Monday, November 1, 2021

Minutes from 10/29/21 Meeting

 HiCap Parents Council Meeting

via Zoom
October 29, 2021
10:30-12:30 pm

Fill ins: Randy Graybeal in for Ruthe Graybeal; Jasmine Fry in for Terri Kashi; Tessa Blocksom in for Gavin Doyle

  • NVP candidate: Megan MontaƱo

    • Megan has kids in NVP in both primary and secondary and proposed taking on both roles

    • Megan does not currently plan to have her students return to in person learning once vaccines are available for students aged 5-11 years, and is likely there for the whole year

    • Motion by Lyn Trier to appoint Megan to cover both positions but leave the 2nd position open if another candidate comes forward; Seconded by Hillarie Windish

      • Chu Xu amends motion appoint Megan, but not leave a position open for 2nd NVP rep

      • Discussion: pro- we can appoint anyone we want for any position due to last bylaw change; con- delivery of learning is very different between primary and secondary and if we don’t continue to have a parent who sees both in their own home and NVP continues beyond this school year, we should still have a person at each level

      • Chu’s amendment passes

      • Subsequent vote on Chu’s amended motion passes and Megan is appointed

  • Article discussion: Neuroscience of High IQ Brain website

    • Article makes it clear that people don’t outgrow giftedness

    • Giftedness affects behavior

    • It is the job of a parent to guide kids through struggles because they have a physical brain difference, not an attitude problem

    • Differences in sensory reactions (e.g. tags, texture of food) aren’t choices and allow parents to “choose battles” and also talk through differences with their kids

    • This research is really recent, done in the last 5-10 years

    • There are structural changes and they really matter

    • Sensory and emotional parts of high IQ brains are larger and this helps explain their big emotions and textural sensitivities

    • Question: Are these findings shared with staff- Not yet, but Amity can share

    • Like that there are physical differences: this can change the argument from eliminating gifted education to working to identify minorities and other underrepresented groups who also demonstrate these physical differences

    • Topics for future discussion: Social emotional or something to help parents make transitional choices (if we want this as an event, we need a person to volunteer to spearhead it)

  • Amity updates

    • Screening and Testing

      • We are in the middle of screening; last test scheduled to be on November 15th

      • There is an extreme lack of guest teachers/paras in the district

        • In order to not stress the system, Amity is doing a lot of screening

        • Amity will also have to start subbing (on 10/28, district office personnel with teaching certificates were asked to fill sub positions)

        • These issues may push the schedules

      • IOWA testing will follow

        • Hope to get middle schools done by Thanksgiving

        • Elementary schools are scheduled to be covered in the first 3 weeks of December

        • All make ups will be done in January (want screener makeups done in November)

        • Sending out a lot of Blackboards to get permission for IOWA testing for qualified students

        • 90%of 1st and 5th graders have talent the screener

          • ~100 fewer 1st graders were dual qualified via NNAT3 (got a score in 95th+ percentile) than last year and wonder why

            • Maybe due to the fact that due to the pandemic, students are new to school and the screen or environment is thus much more unfamiliar to students

            • Maybe 2020 was just a particularly large class

          • ELL numbers might be low because they were tested for HiCap but might not yet be marked as ELL in the system, so number might go up as those items get linked to students in the system

      • Request to define acronyms

        • ELL: English Language Learners; however names will be changing to Multilingual Program and English Language Development classes (changing to be coming from a position of strength rather than deficit)

        • FRL: Free and Reduced Lunch

        • IEP: Individualized Education Plans (may have test accommodations)

        • 504: medical accommodations (may have test accommodations)

      • Private and Homeschool testing is likely to happen in January

    • Professional Development (PD)

      • Amity met with 36 EAP teachers on 10/27/21 to prepare for parent/teacher conferences and review grading practices

      • She has gotten to meet with some AAP teachers in 2 middle schools; she will work on getting to the other middle schools later

    • High School Common Course Catalog meeting update

      • Working on teasing out what the course catalog can and cannot solve, but it is a starting point

      • Looking at the differences in culture and rigor among the 4 comprehensive high schools: Bothell, Inglemoor, North Creek, and Woodinville

      • There are 4 Regional Area Superintendents (RASs) and we have met with the RASs who represent the North, Obadiah Dunham, and East, Michael Tolley, regions

      • Our ask: similar rigor and grading policies across the district

      • Previous wins: implemented a waiver for system to help HiCap students access courses that might otherwise require a prerequisite

