Sunday, February 23, 2014


Nothing like looking through some old posts and then realizing I have broken off yet another attempt at writing. Apparently, I started a "Write 300 words" each day, and then up the word count by one each day. Two years later... I'm on post 7 or 8! Whoop!

I could write 300 (307) words about a lot of things, but if I know myself, I want to go the easiest route, and that subject today is teaching. Not just teaching, but a conversation I had with a father at ultimate frisbee practice today. I attended a masters and grandmasters practice/pickup game this morning, and it was a lot of fun. It wasn't only fun because I was younger than everyone there (masters you have to be 33 and grandmasters you have to be 40), and actually made some plays on defense, it was mostly fun for the community. I ran into a few friends from Tacoma ultimate, and a few other guys who have been around for a long time playing in Seattle.

A new guy (well, new to me) and I talked after playing ultimate for a few hours about education. He has a son who is in 6th grade, and just finished the APP program that's interim location is the same location my school is moving to next year. I had some questions for him about logistics of that move, but to make a long conversation short, the discussion turned into an APP discussion.

He was very happy with his son's progress through the APP curriculum, and as a sixth grader he is now taking algebra (which is normally a 9th grade class).

As a teacher at a title 1 school, I have mixed feelings about APP programs.

great for challenging kids
good for putting kids in situations where their entire existence is "the smart kid" in a regular-paced classroom

A very homogeneous group. The kids are all smart, and the vast majority are white kids of privilege.
I wonder how these kids interact with students and people later in their schooling and life, can they act appropriately and respectfully around students in a regular paced class? What about people with learning disabilities?

I don't mean to group all APP students into one basket, I know there are plenty of differences between individuals within the program, but it seems like education and learning really isn't going to be difficult for this group of students, so instead of challenging them with harder classes and at a faster pace, why not put the primary focus on team work and building social skills and leadership?

PS: it is okay to go over 307 words!

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