HiCap Parents Council Meeting
October 27, 2020
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Participants: Amity Butler, Gavin Doyle, Tessa Blocksom, Carson Sanderson, Audrey Kozel, Angie Nancock, Steven Rubenstein, Anja Wade, Nancy Johnson, Stephanie Corrigan, Jasmine?, Austina, Jennifer Herrman, Sean Qu, Terri Kashi, Starks Qing, Lauren Lewis, Cooper Brix, Veronica Webb, Liz Smith
Meeting summary Part 1
Hicap Screening and Testing (update from Amity)
Students who are seeing HiCap testing for the first time are
those who need to be screened using NNAT3. Students who are already single
qualified would be tested with IOWA.
There are 393 students in 6th and 7th
grades who need to be screened. They can be screened by NNAT3 remotely. The
process will be to distribute district devices to those students who do not
already have them, as installation of the app for screening is more challenging
than distribution of devices.
A similar process was followed last year for online algebra
Old district devices need to be updated to make large scale
Once the process has been shown successful in grades 6-7,
the devices can be collected and 5th graders can be tested.
Currently, screening grades K-4 is on pause. Principals are
being queried frequently about when screening will take place.
Services for students single qualified in math (update from
Fourth and 5th grade math students qualified for HiCap math
are either receiving services through the school’s EAP (if available), or through
an online program called Ingenuity. Students are seeing a large jump in
expectations when jumping up 2 grade levels of math, and it is still more
challenging not seeing a teacher every day and learning how to receive online
instruction. Amity is receiving feedback from teachers and parents, who have
provided great ideas to improve the program.
Austina asked whether and when to invite Cathy Davis,
principal of Ruby Bridges, back to provide feedback about the programs they
have implemented. There is specific interest in earing how they are utilizing
iReady scores and group testing. There was general interest in inviting Cathy
Davis back after the first grading quarter has been completed. Hillarie also
asked whether other school principals are ever invited to join the meetings.
Amity is responsible for inviting principals; ideally, there would be at least
1 principal representative from each level of school (e.g. elementary, middle
and high), but it is challenging to get commitments from busy principals or
Amity has access to all of the iReady scores from the
district. She is able to ask students to have secondary assessments if she
believes the results are inaccurate.
Amity sends all Schoology issues to Tracy Malloy, who has
the greatest contact with the company providing the program.
Austina suggested the next meeting should be in early
December (2-4). Austina asked Amity to follow up with Cathy Davis to find out
whether she is available during that week.
Middle school/high school math –
Carson stated she has 2 students doing Algebra 2 this year,
one in high school and one in middle school. She stated that while the course
content is similar, the policies set by the teachers are vastly different: one
teacher allows quizzes to be re-taken for 100% credit, supporting a growth mind
set, while the other teacher allows re-takes of quizzes on which students have
scored below 75% to be retaken for up to 75% credit. She suggested that there
should be some kind of alignment within the district with respect to growth
mindset or not.
In addition, at the middle school level, grades are not
rounded up, while in high school they are rounded up. Again, this is a place
for creation of consistency.
Documentation of issues at the high school level
Austina created a living document outlining the issues
observed at the high school level. The result is a stand alone document pasted
below for completeness of the meeting summary:
HiCap High School Issues & Concerns
ALL - What is the Math progression for triple jump math
students. What classes will be offered to them when they get to high school?
And can there be options that are not just more and more calculus.
IHS – IB program won’t allow testing in HL 2 as 11th
graders, and so our double jump or triple jump kids can’t test in the
appropriate level of math the year that they actually take the class. Maybe
inserting a year of AP Statistics or other math courses *before* IB math would
be a better solution, to better align with the IB program?
ALL - Pre-requisites for science are enforced or not
enforced in different schools in different ways. WHS allows students to skip
intro science classes and go straight to AP classes. BHS requires all pre-reqs
for science to be met, even for hicap students. NCHS requires some level of
pre-reqs but could be via self-study or an outside course.
IHS, BHS, NCHS – Lack of rigorous science offering for 9th
grade students. Previously, there was a pre-IB Chemistry/Biology class at
Inglemoor, but it doesn’t exist anymore. Pre-AP Biology/Chemistry does exist at
WHS however, and it seems to work very well to prepare hicap 9th
graders for AP science courses that follow. Why isn’t this pre-IB/AP
Chemistry/Biology course offered at all of the high schools?
BHS – BHS is not allowing freshmen to take AP classes as a
freshman. BHS requires student to take biology and chemistry before they can
take AP classes in those subjects. According to course catalog BHS allows
students to skip biology to take AP Biology, but parents have been told they
could not. There are no 9th graders registered in AP Bio this year
in bothell. There are 9th graders in chemistry in bothell this year.
English & History
BHS – Gen Ed & Pre-AP English. They are SO different,
the level that they are taught at, the expectations are so extremely different.
Coming from AAP English in middle school, choosing Gen Ed English in high
school was much too easy, stuff he was learning in 3rd grade. There
are no due dates, only suggestions.
NCHS, IHS – Gen Ed English 9 was removed at north creek and
inglemoor last year, in favor of having separate hicap sections. HiCap sections
of pre-AP English 9 at North Creek happened last year. This year, however,
those hicap 9th grade students were allowed to opt in to pre-AP
English 10, and NO hicap section of pre-AP English 9 was offered. However, the
content in pre-AP English 10 is a lot darker, and parents were warned it may
not be appropriate. There is no HiCap clustering happening, even in the 10th
grade classes. It was not clear to the parents that the only hicap option this
year for 9th graders was skipping to 10th grade English.
Last year’s 9th grade English hicap cohort was really powerful as a
transition from AAP, and lots of disappointment that it didn’t happen this
IHS – similar situation at Inglemoor for 9th
grade history, and a separate hicap section was offered last year. Was it
offered this year?
