Friday, November 3, 2023

Minutes from 10/3/23 Meeting

NSD HiCap Meeting


  • Setting up an online gallery. 0:00
    • Unknown speaker discusses setting up an online gallery and says "hello" to someone.
  • Student readiness for accelerated content in elementary classrooms. 1:16
    • Unknown Speaker: "He has chosen to resign as representative...we will not send out a message...we can appoint somebody to fill it."
    • Unknown Speaker: "Research suggests infrastructural differentiation is difficult to us hard datum nationwide that many kids are ready for accelerated content."
  • Student achievement in Washington state. 6:25
    • Unknown Speaker discusses a research article on student achievement in Washington state, specifically in the Northshore School District, and how it relates to the district's reputation for its gifted program.
    • The speaker wonders how the data would change post-pandemic, considering remote schooling's impact on student performance, and if there would be a narrowing or widening of the gap between high and low achievers.
  • Special education identification and services in a school district. 10:24
    • Unknown Speaker discusses the challenges of identifying gifted students in Northshore School District, including the use of a 95th percentile cutoff and the impact of universal screening.
    • The speaker notes that the district has lowered the bar for gifted identification, but some families believe it has not changed.
    • The speaker presents an amendment to lower the bar to 5%, citing examples from other districts.
    • The speaker emphasizes the importance of providing services to gifted students, particularly those who are struggling or left behind.
  • Education system challenges and personal growth. 16:48
    • Unknown Speaker reflects on their 30-year career in education, highlighting the importance of personal experiences and reflective practice among teachers.
    • The speaker emphasizes the complexity of shifting a large system like education, noting that every change affects another aspect of the system.
  • Identifying and supporting highly capable students. 20:24
    • Unknown Speaker reflects on their experience as a highly capable education coordinator, sharing their learning curve and growth in understanding the needs of highly capable students.
    • The speaker emphasizes the importance of identifying and supporting asynchronous and twice-exceptional students, who do not fit into traditional categories.
  • Addressing social and emotional issues in schools. 23:52
    • District faces challenges with enrollment and demographics, social and emotional needs of students, and parental concerns about belonging and space in schools.
  • School capacity and parent-teacher communication. 26:11
    • Unknown Speaker discusses how parents created a conflict in schools by pushing for elite programs and creating a "us versus them" mentality.
    • The speaker acknowledges that they have struggled with their role in addressing issues in schools, feeling limited in their ability to go "whack a mole" issues district-wide.
    • The speaker shares a personal story about communication in a classroom, emphasizing the importance of parents working with teachers to address their children's needs.
    • The speaker highlights the need for compromise and finding a balance between serving students in different programs and fitting them into available space.
  • Communication between teachers and highly capable students. 31:58
    • Unknown Speaker reflects on the importance of believing children's truths and recognizing that their perceptions are valid, despite potential miscommunications or misunderstandings.
    • The speaker emphasizes the need for open communication and curiosity in understanding children's behaviors and what they are trying to communicate.
  • Teacher professional development and certification requirements. 34:42
    • Unknown Speaker discusses the district's professional development plan for teachers, including required training and the cost of hiring outside professionals.
    • The main cost of professional development is not the hiring of the person, but rather getting the teacher and paying for a substitute teacher.
    • The district offers clock hours for professional development, and teachers are encouraged to attend specific training to improve their skills.
    • The speaker mentions the importance of equity and STEM education, and how professional development can help teachers stay up-to-date on these topics.
  • School class sizes and staffing challenges. 40:45
    • Michelle Era shares insights on class size and staffing in Seattle Public Schools.
    • Class sizes are a concern, particularly in secondary grades.
    • Some schools have large class sizes due to scheduling and choice classes.
