Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Minutes from 4/4/23 Meeting


HiCap Parent Council Meeting
April 4, 2023

10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Hybrid: In-person & Zoom

1.      Austina – Based on her research, there is a cultural divide between families in EAP and not in EAP, often EAP kids excluding non-EAP kids but sometimes the other way around. Elitist. Some parents are very upset about this.

a.       Teachers, administrators and principals are concerned about whether EAP is worth it because of this dynamic.

b.      Primary an EAP issue it seems vs AAP.

c.       School structure impacts this if EAP students never mix with other classes.

d.      Will this improve with more schools hosting EAP?

e.       Putting kids on the playground together does not necessarily help kids meet each other. Need something more intentional.

f.        Bear Creek previously implemented “families” that brought together kids from different classes and grades. Also used at Shelton View and Canyon Creek in the past.

g.       Parents are generally the problem in terms of creating an elistist attitude among kids.

h.      Getting parents to get outside their circle is difficult.

i.        Playdates could be a good time to talk to families about these issues.

j.        Bothell HS actually split kids during curriculum night and gave academic overview to HiCap and clubs and other activities to non-HiCap. Should not be either/or.

k.      Why do many HiCap parents feel their kids are better off if not in a GenEd classroom? And what does that say about parents whose kids are still in GenEd?

Discussion Topic – Raising Lifelong Learners Podcast: Episode 86 All About Anxiety

2.      Would have been nice if it had discussed how to recognize your child actually has anxiety, not just assume you already know.

3.      April 27 – Online talk about anxiety


Amity Updates

4.      Multi-disciplinary selection team for appeals

a.       Only 42 appeals vs 100+ in previous years

b.      Good appeals within reason. Sometimes scores just don’t match up among tests.

c.       Granted 7 re-tests

d.      Positive MST experience, helped by having the Consolidated Program Review (audit) happen recently and good presentations that answered many questions.

e.       Staying within letter of the law and meeting student’s diverse needs regarding service delivery can be a very emotional process.

f.        Are we identifying too many students? Pressure could come from parents or teachers and administrators. Could do better with math for multi-lingual kids.

5.      Transition into our four new schools

a.       Slow in the beginning but uptick in parent concerns, often from rising 3rd graders who previously moved to a new school and are now being asked to move back. Parents are requesting waivers to stay in current school, even though many parents are happy to come back. Will grant waivers in the next week or two, but difficult to predict staffing especially given budget deficit.

b.      Most waiver decisions are made based on enrollment issues, not necessarily HiCap. Have to make sure there is space in all buildings for kids within boundary and trying avoid changing boundaries again.

c.       Transportation will end when kids are in 5th grade for waiver kids because their home school will eventually have a 5th grade EAP class, so will not transfer a waivered 5th grader to a different school if their school has EAP. Not a huge number of kids affected, but that does not matter to those individual parents.

6.      Waivers

a.       Now accepting waiver requests.

b.      Choose to waiver because of test scores from a particular elementary school or word-of-mouth about the school. Sometimes friends or school schedules.

7.      Service Delivery

a.       Biggest challenge right now.

b.      Questions about 2-8, so middle school is not immune.

c.       No more back-filling in middle schools, meaning non-AAP kids will not be placed in AAP classes in any middle school next year. Problem if they are then put back into non-AAP classes afterwards.

d.      In part this deals with the emotional argument about being in HiCap, which is a bigger issue this year than in previous years, particularly with skimming in middle school.

e.       New EAP schools are likely to use walk-to model for math. Some existing EAP schools may implement walk-to for 2nd graders. This may mean EAP kids are no longer in a separate classroom, just separated for math and/or reading. Could help alleviate EAP vs non-EAP tension. But more work for teachers and may not be the solution. That’s why this is just a pilot.

f.        Doing a better job identifying kids from marginalized communities. Identified may more students who qualified for FRPM than last year. Part of that was reaching out to families and encouraging students to actually take the test, and having a multilingual assistant speak to parents. But still large gaps between kids identified for HiCap vs percentages of their representation in district. Asian students are over-represented in HiCap relative to percentage of student population.

g.       Dealing with service delivery during a teacher bargaining year also adds to the challenge.

h.      School board meetings are good for learning more about the challenges and drama. HiCap identifications have increased 400+ percent since universal screening began.

8.      Based on direct feedback, high school students care a lot about block days, marginalized students, clubs and adulting. Talked about professional development for teachers, communication about special programs, Naviance, drug-use and even how teachers handle racial slurs in the classroom.

9.      Testing in fall – Naglierri does not yet have national norms. No decision yet on any changes. Plus budget considerations if need to pay for both IOWA and Naglierri since IOWA charges same amount even if only do math or reading, and not both. Naglierri results do not correlate well to IOWA Math, but do to iReady.