      • Next meeting is on course descriptions and we need to provide an example of a course description that we like

      • Steven build a course catalog tool that is more searchable than the current giant .pdf document and works on both mobile and web browsers (as an example it is currently loaded with the course data for Inglemoor)

        • Desire to get a demo of this put on the next course catalog meeting

        • Concern that while this is an awesome tool, it might take away from the discussion on good course descriptions

    • NVP Update

      • Working on making outdoor testing slots for 1st grade NVP students (most students can test online)

      • Megan was invited to join the HiCap Parents Council (HCP) because she drove work to get this screening done outdoors

      • There was originally a problem with the form families used to request the outdoor testing, but it has been corrected

      • Have gotten fewer responses than hoped (20 out of 74; only sent to people who needed to fill it out)

  • Council questions for Amity

    • When is IOWA testing? Parents are asking.

      • IOWA testing will occur form 11/15-12/17

      • Hope to have the approximate schedule (when testing will happen at each school) on the website once it is et

      • Amity cannot work around individuals’ vacations

    • When are EAP answers due for NNAT3 qualifiers?

      • Currently 11/05, but will work to change

      • Ask families with placement concerns to say yes to accept EAP placement first, then get them on the waiver list (for younger siblings)

      • We cannot finalize waiver requests until we know the class sizes for the sibling classes which happens late in the summer

      • If families do not get their waiver, they are allowed to go back to their neighborhood school if they decide that is best for their family

      • Are we clear about this with our families?

        • We cannot be as clear about this due to character limitations on the 4”x4” space available to us

        • There is a link there for more information where this can be clearly stated

      • Amity voiced that there is no way that a letter can be supportive, but conversations can

        • If people call her, she will have a conversation with them

        • Parents also need to know that they can change their mind and go back to their home school

        • Strong belief that parents talking to other parents and sharing our experiences with others facing the EAP choice is supportive

      • Desire to have an “About EAP” presentation on Zoom

        • Feel that HCP can help as an adjunct but that this message really needs to come first from the district

        • HCP role might be the “supportive touch”

        • Amity said she needs to look at her calendar to see if/when she can get this done

        • Ask to see if we can move the response deadline until after this information can be shared; Amity will see if it is possible

        • Thoughts about how HCP can help get information out

          • Post on the NSD Facebook page to let parents know about the HiCap Facebook page if they have questions

          • Share information in your school’s (or feeder pattern schools’) PTA newsletter; we can also share commonly answered questions in the newsletter

        • Elizabeth Williamson shared that as she helps answer questions for the HiCap department, she is also letting parents know about her own experience as a parent of hicap students and pointing them to the HCP to help get more information

      • When will makeups happen? We hpe NNAT3 make ups for 1st graders are done in November

Amity, Angie, and Elizabeth told that they are free to leave or can stay to listen to our discussion of our priorities for the coming year

  • Discussion of Council Priorities for the Year

    • Goal of limiting to three priorities

    • Cannot be a priority if no one is willing to lead it

    • Among the top vote getters:

      • Common Course Catalog- leds by Myriam Juritz

      • Hillarie Windish has volunteered to help spearhead issues of curriculum

      • NFP (Northshore Family Partnership) has already worked on finding effective writing curriculums; Terra Droney would be happy to share what they have found and lead the group focused on improving Writing curriculum

        • Some concern about pairing writing with reading as some students who qualify for reading also have dyslexia or dysgraphia

        • Talked about how there are accommodations like typing work or voice to text programs that can help students with these issues and that would be aligned with universal design (and could also help students who are not 2e)

        • Also talked about how if students want to have advanced classes that evaluate books, they will be required to write at the level of those accelerated classes

        • Not sure that 2nd grade would be the appropriate place to jump (guessing it might be in middle school), but part of the committee’s job would be to figure that out

      • Interest in researching PD ideas/rules- Audrey Kozel interested in making sure this isn’t lost

        • Audrey remembered there may have been a legislative effort to improve this

        • Austina shared that there was a bill up in the legislature for PD for administrators, counselors, and principals that has come up each year for about the last 3 years and every year it doesn’t pass because it is too expensive and it has now been decoupled from other issues because it is preventing them from passing as well

        • Asked what high school teachers know about having a HiCap kid in their class since they aren’t really isolated at that level (and maybe only known for a small note in Synergy)

          • Probably not much

          • Experience of triple jumpers getting less help when asking a teacher for help (told they can figure it out themselves) than their classmates who are closer to grade level