    • Shelton View Elementary has struggled with staffing and class size issues for years.
    • Parents have reported that some students were placed in classes without qualifying for them during the pandemic.
    • There is a lack of fairness in the implementation of class size policies.
  • Math and reading education in a school district. 49:55
    • Unknown Speaker discusses the transition to a new math curriculum, highlighting the importance of teacher training and the potential impact on students.
    • Emily shares an exciting initiative at Wellington Elementary, where a 1/4 grade class is doing a walk-through model for math, and discusses the reasons behind the choice of reading as the integrated portion of the curriculum.
  • Reading instruction and inclusive classrooms. 54:05
    • Unknown Speaker expresses concern about the ELA portion of an inclusive classroom, particularly the challenge level for students with lower skills.
    • Speaker mentions the importance of having a cohort of students with similar abilities to provide peer support and challenge each other in the classroom.
  • School scheduling and curriculum requirements. 57:57
    • Unknown Speaker discusses challenges with balancing ELA and math instruction in a school, particularly with limited time in the day.
    • Speaker expresses concern about fitting in all required subjects, including ELA, math, PE, library, music, and lunch, into an already packed schedule.
  • Education, AI, and accommodations for students. 1:01:00
    • Unknown Speaker: Teachers worry about lack of mathematical ability among elementary school staff, leading to potential gaps in pre-algebra and math instruction.
    • Speaker references research showing that writing is the slowest skill to develop for students, and discusses potential accommodations for students with varying skill levels.
    • Speaker discusses the importance of catering to extremes rather than averages in education, highlighting the potential benefits of AI and other technologies in assisting students with different skill levels.
  • Flexible teaching methods and Common Core challenges. 1:04:55
    • Unknown Speaker: Teachers need flexibility and accommodation, but it's hard to implement due to Common Core stumbling blocks.
    • Unknown Speaker: Effective teachers share their methods, but it's challenging to scale up for all teachers, especially with Common Core.
  • Math acceleration and course offerings in high school. 1:07:44
    • Unknown Speaker discusses concerns about terminology for accelerated math classes, specifically "double and triple jump," and seeks input from listeners on a new term.
    • Speaker mentions differences between college and high school calculus courses, including AP Calculus, and how some schools offer independent study for students who cannot take college-level math classes.
  • High school math curriculum and college credit. 1:11:12
    • Unknown Speaker discusses the typical high school math sequence and how it may not be suitable for all students.
    • The speaker mentions that North Creek High School offers linear algebra as an alternative to calculus for students who want to slow down their math progression.
    • The speaker notes that linear algebra is a useful branch of math for modern stuff, data modeling, and engineering, and that it does not require calculus.
    • The speaker acknowledges that some families have requested alternatives to calculus, and that AP Statistics can be a reasonable alternative.
    • The speaker mentions that linear algebra could be taken instead of calculus, but it may not be recommended.
    • The speaker notes that college credit may not be important for this group of students, who already have plenty of college credit.
    • The speaker concludes that implementing linear algebra as a fourth year math class is challenging due to certification issues in US colleges and high schools.
  • High school math curriculum and class placement. 1:21:28
    • Unknown Speaker discusses the challenges of navigating college course options, particularly for high-achieving students who may feel pressure to take advanced math and science courses.
    • The speaker mentions that not all students are interested in pursuing STEM fields, and that there should be more options available for students who want to explore other areas of study.
    • The speaker expresses concern about the lack of a clear plan for college coursework, particularly for students who may not be sure what they want to study.
    • The speaker suggests that mixing classes for group work can be beneficial, but should not be the sole approach for all assignments.
    • The speaker wants more information about the school's plan for providing appropriate coursework for students with varying abilities and interests.