Council Questions / Updates

10.  How was middle school registration?

a.       SkyView did not have HiCap course numbers listed, only GenEd and Challenge. Told HiCap kids to write it in and indicate they are HiCap-qualified. Not always space to specify HiCap. Worked correctly in StudentVue, but paper forms were confusing.

b.      Schools could automatically register HiCap kids for their appropriate HiCap classes to avoid mass chaos at registrar.

c.       Will need to adjust 4th and 5th grade EAP math to match what middle schools are doing for 6th and 7th grade math -- taking pre-algebra 1 and pre-algebra 2 so all kids are ready for algebra by 8th. 4th grade will now do 6th grade math and part of 7th. 5th grade will have the rest of 7th and 8th grade. 4th graders are already doing 6th grade math, so it’s just about adding some 7th grade math too.


Council Business

11.  HPC Budget Treasurer’s Report - How is fundraising going? Are we able to pay for the insurance now?

a.       $533.50 in the bank

b.      Received donations from some families and TimberCrest PTA

c.       Not enough to purchase insurance yet and make it thru rest of year

d.      Expecting some matching money, but has not arrived yet.

e.       Request to comment on Facebook post about fundraising so that it ranks higher in FB’s algorithm.

f.        Suggestion to sell Brown Bear Car Wash tickets as a fundraiser. But not many Brown Bears in district.

g.       Could do a restaurant partnership – easy but often do not raise much money. Will be organized by Lynn.

12.  Rebuilding websites and needing approval

a.       Do not currently pay for hosting at BlogSpot.

b.      Cost of hosting is $3 per month. Five different companies to choose from.

c.       One benefit is that site will no longer flip from to . Could pay BlogSpot to change the domain forwarding.

d.      But would require manual html since there would be no content management.

e.       Council does not currently have the budget to take on new expenses, especially without a volunteer to manage the site. Could look into enhancing the current BlogSpot site.

13.  Are we planning to do Spotlight Awards again?

a.       If so, need to do now.

b.      Probably not going to happen.


Ongoing Questions / Concerns

7.       MailChimp Subscription - is there a more cost effective option

o    How is Steven’s project to build this going? – Quick demo of what Steven built so far. Should meet HiCap needs.


Minutes from 5/2/23 Meeting


HiCap Parent Council Meeting
May 2, 2023

10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Hybrid: In-person & Zoom

Discussion Topic

1.      The Schoolwide Cluster Grouping for serving students

a.       Well known model, used in Paradise Valley in AZ. Higher proportion of Hispanic students. They also have a small 2E program and a small program for the tippy-top students, probably 98% of 99%. Vast majority are served in schoolwide cluster model.

b.      If testing is not reliable above 95% or perhaps 97% percentile, how do they determine who is at the tippy top? They use Naglierri.

c.       Professional Development is huge. School-wide, involving all teachers. Net is improves classroom instruction for all students. Massive investment over the past 10 years. But PD is the key to making it work. First year did not work out though.

d.      Difficult to advocate for PD investment in era of budget cuts.

e.       Cluster group model with with differentiation within classroom and lots of teacher support. Not a walk-to model like Ruby Bridges. Intentional classroom groupings.

f.        Walk-to model offers EAP-like benefits to all kids in terms of grouping kids with those of similar ability. But Paradise Valley model loses advantages for EAP kids.

g.       EAP teachers would say key is flexibility and knowing your students and their strengths. And knowing how to establish choice in how students can demonstrate mastery of the material.

h.      What can we do to empower and incentivize teachers to step up and do more than the minimum required for their job?

i.        If a small number of HiCap kids in a school, what is the benefit to them to splitting them into 2 classes instead of keeping them together? A - Benefit is for the other kids and the teachers, not the HiCap students.


Amity Updates

2.      4th/5th Math

a.       Will be transitioning next year: 4th graders are currently doing 6 and 5th graders are currently doing 7. New 6th grade students are transitioning to pre-Algebra 1 and 7th graders will be doing pre-algebra 2. So by 8th grade, everyone will be taking algebra.

b.      4th graders will follow same 6th grade pre-Algebra 1 and a little bit of 7th. 6th graders will get some exposure to linear equations. Kenmore Middle and one other school have already started this as a pilot. Instead of referring to it as “6th grade math” it will be called pre-Algebra 1, 7th grade will be called “pre-Algebra 2”. 8th will be algebra.

c.       Instead of 1-year jump and then 2-year jump for EAP kids, it will be more like 1 ½ each year.

d.      There is a plan for teacher training over the summer.