        • Audrey volunteers to lead this group

      • Asked for details about where Hillarie sees the Issues with curriculum focusing

        • Want to see how support can be given to kids in science and social studies (where curriculum is not advanced)

        • Wants to look at what other gifted students are doing nationally and world-wide

        • Look to see if there are advanced curricula out there

      • Offer that as PD got more votes that curriculum and has a leader, perhaps that one should the the third priority

        • Felt that we really needed to do some “prework” to figure out what the issues and possibilities are in the area of PD and that this feels like it should be a level below the three main priorities and perhaps rise higher when we know more

        • Austina shared that the only person who can require HiCap training is a building principal

        • Suggestion that just like we were told in August that it is important for parents to ask what the schools Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) plan is for HiCap students, it can be important for parents to ask what the HiCap professional development plan for your school is as well

  • Aim for the next meeting to be in the first week of December

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Minutes from 09/24/21 Meeting


HiCap Parents Council Meeting
via Zoom
September 24, 2021
12:00 pm - 2:00 m

  • Discussion of Executive Function (EF) Article/Slideshow: Executive Function in the Gifted

    • Helpful way to review key concepts

    • Helps parents reset expectations in helping children deal with deadlines

    • Saw a lot of parallels with o2n student and article validates parent effort to teach EF skills

    • Discussed Austina’s chart showing how cortex thickening/pruning (maturation) is very different even at a moderately high IQ

      • Smart kids have developmental differences

      • Struggle isn’t due to poor instruction; the brain isn’t ready to capture this information yet

      • Tough love won’t improve the situation

    • Tricky part from Amity

      • You don’t know when the child’s brain catches up

      • A lot can be going on

      • It can be rocky for a long time

      • Delayed maturation isn’t the only thing that can go wrong with EF

    • Advisory can help, but middle school teachers often see demonstration of EF deficit as an attitude problem

    • Not every student is taught how to plan (write down assignments, plan out work)

      • Should help every student get a planner

      • Wondered which schools, particularly secondary, provide planners

      • Students still need to be reminded to use planners once they have them

    • Where are we on the AVID pilot (was this just in middle school?)

      • Sometimes AVID has a negative connotation: you only take AVID if you have a problem/need help

      • AVID in the high school only teaches one method of organization: binders

  • Appointments

    • We have received questions, but no one has submitted a candidate statement for NVP 

    • Karen Smith sent in candidate statement for Kenmore EAP rep

      • Motion to appoint Karen Smith as Kenmore EAP: Hillarie Windish

      • Second? (Not sure we had one)

      • Motion passed

  • Amity updates

    • Beginning screening

      • Had to wait until after COVID batch testing started

      • Will begin with Universal screening

      • Kindergarten: to be finished by winter break

        • WA Kids is due by the 2nd week in November

        • Naglieri due by winter break

          • Can be completed on iPads; instructions just sent to teachers

          • No typing involved for Naglieri

      • 1st grade:

        • Also got iPads

        • Screening info sent out to teachers

      • 5th grade: 

        • Will need to balance with the required 4th grade SBA testing and iReady← They have a LOT going on!

        • They have until October 15th to complete screening

      • Referral window closes on October 15th at 4 pm

        • Will start proctoring referrals after universal screening grades are done

      • Single-qualified (“automatically referred)

        • Don’t have to screen

        • Do need permission for testing; would prefer parents to grant it before the Oct 15th deadline 

      • Try to be flexible if it fits within the testing timeline

      • Amity sent out a Blackboard reminder 

        • This sends text/email/phone call in English and Spanish

        • Other languages are less than 1%, but if someone sends in a request, they can provide translation to other languages

    • Made a FAQ of most frequently asked questions to

      • E.g. 1: Why do you need permission? State Law

      • E.g. 2: Ask for sibling transportation

      • Resource to be used by council and sent out by Amity after the meeting: Basic HiCap FAQs in NSD

    • NVP update

      • Secondary seems to be going smoothly

      • There is still a waitlist; they hope to figure out by Monday if they can accommodate those students on it

      • Primary is hard

        • State required 70% synchronous time; this is a hard ask for this age

        • Also working to catch students up

      • Math Edgenuity is NOT the same as what NVP is getting; also for Single Subject qualifiers they did a lot of front loading and work to align it to the Core Focus curriculum

      • Working to help align Edgenuity more

      • Question: Is there hicap for all middle school subjects or only just math/English?