Minutes from 9/19/23 Meeting


HiCap Parents Council

September Meeting

District Office

9/19/2023 - 10 AM - 12 Noon


In Person Attendance: Carson S, Katie M, Becky D., Ashley W., Lynn D., Lyn T., Holly M., Amity B., Elizabeth W., Angie M., Jen C., Jennifer S.,


Zoom Meeting Attendance: ________


Podcast Suggestion & Discussion -

     Carson - “No one should have to mask. And everyone should have an appropriate level of challenge for them.” This is an invitation to consider your why for joining the council.

     Discussion of perfectionism, the intersection with giftedness, and its avoidant side (ex. I’m not going to try because the outcome will not be what I want).

     This perspective is a shift for classroom teachers because so much focus is classroom management; how can teachers stretch accommodation now that rooms are more integrated?

     Not only do we need to work with teachers, but also with parents.

     Feedback received: Feels like EAP is a math acceleration program.

Amity Updates

     Kindergarten - Screening has traditionally been done, but (1) the children identified as potentially Hicap are then not receiving services and (2) they must be tested again in first grade to receive Hicap Designation and be eligible for services. Kindergarten students will no longer be given the Naglieri this year. First grade will be administered universally.

     How will screening referral process be? Every kid is 1 and 5th grade is screened, along with any kid that moves into the district 1-7. Refer to website 2-4 graders and older kids. Anyone can refer for those K (now), 2,3, 4, 6 and 7th graders (parents, teachers, friends, and adults).


     Training for elementary teachers

     Training for teachers is now mandated for teachers who have integrated classrooms. Some is direct (live or watching video), some is done by lead teachers at each school being trained and bringing it back to their teacher peers.

     Emily Kircher-Morris training in the summer was great and well received by teachers. About 100 for elementary level, and about 25 for older years. Her podcast is excellent.

     Amity’s office will check to see if HiCap Council can have access to this content. She has lots of free content available as well:


     NSD HiCap Website is currently being updated.


     Proctors: Request is out for new testing proctors. Many from HiCap Council serve. Referrals are also coming in.


     Integration update:

     Elementary level where schools have integrated: First place for anxious parents to start is with the teacher. Third grade is likely to be the most difficult transition point with Hicap students that are now integrated.

     Elementary schools where integration has not happened yet: It is planned to come to every school. It will likely start with 2nd or 3rd graders, but current students in EAP will continue moving through with EAP. Amity is willing to come out and speak at schools. Amity will be speaking at Hollywood Hill in November.

     Middle school: Decisions about integration are still ongoing. Current change is that classes have not been backfilled, so class sizes are variable and some students are unhappy.


     Data Plan: Kids in integrated classroom versus kids in separate classrooms. They are looking for growth over time. Additionally, all different kids will be pulled in for data.

     HiCap can help by providing information from the survey we created. Also, Amity may request help in creating parent surveys/distribution.


     Math Progression

     5th grade transitioning into 6th grade is where people have a choice. After this, your student is on a path through high school. A good question is, “Where do you want them to be as a senior?” Once you hit high school, there are very limited off ramps.

     Check out Pathway Flow Charts, not only for Middle School, but for High School:

     Note: Question about HS Science progression. This is not as strict. There are occasional prerequisites for a course (typically math or a traditional version of a science before the AP version); check your children’s associated high school course catalogue.



     Will continue to be 3 times per year for testing. This is valuable data for the district. The teacher should not continue using it for curriculum once the child tops out. It tops out in 8th grade.

     Summer work in high school

     Varies school to school. No consistency.

     Suggestion: Get together with members of council in your cohort and have smaller conversations. If something is or isn’t working in your school, when you learn what happens in others, it can make you a stronger advocate.


Additional Discussion


     Turn in receipts to Lyn T.

     Parking was an issue for some schools, so something to consider.

     Have them as early in the summer as possible to avoid smoke and to ease children’s stress, fear, and anxiety about new schools.

     In March or so, we will need to inquire about facilities fees and see if we can continue hosting at school.

