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.