        • Amity will have to look into this

        • Looking at Science and Social Studies there don’t seem to be HC sections here; appears that students were placed in challenge classes

      • Split class of 4th-grade gen ed & 4th grade EAP

        • Why not 3rd/4th EAP split?

        • Report was that so far that family’s EAP experience is good

        • Guess that split was probably dictated by enrollment numbers

      • Challenge when some teachers send kids to a breakout room to work on Edgenuity

        • How do teachers reach kids who are struggling before the topic changes

        • Students often need someone else to explain topics that they don’t understand and this is currently falling to parents

        • Amity and Megan are discussing this and working to make positive changes

      • Mechanics of Edgenuity in NVP have different issues/struggles

    • Professional Development (PD) Plan

      • “EAP 101”

        • Met with about 30 EAP teachers before the year started (mix of experienced and new)

        • Amity give a quick overview of EAP

      • Amity gives teachers the month of September to meet their students

      • Meet again in October to discuss grading practices

        • Try to get this done before conferences

        • They only grade differently in reading and math, since they are not tested in other subjects for EAP placement (other subjects are evaluated at grade level)

        • Now working to get writing level instruction to be a grade level up, but the grading will still be on the same level

        • Some experienced teachers come every year and they also help the new teachers during this time

      • Surveyed teachers to see what PD topics they’d like; Results:

        • How does hicap fit into Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)?

        • What are EAP teachers doing in the district?

        • Knowledge about hicap identification

        • Equity

        • Differentiation

        • Early intervention of dyslexia based on screener (rapid automatic naming test + iReady to look for deficits)

      • Many would like to meet before school for PD since elementary schools get out so late 

      • PD is not required for new EAP teachers and we are not able to require it

    • Council request of hicap reading list to help match appropriate content with student reading level 

      • Amity has some teachers she can ask

      • Austina said we have also had some lists created over the years

    • Lyn Trier reported that Geometry & Algebra II/Trig students at Canyon Park don’t have to take iReady math tests (made sense since iReady isn’t used in high school math and these courses are taken in 10th & 11th grade if on jump free math track)

      • Would love to see this CPMS policy to be spread to other AAP students

      • iReady is used as a screener, so Amity needs students to take it seriously, especially now when we don’t have SBA scores to back it up now

      • Some kids need multiple ways to qualify

      • Seems iReady is a necessary evil for elementary

    • Question from council about what PD occurs for middle and high school teachers/staff

      • Amity says it is on her agenda for this year but she is just getting started with it

      • Reports of teacher concerns at the middle school level that could be helped with PD

        • New science teacher at CPMS has the same assignments for all levels (gen ed/challenge/HC) plus extra for AAP

        • Same teacher is also requiring students who didn’t complete lab during class period (CPMS went to 6 period days M-F; no more block schedule) to come finish lab at lunch

          • Teacher offers no other time to make up work 

          • Some students need to buy lunch and don’t have time to do that and get back so this might require them to skip eating

          • Students are also not allowed to eat in science rooms, so even if students have lunch, they cannot eat

      • PD request from council: Social-Emotional training for hicap teachers

  • High School Common Core Catalog Meeting 

    • Meeting is scheduled for September 29th at 1-2 pm at district building

    • Because is in person, only council high school reps can attend

    • Draft agenda has been sent out; would like to add 3 items

      • 1. Look at prereqs for classes and how they are implemented

      • 2. College readiness

        • PSAT auto-scheduled for students at 3/4th of comprehensive high schools; should have a uniform policy

        • Request hosting of SAT/ACT tests in district buildings; doesn’t happen now and students have to travel long distances to take tests and this becomes an equity issue that we could help fix by having tests in the area

      • 3. High-level math plan for triple jump kids: 

        • Consistency for math visual path (maybe two: one covering the AP schools and one covering the IB school)

        • Hope that requiring consistency would force the district to find the differences in math class offerings

  • Council is thinking about starting a non-monetary award to recognize the work of hicap teachers in the district

    • Thinking of 1 for each category: EAP, Hicap in non-EAP class. AAP, HS

    • Asked about award criteria

      • Suggestion that could be that someone writes something to nominate teachers for the award

      • Imen Hannachi volunteered to help get the process set up

  • Concern about jointly taught English and Social Studies classes at Skyview

    • Classrooms have a dividing wall that is open with varying frequency depending on the subject so that one teacher can instruct two classes, however, in the circumstance seen (6th grade), one class is hicap and the other is now