IHS – Did Inglemoor offer HiCap English 9 sections this
NCHS, IHS – Ripple effect of offering different HiCap courses
at North Creek and Inglemoor. We don’t have great ways to identify kids
entering in 9th grade, so this is not fully equitable when we have
hicap specific course choices that aren’t available to other students. What if
a student is newly enrolled and didn’t participate in earlier district
ALL - Choice of content for HiCap students that are
sensitive, especially novels for English courses. Very dark content in many of
these books that they read. Hard to make that transition for some of our
students. Not a balance of topics. Almost all books center on characters dying.
And now there are even fewer selections with more limited reading during
distance learning. Would like some uplifting books to round out the heavy
stuff. Need to keep things content appropriate, not just reading level. During
pandemic, particularly tough time to be reading challenging/dark material.
Particularly concerning books: “Stuck in Neutral” “Beloved” “Hate List” “This
Boy’s Life” “Tangerine”
Syllabus & Course Catalog
ALL – Different philosophy at different schools. North Creek
& WHS, if you think that class is a good approach for you, go for it. Other
schools there is a paternalism to not allow kids to take those challenges on
ALL – Course catalog isn’t accurate with prerequisites, or
may show prerequisites that aren’t enforced.
ALL – Not having syllabi for classes is a big problem. It’s
hard to get any concrete information about classes during registration to be
able to make an informed decision. No idea about what books/content will be
covered, what topics, what pacing. Even curriculum night doesn’t typically
cover this, and it’s too late – focus is on grading, not on the actual topics
ALL – Each high school handles summer work differently,
whether there is summer work required for that class or nothing at all differs
by school and changes year to year. Some schools require kids to notice that
there is summer work on a website, but no proactive communication to
parents/students. You don’t even know for sure what class your student is
enrolled in until after school starts, so how does a kid know for sure which
summer work they should be preparing? What if a counselor registers a kid for a
more advanced class, but they are unaware of the summer work expectation?
ALL – Inability to transfer courses without taking an F in a
class, after the first 10 days of school. This makes registration, course
catalog and syllabus issues super important to fix, because once a kid starts
taking a class, they are pretty much stuck.
ALL – Who makes decisions about what goes into the course
catalog? When do these decisions get made? How does this come about? What role
does Amity have? How can HiCap needs be better represented in course offerings
ALL – The “secret decoder ring” problem. You have to ask for
certain courses, and yes, kids are allowed to skip certain prerequisites as a
matter of course, but it’s not written down anywhere. Some pre-requisites are
listed in the course catalog that are rarely enforced, or rarely enforced for
HiCap students, but parents/students who want to follow the rules feel bound by
what is published in the course catalog and don’t think to ask for an
exception. It’s not equitable if you have to ask for an exception, or have to
be “in the know” to realize that certain classes are available or are
particularly advised. Schools need to make the options visible to HiCap
students during registration so they can make informed choices.
ALL - Counselors who are telling students old information,
who block students from accessing courses based on pre-requisites, making
students need to appeal to the principal to get the courses they need. Not all
students know to ask, or parents who are willing to insist. Not all counselors
are aware of HiCap students needs and know the course progression. Counselors
not encouraging hicap kids to take advanced classes. Some counselors are much
better than others at guiding HiCap students. How can we get training to all
counselors? Or centralize HiCap students to one counselor who develops
expertise in this?
ALL - Official high school grading scales are subtly
different between different teachers and different schools. Some teachers allow
retaking tests, others don't. Some teachers allow regaining full credit for
retakes or late work, some only part credit, some not at all. Some teachers
round up from 92.9 to an A and others don't. If a kid stumbles in their math
progression, sometimes these practices can have long term impact in
discouraging a student from pursuing math. Furthermore, middle school doesn’t
always follow the high school grading practices, which is important when so
many high school math courses are commonly taken in the middle school years.
Are we taking a growth mindset approach with grading, or not.
ALL – It’s a rough transition for HiCap students coming from
a cohort-based AAP environment to the high school environment where they will
not only be mixed with the overall school population, but may often be placed
in classes with upperclassmen, sometimes as the only freshman or a very small
group. Having some way to better transition HiCap students from AAP to the high
school environment would be desirable. The HiCap Pre-AP English 9 class
sections at IHS and NCHS worked very well for this. Why were they discontinued?
Should this practice be expanded? It doesn’t have to be English. A Hicap 9th
grade pre-AP Bio/Chemistry class could also serve this purpose.
ALL - Are there any parent & student surveys about
whether classes and course availability is working for HiCap students? This
would be a powerful way to figure out what is/isn’t working. A student survey
of hicap high school students would probably be the most actionable. Note that
this year’s senior class is the first HiCap cohort that started in 2nd
grade and had the full sequence of AAP through middle school.
ALL – Schools with different philosophies & very
different course offerings, and lack of ability to be able to switch between
schools make this an equity issue. If the program in your neighborhood high
school isn’t a fit for your particular student, you’re stuck, because waivers
aren’t available anymore. This used to be much more fluid with kids able to
move between schools if needed.
ALL - Making sure classes offered in middle school are
appropriate for the trajectory into the high school. In particular, in writing
and reading comprehension, if the plan is for freshmen to jump straight into 10th
grade English, are our hicap kids actually prepared for that level of English
from middle school, and the volume of reading material? Whether they’ve been
appropriately prepared in AAP for a serious science lab course in high school.
ILHS – Differentiation for HiCap kids at Innovation Lab is
proving to be super challenging and not happening well yet. Growing pains.
ALL – Pandemic specific issue with kids needing to do
self-teaching if they really want to be ready for AP exams this year.