Wednesday, May 10, 2023

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.