3.      Service delivery for elementary -- Highly Capable Growth Management Plan

a.       Cannot share some information about bargaining in the middle of a bargaining session. Considered an unfair labor practice.

b.      NSD meets with labor partners every month. Good idea since it leads to a good, open relationship.

c.       This is very personal for parents and teachers too.

d.      Background: NSD began universal screening in 2017. 400%+ growth in HiCap identification. Local norming (opportunity-to-learn factors) in 2018 also helped with FRPM and multilingual students. Otherwise criteria have not changed.

e.       After 3 years of data, Naglieri qualified students scored higher on achievement tests, iReady and SBA than students who originally qualified based on IOWA and other tests. In other words, Naglieri was a good choice.

f.        Working to bring students back to their own neighborhood schools while continuing acceleration. Strong push to integrate HiCap students with others in their grade level rather than sheltering them in self-contained classrooms.

g.       To provide advanced instruction, schools will need to create schedules that align within grade levels. Teachers also need to share responsibility of instructional delivery beyond their self-contained classroom, which requires collaboration, planning and establishing trusted relationships between colleagues.

h.      Looking at mixing students starting in 2nd grade and maybe 3rd grade in the 4 new schools. Will do walk-to math. ELA not as easy, especially given a new curriculum. 60 minutes per day of math, including on Wednesdays. ELA may not be a walk-to since 2 walk-to’s is more complicated.

i.        Letters will be sent to parents today for parents of 1st thru 4th graders even though it will not affect all parents during the 4-school pilot period. A more personalized letter will go out next Monday by each school.

j.        Why? Concerns about splits between kids, arguments between EAP and non-EAP students on playgrounds, in conversations. Varies across district. “I am an EAP student” comes up a lot between kids. Not blaming anyone per se. Trying to provide an inclusive environment for all students that provide a sense of belonging. If done well, will still meet academic needs of students.

k.      HiCap students cannot be clustered in groups of smaller than 7 students in a classroom without explicit approval.

l.        Concerns:

·   Need to give teachers and parents better terminology about how to talk to students about HiCap in an inclusive manner.

·   HiCap senior survey have sometimes expressed regret at being insulated from the larger, non-HiCap school community.

·   We have discussed walk-to model for many years for single-qualified students. But it was very controversial for many years, but suddenly it is considered as the solution.

·   To make it work requires a grand plan across the building. That requires a lot of work from admin and teachers, including money and PD. Requires teachers changing their long-held ways.

·   Sending EAP kids back into mixed classrooms where they felt like they did not belong socially in the first place. (But cluster groups happen more naturally now since 25% of kids are qualifying for HiCap.)

·   HiCap-qualified kids are sometime called upon by teachers to be kid teachers. (This is poor practice but also exacerbates social issues. PD can help solve this.)

·   HiCap kids may lose the benefits of accelerated learning if teacher does not differentiate and focuses on lower-performing kids who need more help (or have behavioral issues).

·   In a self-contained classroom, everyone is doing the same assignment as opposed to HiCap kids having harder criteria or being told to do more work. Depth of discussion in EAP classroom is much different than a GenEd classroom.

·   2E kids need support of having the whole classroom doing the same thing. And teacher do not always support 2E students academically.

·   Mixing kids is a great idea, but why do it for academic topics? How about just for specialists?

·   Concern about HiCap being isolated in smaller schools that may have fewer HiCap students.

·   Teachers are not generally trained for or inclined to differentiation.

m.    How will you know this is working?

·   District has some baseline data about how HiCap kids are doing, but data and emotions are two separate things. (Emotional parents do not care about data.)

·   Also have some “street data” from qualitative research by talking to students and asking them about their learning experience.

·   Student survey – need baseline data to compare. Do you feel like you belong in school? Have friends in your classroom? Parents will likely need to answer on behalf of students. Can a young child fill out a standard survey? Needs to be a neutral person to complete the survey.

·   EAP kids identify as EAP kids first and school kids second because they were often moved to a school because of EAP. Is that about culture of the building itself and how the school celebrates its identity?

·   Are objective academic scores similar to results from EAP classrooms? But difficult to base results on a single year across a smaller test group vs trends across multiple years.

·   How do you measure low-achieving students who do the minimum to get by?

·   Can look at specific demographic groups: 2E, low-income, etc. But at elementary level, many 2E kids do not have that diagnosis, especially at younger grades.

·   Are there more behavior issues among clustered students? Need to ask recess teachers and administrators, not just teachers who are not always aware of the issues.

·   Need to ask parents as well – do they feel like they have friends? Are challenged in school? Like school?

·   Survey parents at beginning of year and middle of year to follow-up to compare results. Perhaps focus on families moving from self-contained EAP back to home school.

·   Parents are part of the problem because they often do not welcome families that are not in the neighborhood and are there only because of EAP (or school capacity, such as kindergarten).

·   Measure time analysis of teachers, meaning is the new approach taking more of their time.

n.      Trying to use student-first language as a community, which is difficult. They are students first, not EAP students first, not special education students first. We teach students, not curriculum. The process changes every year because it is always a new group of students.

o.      New approach will be phased in, 1 grade per year. By 2025-26, the 4 pilot schools will have all of their students back to their home schools.


Council Questions / Updates

4.      What questions might we want to add to the year-end surveys for families? For seniors?


Council Business

5.      Set the date/time for the transition meeting in June

a.       Tuesday, June 6, probably from 6-8 pm.

b.      Will try to do in-person. Need to find location. Looking at Bothell library.

6.      Election process

a.       Nominations will close May 14.

b.      By Wednesday, May 17, election survey will go out and be open until June 1.