     Relevance of playdates going forward is in question as integration continues. Might be regional playdates instead, etc.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Monday, June 12, 2023

Minutes from 6/6/23 Transition Meeting

HiCap Parent Council Transition Meeting
June 6, 2023

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Via Zoom

1.      Vote for appointed reps that did not self-nominate for the election.

a.       Will do introductions after elections so newly elected/appointed reps can join the meeting first.

b.      Outgoing reps are not permitted to vote, just new reps.

c.       Attendees who are attending on behalf of an elected rep cannot vote.

d.      First time there are 2 people who volunteered for the same position after the election. Council needs to choose between them.  Discussion about the candidates for East Ridge. (Explicitly not documented to protect privacy.)

e.       Bylaws do not permit sharing a position.

f.        Council co-presidents do not get to vote

g.       Appointed positions are only for 1 year. (Elected positions are 2 years.)

h.      East Ridge election winner: Julienne Martin-Vegue  was elected over Nikki Bray.

i.        Canyon Park rep – Faustine Wilkey

j.        Bothell HS rep – Terra Droney

k.      Members at Large: Lyn Trier, Terri Kashi and Nikki Bray. (Bylaws allow a maximum of 4 at-large members.)

2.      Introductions

a.       Beginning with Austina and Carson

b.      Introductions of everyone based on order they appear in Austina’s Zoom

c.       Election of new officers: President, VP, Treasurer & Secretary

3.      How we work with the district

a.       No screaming or running out of the room if you disagree with district decisions. This was tested last month with the newly announced changes to EAP.

b.      Ok to leave room peacefully and re-enter when calm.

c.       Carson will contact members who did not attend tonight’s meeting to ensure they are aware before next week’s meeting with the district.

d.      WHY? District stops listening if you start screaming or are being disrespectful.

e.       Council has no power to make decisions, but district will often give Council information before being publicly released, and sometimes solicits Council feedback before making decisions.

4.      Elections for Board positions

a.       Description of each role by each officer

·   Carson as president

·   VP description by Carson

·   Lyn Trier as treasurer

·   Steven as secretary

b.      President – No self-nominations other than Carson. Austina is willing to be co-president or hand it off to Carson. Carson is willing to go solo. Elisa nominated both Carson and Austina as co-presidents.

·   Discussion about whether there should be co-presidents, whether Austina should be VP or whether someone new should take over to learn the role given that Austina will be transitioning out of NSD in general.

·   Carson is elected unanimously with no objections.

c.       Vice President

·   Liz Paruchuru nominated Austina as VP. Austina declines nomination.

·   According to Carson, Ashley Watts is willing to be VP, but could not be there tonight because of a last-minute PTA meeting at Canyon Creek about the new EAP model. Austina officially nominates Ashley.

·   Unanimous vote with no objections for Ashley.

d.      Treasurer

·   Carson nominates Lyn Trier.

·   No other nominations.

·   Unanimous vote with no objections for Lyn.

e.       Secretary

·   No self-nominations. Cannot move forward without one though.

·   Sriraj Rajaram is volunteering himself, but his wife is the actual rep. But he needs to be an official member of the Council. He could be appointed as an at-large member first, which would work.

·   Question about whether Council has ever had a couple serving on the Council. (No, but not really any contested or controversial votes anyway.) And whether at-large members have same voting privileges. (Yes.)

·   Sriraj was elected as a member-at-large with no objections, and then elected as secretary.

5.      Quick overview of what to expect at next week’s meeting with the school district

a.       Amity and maybe some other NSD employees will be there

b.      About 1 hour of updates from Amity about which schools are implementing the new model, professional development, etc.

c.       Time at the end for questions

6.      EAP Playdates

a.       Vanessa Greek at NSD would prefer that Ashley be the point person for coordinating EAP playdates this summer, primarily about reserving playgrounds.

b.      Goal is to get the proposed dates to Ashley by Friday.

c.       Not necessary for middle and high school because they have WEB day and students are not as interested anyway.

d.      We now have insurance, which was a problem last summer.

e.       Have also had playdates for feeder patterns in addition to EAP. Great for single-subject qualifiers since they are not readily obvious within a class.

f.        Task for elementary reps to come up with a summer event(s) that makes sense. Can be different for each school. Playdates used to be for kids forced to switch schools, but many EAP kids no longer switch schools. If huge school with lots of EAP classes, could be better to have separate events by grade.

g.       How do we find out who to invite? We do not , but we send the events to the school district and they will notify affected families.

h.      Most families prefer events at the school playground so they can check out the new school.

i.        Thoughts about how to do elementary events:

·   Arrowhead is inclusive. Would love to host a large event for the entire school.

