any general ed student could be in HCC with special education support. Why not?

Anonymous said…
Green Eye you are making incorrect assumptions with zero data. Our kid got into Lakeside with a significant scholarship. We chose to send them to HCC instead for various reasons. Lakeside has nowhere near enough slots for all the kids in the metro area who are qualified. They intentionally admit kids from all over, not just Seattle, and BTW also admit non-gifted kids intentionally. They also have very few slots, it was 60 (approx 30 each gender) when we applied.

If the district offered opt in honors courses at the elementary and middle school level, like AP/IB at the high school level it would be a different situation. However many have been at schools where programs such as walk to math were dissolved by the principal, due to complaints from other middle class parents.

Wrong assumptions
Anonymous said…
Truth, you are spinning sad old sterotypes. Please stop. Excluding a whole group of students on the basis of disability is discrimination. Read the law.

Anonymous said…
Truth, according to your criteria people like Albert Einstein and Richard Branson wouldn't belong in your version of HCC. You're just exposing your ignorance and bias about 2e.

Anonymous said…
@ Truth, you seem unfamiliar with how/why accommodations work. Your insistence that "a program that is 'accelerated' is at odds with people who can’t keep up, even if due to disability" is BS. The goal of accommodations--which are probably more commonly via a 504 plan when we're talking about HCC--is to minimize the impact of the disability so that kids CAN keep up. If a student STILL can't keep up in HCC even with appropriate accommodations, they would likely be counseled out of the program. (And really, what parent would want their disabled child to have the additional stress of non being able to keep up year after year?)

Private testing, often after surprisingly missing the HCC cut-off, may be what clues parents in to the fact that their child has a learning disability that requires accommodations in order to continue performing at the high level. Accommodations aren't giving the child a leg up, but are rather allowing the child to perform at their intellectual level. Private testing can also be a form of accommodation itself, a form of distraction-free testing for students with attention-related disabilities, anxiety, etc. Accommodations for such conditions often call for distraction-free environments, which I don't believe the district's HC testing provides in such cases. I also don't know if the district's testing provides for extended time, which is another common accommodation for many learning disabilities. To the extent the district's testing is NOT providing appropriate accommodations for HC students who need them, the private testing would.

Basically, you're advocating for a situation like this: Hey parent, your student's test scores suggest they might be academically gifted, so we want them to take this other test. Bummer, they didn't do well on this test that requires them also jump rope and chew gum at the same time, but they don't know how to jump rope so they must not be gifted. And sorry, we don't have a version of the test that doesn't include jumping rope, even though we know jumping rope has nothing to do with their intellectual capacity.

2e 4real

Anonymous said…
Truth is making the same argument that Michael Christensen would make. SpEd only has one dimension. And that dimension includes that all special ed kids should be in a class with all of the other kids. And this is in the law.

If it were so easy right? And yeah those kids that Michael Christensen is advocating for do get additional resources so they can be in a classroom including IAs, IEPs and separate resource rooms as needed. Can Seattle Public schools afford that for every student? Don't tell me MTSS oil Will grease the skids so we can get rid of those IAs and heck no more 504s. What is neglected in this scenario are those kids you can achieve at a reasonable level in what used to be defined as two grade levels ahead in many subjects now is just a math with special science kits. And yeah those who qualify as 2e are certainly ready to excel in those classes because they're nearly nothing but at least you're going at pace that allows to learn something new some days. That is absolutely not going to be guaranteed in juneau's race baited plan.

Celery bank
Anonymous said…

You seem not to realize that your argument flies in the face of equity and universal design. Perhaps you don’t think students with disabilities are deserving of either?

You’re essentially arguing to bring back the floor of opportunity rather than use the above concepts to bridge the gap for people who are capable of achievement when given the proper support and accommodations.

I share your anger that so many students, perhaps your own also, lack fundamental supports, equitable systems and environment to reach their potential.

What I don’t understand is what you hope to accomplish by repeatedly tearing down students with disabilities, 2e or otherwise, who may need other avenues to demonstrate knowledge and achieve success and independence.

Discrimination on the basis of ability, race, gender is unacceptable and illegal.

Anonymous said…
Universal Design is a great idea. I support it. And when we get it, we won’t need HCC. HCC was designed precisely to avoid udl, to teach at an advanced level, not a universal one. You don’t seem to have read my post. If students with disabilities can keep up in HCC with necessary accommodations, perhaps considerable, then they absolutely should be in HCC. But if they can’t keep up with reasonable accommodations, then the district shouldn’t spend any additional resources for extra instruction. There is general education that goes at the pace they need. 1. The child is more independent. 2. The child is learning at their natural pace. 3. Most likely, the privately paid for IQ test is aspirational.