    • Skyview rep stated in a previous email that the assignments are different for each class and that this practice happens in 6th-8th grades primarily in history, perhaps starting with virtual learning (Skyview has a new principal this year)

    • Imen stated she needed to find out more about KMS to see if it was happening there as well

    • There is a problem with asking a higher level of performance from hicap kids based on the same level of instruction as challenge (or possibly gen ed.): legally, we are required to provide advanced instruction to hicap students

    • Frustration that if a kid doesn’t want to share what is going on, we won’t know if this is happening in a middle school

    • Concern from parents that we don’t know what it means to be hicap in the middle school level so it is harder to find out if we are meeting our legal requirement

    • Amity was made aware of this situation via email and is still looking into it

  • Questioned ways of qualifying for taking Algebra early if a student isn’t a good test taker: Austina suggests that maybe the student could do math in summer school to skip ahead, which they could do after 5th grade

  • Question about following up with current 6th graders in Algebra to see how they do; perhaps hicap students don’t need to be tested?

    • Observation: We are really impressed with what kids can do when allowed to struggle a bit.

    • It is okay to step back from triple jump and take algebra again in middle school

    • Students who come from to hicap from neighborhood school are often sufficiently challenged by jumping straight to algebra and might sometimes be better served in 7th-grade challenge math; however, this should be minimized by the implementation of Edgenuity for single subject qualifiers

  • Terri Kashi reported that her daughter’s Algebra II/Trig teacher at Woodinville told students that if they weren’t aiming for the highest math class offered then they were in the wrong place

Amity and Angie were finished and left the meeting

  • Bylaws update vote

    • Debate on whether we want to update bylaws to allow us to have up to 4 members-at-large on the council

      • Pros 

        • Nice to have the option

        • Allows continuation for people with experience who might otherwise not be able to serve

        • Don’t need to have 4; total number is at the discretion of the council

      • Cons: Council is getting large; already added new positions for NVP, Wellington, Shelton View, and Kenmore (EL)

      • Modified bylaw wording to specify that at-large members would be appointed by the council

      • Motion to approve bylaws as written by Gavin Doyle- made by Lyn Trier

      • Seconded by Myriam Juritz

      • Motion passes

  • Advocacy goals: Austina shared the list of ideas (generated at our last meeting) of things we wanted to work on this year. Those present at the meeting were asked to pick their top three goals and post them in the chat. We were asked to consider having a goal that helped each level (elementary, middle, and high school). Those who were not present were to be asked to email Austina their goals. We will limit choices to the top three at the end of our next meeting. The list of goals follows the end of the minutes.

Meeting Adjourned

Advocacy Goals/Priorities for the Coming Year 

(during the parent-only meeting we will pare this list down to max 3 top advocacy priorities. Each priority will need to have a council member willing to spearhead it.) 

  1. Common High school course catalog, alignment between high schools in course content, course have same name, description, etc.  Equitable offering across all high schools.  (Make sure high level math course gets decided) 

  2. Writing curriculum at all levels (elementary, middle, high school) 

  3. Single subject qualifiers social support, share with each other, connecting parents & kids 

  4. Single subject qualifying for reading – better support. Teacher just expects kids to reach 4 on rubric, rather than giving more instruction/depth. 

  5. Elementary libraries – better support for HiCap readers in school libraries, remove grade-limits on which books kids can read 

  6. Clustering students in a building, clustered in the same classroom  

  7. More in depth curriculum for social studies 

  8. More in depth curriculum for science 

  9. Check in with middle schools to make sure they are really doing hicap courses as hicap 

  10. Professional development for administrators and teachers. Clear expectations of what to expect from HiCap students. (they don’t all get 4s) 

  11. Issues with curriculum. What does it mean to be hicap? Is it breadth? Is it depth? Get clarity on what it is. Especially for social studies and science. 

  12. Survey for middle schoolers, get feedback from kids 

  13. Trouble with certain middle school teachers, how best to address this? 

  14. Kindergarten/first grade teachers – better professional development, guidance for supporting HiCap students, some sort of real curriculum/programming for HiCap students, not just challenge packets 

  15. Converting elementary hicap math curriculum to Beast Academy 

  16. Highlighting programs that are going well. 

  17. Awards program for hicap teachers that are doing well. (EAP, in-school, AAP, high school) 

  18. Do something about iready. Parents don’t like it.