·   Suggestions for bingo cards to force you to speak with other kids and find people so you can check each box. Otter pops, often as a reward for completing the bingo card.

·   Council has posters and easels. Not a huge budget, $25 or less. Otters pops are worthwhile. Names tags are highly recommended for both students and parents.

·   You do not need to run it all yourself. You can find other parents to help, especially if there are multiple playdates. You do not need to be at each one.

·   Can publicize via PTA email. Council will send a single email to the mailing list once all dates are scheduled.

·   Otter pops will not freeze overnight, so give them at least 2 nights. And do not just put the box in the freezer since center pops will not freeze. And bring scissors to open them. Baby wipes are also good for sticky hands.

7.      Back-to-school Fair

a.       At Pop-Keeney field on August 10, 4:30 – 5:30 pm

b.      NSD will send invite to Council in a few days.

c.       Will need 3-4 people to work the booth and answer questions for people, especially K-1 parents.

8.      Hot Topics on the minds of Council reps

a.       Are there any initiatives or priorities that the Council has been working so that new members can get acquainted on those topics and help with the advocacy?

·   Recurring issue: single-subject qualifying kids get screwed every year

·   Professional development

·   Writing as a skill

·   Getting all high schools on the same page and talking to each other, especially a common course catalog.

·   With changes to Algebra I and II, not a good way to handle skipping Algebra in 6th grade without essentially repeating work from 5th grade in EAP.

b.      Carson has been pulling together resources and documenting knowledge like playdate docs, etc.

c.       Council is a volunteer organization, so nothing gets done unless someone volunteers. So if something is important to you, step up and get it done!

d.      Is the meeting with Amity next week the proper forum to raise parent comments, concerns, feedback, etc.? YES.

e.       One insurance requirement is that someone who does not have access to the accounts look over the books each month and sign off on the statements. So Lyn Trier will be asking someone at each meeting to do so.

9.      Myriam is running for school board!

10.  Question about new EAP model

a.       What is the feeling about feedback from kids going thru the new model?

b.      Austina is working on a survey about the new model. Hopefully we can capture that feedback. District will likely be sending out the survey to every 2nd and 3rd grader both this year and next year to provide comparisons.

c.       Current 2nd graders in EAP going back to their home school for 3rd grade are a unique test case since they will experience both models.

d.      Is new model working for ELA and in general? Does it meet their social-emotional needs?

e.       Austina’s 3 big requests for Amity in the new model:

·   Clear plan for professional development for all affected teachers

·   A firm plan for how ELA will work

·   Capturing data to measure whether this new model works

f.        District knows this is an experiment and may not work, or may need to be adjusted. It is expected that adjustments will be necessary.

g.       It is possible that experience for GenEd students will go down because having HiCap kids in your class may be discouraging instead of inspiring.

h.      This plan does solve some core problems, especially about keeping kids in their home schools and providing interaction between HiCap and GenEd kids. But there are many concerns.

i.        Ask each school – will the teachers be required to attend training, all of them? Only principals can require the training. Not Amity, although NSD superintendent could, but has not yet. Each building has to make a commitment about the training, and make it required, not optional.

j.        Concern that parents are not necessarily informed about the issues and the changes, and whether their child is affected.

k.      Terra Droney: Superintendent Tolley is not at the point where he feels he can require specific PD. But he believes some PD has to come from district level, some has to come from building level, and some has to be based on the teacher’s individual needs. At the beginning of the year, there is a lot of training for new teachers. Don’t want to overwhelm them with too much too soon.

l.        Mandatory training is a bargaining issue with the teacher’s union. They have historically pushed back against mandatory training.

m.    Council could present their opinion to the NSD Board, but it is not clear that the members of the Council have a unified opinion on the matter at this point.