Look. General ed isn’t a punishment. Telling that you think so. If you think suggesting a kid who can’t perform well in an accelerated program should be in the regular general education is some sort of insult, you are really denigrating all the students in regular ed. Why is your kid who can’t do the work too good for regular education? Is it perhaps racist or classist? There are some average white people after all. Holding students to the same standards for participation in any program, with reasonable accommodations, isn’t discriminatory. It’s equity. And, it’s the law. The law doesn’t entitle people with disabilities a special reason to play varsity. It does require that they get the opportunity. A quadriplegic won’t be denied a role as the team punter, because he has a disability... but because he can’t kick the ball!

Tired Parent said…
Wow. Stunning bigotry.
Anonymous said…
If HCC is appropriate for kids who can’t read, are slow at academic, can’t do math, then any general ed student could be in HCC with special education support. Why not?

Who is saying HCC is necessarily appropriate for kids who can't do math, are slow, can't read, etc?

But HCC CAN be appropriate for a kid who can't read regular textbooks due to blindness or dyslexia (and thus maybe needs braille or audio books as an accommodation), or a kid needs a little extra time due to a processing disorder, or a kid who understands challenging math concepts and how to apply them but needs to use a calculator due to dyscalculia, or a kid who can't physically write well due to dysgraphia and needs to use a keypad instead, etc. It's like allowing someone to use a wheelchair if they can't walk, or a hearing aid if they can't hear well.

You're right that there are probably some GE students who should more appropriately be in HCC and could do well there with the appropriate support. I think most HCC families would agree. It's a real shame that SPS does such a poor job of finding those students. Teachers are often not good at recognizing high-IQ-but-underperforming students, and parents often don't see the signs themselves. We need more education for all on how to identify these students--students who may not be under-performing compared to their grade-level peers, but who ARE underperforming compared to their potential due to undiagnosed learning disabilities. Maybe the answer is more screening, I don't know. It's also quite possible that the racial disparity in HC eligibility is partly due to increased follow-up re: suspected learning disabilities by white and Asian parents, who may be more familiar with the reality that there are many 2e students out there. Personally, I think any time a teacher suggests a student needs to "try harder" or "pay better attention" or "get their work done faster" or "read more carefully" or "not make silly mistakes" or "not keep losing their homework" or so on, they should be required to refer the student for an evaluation. But it's absurd to think that, if there's a learning issue behind the troublesome behavior, addressing the learning issue will make the child HC. If a kid can't focus due to ADHD and then gets treatment for their ADHD, they are still likely to perform in the "average" range (because most students do). If they can read better because they got the glasses they needed, it doesn't mean they'll become an advanced reader--they may perform at grade level. If their writing was sloppy and now it's neat because they are using an iPad, that doesn't mean they suddenly will write at an above grade level. Accommodations allow students to perform closer to the level at which they would perform if they did not have the disability--which, for most kids will be around grade level. For some, however, it will be at an HC level. Legitimately. Not because they are getting an unfair advantage, but rather because they are getting the disability supports they need. I would like to see SPS provide disability supports to all students who need them, just as I would like to see them provide academic supports to all who need those, too. But they are inherently different, and suggesting that disability accommodations are some sort of backdoor entrance to HCC is pretty terrible IMHO.

all types
Anonymous said…
@ Truth, why do you keep talking about "kids who can't do the work"? Who says they can't? You mean because they didn't quite make the cut-off on the district's HC test and got in on appeal instead? If that were the case, we'd have large numbers of HCC students failing in HCC. But we don't, so it seems like they CAN keep up just fine (with or without accommodations, it's unclear).

This "can't do the work" idea is obnoxious, and there's no evidence that district IS spending a bunch of additional resources for extra instruction for those who can’t keep up even with with reasonable accommodations.

PS - The "pace" of instruction is pretty similar between GE and HCC, since they use the same curriculum. HCC classes don't necessarily move faster--students just cover material that is a year or two advanced. Ideally, an HC curriculum would also move at a faster pace (and go deeper), but that's not what we have. The idea that being in GE makes a 2e student more "independent" is also baseless, and the idea that disabled students should learn at their "natural" (unaccommodated?) pace is offensive. As you your ridiculous quadriplegic analogy, if a student could kick well with a prosthetic foot (i.e., an accommodation), should they also be denied a chance to play? That's more like what we're talking about here.

Anonymous said…
Once again. I’m all for accommodations. Bring ‘em on. All Types lists many accommodations. Yes. HCC must provide them. We agree.

AT. The idea that is a cadre of unidentifed learning disabled students in general ed who are really HCC students who would thrive if given a lot of support, presumably special education support... is an idea throughout this posting. It attempts to explain the 40% appeals rate for white HCC enrollees. That is, taking an independent student, and creating a dependent student is a great idea, because they will attend class with high IQ students. That is not the way anyone should go. The district should not support it.

Btw. WIAA does not support many accommodations, even reasonable ones.

Anonymous said…
Truth, now you are saying that accommodations create dependency? Who are you and why are you participating in a conversation that you don't know anything about? Millions of adults thrive in the workplace because of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Such discriminatory thinking on your part.

Anonymous said…
No Troubled. I have said repeatedly that accommodations are 100% the job of HCC and are required under the ADA. But special instruction or adult support to catch up or remediate academic deficiency, which would otherwise be average performance does indeed create an unnecessary adult dependency. Why do it just feel good about IQ? Btw. I’ve heard AL staff express the same sentiment, and principals.


Anonymous said…

Why are you presuming they all special education support services as opposed to 504 accommodations? I think the latter are much more common in HCC. Twice exceptional students who may need private testing in order to show their true abilities often fall into the 504 plan group. They may not count as "special ed," but they ARE considered 2e.

Putting a learning disabled student in GE or HC has no bearing on the student's level of independence. You are essentially arguing that a learning disabled student's disabilities are irrelevant in GE and don't require accommodations, wheres in HCC the student would need to have their disability addresses via accommodations in order to succeed. If that's the case, by all means bring on the accommodations and let the kids thrive! But that's not the case, and students with disabilities need accommodations regardless of setting. Just because a high-IQ student can do "well enough" in GE does not mean they don't need--and aren't entitled to--services. And that "well enough" is probably only temporary anyway, until the demands of school outweigh the ability of their cognitive giftedness to compensate for their disability. Better in the long run to teach them strategies that work to minimize their disability and maximize their learning. Attending classes with other high IQ students doesn't damage them, truly. Often the reverse is true.

all types
"I’ve heard AL staff express the same sentiment, and principals."

Yes, we've ALL "heard" from staff and principals. C'mon, unless you work there, it means little. I keep hearing this from Liza Rankin to the point where she cites her parents are both psychologists and somehow that training has migrated to her.

"Hearing" is not knowing for certain.

Having a few random staff tell you something, doesn't make your case stronger.
Anonymous said…
As I told Michael Christensen, on the average about a quarter of the white students that get in because some sort of private testing. We have no way of knowing if that was IQ testing math testing or even reading testing. Mathematically it could have been 1/3 each. The district won't share those numbers because?!?!

And we are working off last year's numbers for that? Not at all, they are three years old.

So Michael, Brian and Devin all like to do the same thing. Conflate, aggravate, bloviate and share their hate for the HCC.

Celery Bank
Anonymous said…
We don’t have an iq requirement for attending public school. We don’t use iq as a sorting device for who gets to learn with who. Making the argument that attending classes with similarly iq rated students is acceptable and necessary and beneficial - for a select cohort - seems to go against the grain of what public education is about. If the argument is that iq is the determining factor for classroom composition, then why aren’t we using that for everyone from day one?

We know why. No one would have any credence in the system and would be horrified to see such a system implemented. But it seems someone like All Types might just go for it.

Moved On said…
Appeals are way down since they raised the appeal standard. That doesn't mean the district is doing a better job finding the students that could use the program and getting them services. They are not.

Why are folx here obsessing over the old appeal rate from several years ago? We've all moved on...
Anonymous said…
All Types, lots of people have requested a heavy duty special ed program be placed with HCC so that kids could have 1-1 instruction to make it in HCC. That isn’t “accommodation” that’s constant assistance with the actual work. If you need that much help at being gifted, you aren’t. Thankfully the district sees it that way too.

Anonymous said…
Gee truth, what is an "academic deficiency." Is that another way of saying "you can't be served here" because that is sure what it sounds like. You are heavy duty discriminating.

Anonymous said…
Yeah, they've essentially moved the cutoff to 99%ile. All without changing the programming. Well, they've actually REDUCED the level of acceleration, while RAISING the qualifications. So appeals are likely down...but the program is an even greater mismatch for those who qualify at the higher levels.

typical SPS
Anonymous said…
Gee Trouble. Believe it or not, IDEA defines the academic deficiencies required for qualification for services. It is actually a way of saying “you CAN be served here, with these extra federal funds”. You are heavy duty ignorant. Using funds for the wrong program is actually discriminating against those who really do qualify for them.

Anonymous said…
Truth is providing a nice bogey man component to this thread, like an active straw man argument.

SPS HC/HCC is not a gifted program since it has a required performance component.

This has kept actual single subject gifted students from receiving services.

Why is that not the real issue instead of making this into a shouting match over nonsense comments?

Because it's easier than dealing with the real changes that need to be made.

Jerry Springer

Anonymous said…
@ Truth, While IDEA may define the "academic deficiencies required for qualification for services," it's not so black and white. The discrepancy model, for example--looking at the discrepancy between intellectual ability (e.g., IQ) and achievement to determine qualification under IDEA--is not consistently used or clearly defined.

It can be a way of saying “you CAN be served here, with these extra federal funds” if a district uses it in a way consistent with HC 2e student profiles, or it can be a way of saying they CANNOt if they don't. Many times schools/districts don't want to consider the size of the discrepancy as a factor, in which case it's a way to deny services. It's also important to consider what you mean by "here." You seem to mean "here" as in Special Ed (or maybe GE) classrooms, that if a student qualifies under IDEA they should be served there. But IDEA also requires LRE, and federal guidance allows for special ed students to also qualify for gifted programming. It is not "using funds for the wrong program" or "discriminating against those who really do qualify for them" to use IDEA funds for a IDEA-qualified student to access HCC. But that's rarely happening anyway, so you don't need to worry about the cost so much. It's much more likely for a 2e HC student to qualify under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act instead.

Your earlier comment that "special instruction or adult support to catch up or remediate academic deficiency, which would otherwise be average performance does indeed create an unnecessary adult dependency" suggests you are opposed to the discrepancy model--that special ed supports should only be available to those with below average performance (regardless of ability to catch up), and that special ed supports should not be provided to help those who are underachieving if they are doing "good enough" relative to other kids, even if they are struggling mightily (emotionally and academically) and severely underachieving relative to their own intellectual capacity. That's a pretty harsh take on education, and the needs of kids.

You could also extent that same logic to all sorts of kids, no? Why should Garfield provide any extra supports to help struggling kids in Honors for All? If they can't keep up, they can't keep up. Why should a kid who does not qualify for sped services be allowed to make up a GE class if they fail one--that seems like a waste of resources, and they should have kept up!

There are all sorts of ways we can imagine to punish kids for not "deserving" services, but I prefer to think about how we can (and should) meet their needs.

all types
Anonymous said…

You’re seriously misguided about the way disability impacts academic performance.

You said above that “heavy duty special ed services” shouldn’t be offered at HCC, because otherwise the kids who need it aren’t really gifted.

You obviously don’t realize that some kids need a higher level of service, because their social, emotional and perceptual challenges may seriously interfere with their academics such as working cooperatively in groups, understanding and discussing motivation and perspective whether a classmate’s or a fictional character in their ELA assignment, verbalizing needs, organizing thoughts, initiating thoughts, written expression and so on.

Some of the most frustrated children are ones who don’t have self regulation to manage their moods and frustrations nor the expressive language to explain and self-advocate when they’re agitated so they just explode.

And then they get disproportionately disciplined based on their disability. All of them lose educational minutes.

All those children deserve SDI, 2e or otherwise.

The alternative is you withhold SDI so those kids are traumatized by the school as punishment for needing a basic education as defined by state law.

Your ignorance isn’t supported by the law, but the good news for you is most parents, including the middle-class, don’t have the discretionary funds to sue and its awfully difficult for parents to win in court, because of how the law is written.

The ones who pay the stiffest price from attitudes like yours are the kids.

Anonymous said…
@Truth should just thank their lucky stars they don't have to live the daily hell many 2e families live just trying to give their children an appropriate education. Many 2e students don't fit in anywhere-gen ed or most gifted programs. 2e students may struggle with executive functioning skills or find it difficult to engage and focus on topics they find boring. It's not unusual for 2e students to have extremely high reasoning ability yet slow processing speed and/or working memory. These can show up as underperformance in the classroom. All research on giftedness shows that the greater the giftedness the greater the asynchrony. Plunking those students in gen ed is precisely the wrong approach as they know and get most concepts quickly.

Stop Belittling
Anonymous said…
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