Hmmm...it seems like the effectiveness depends on how it is implemented. I suppose that is true with any model of education. I am just surprised how well it seems to work and how much I am finding that I like it.
There is no particular accomodation made for kids who are above grade level. I suppose it probably wouldn't be a good fit for a truly gifted child in all areas. However, there are lots of kids above grade level in one area or another and they just learn what everyone else is learning. As I type this I am reminded of how crazy that sounds, but it is effective. The goal is to make sure that every child meets grade level expectations in every area. Not to make indivdualized accomodations for every child. I don't know of anyone complaing that their kids are bored and need to be challenged more. It seems like the curriculum moves pretty fast so there is always something new to be learned. I'm not an educator, but from my point of view it seems to be working.
If a child is struggling or falling behind, the issue is addressed as soon as it is recognized. Parents are contacted and the child is given one on one instruction until they are caught up to the class. I think this works really well. There is no "waiting to see" before trying to address the problem. Talking to other parents, it seem like pretty much every kid will be pulled out for this type or tutoring at some point.
Originally Posted by moominmamma
I'm curious about this model too. In particular I'm curious why the school would be so popular as to be subject to a lottery. Since it's a "school of choice" I suppose there would be a fair amount of self-selection for high-average kids who learn well in a traditional top-down large-group learning situation. Like ollyoxenfree I wonder how they would deal with kids like mine who are way ahead of grade level and are intuitive low-repetition learners in some areas, yet closer to grade level in others. I honestly see strict grade-levelling as one of the great ills of the school system, and am thankful that our public school takes a diametrically opposite approach with multi-grade classrooms and tons of self-pacing.
Miranda - the school is the top elementary school in our state. Aside from the phenomenal test scores, it has a long history (nearly 40 years and long before NCLB) of academic excellence. It has always had a long waiting list. Typically they have about 25 spots available for kindergarten and about 350 applicants. To be honest I went into the information session wanting to not like this school, but by the end they had me sold. I'm not the competitive type and it seemed to me that this type of environment would be a breeding ground for competitive parents. In reality, the opposite is actually true. The parents are way less competitive than my son's play-based preschool. The school has high academic expectations, but they also spend more time in specials (art, music and PE) and have more recess time than many of the other schools I looked at. They also offer tons of enrichment activities throughout the year and the kids just seemed happy to be in school. In theory, I like the idea of multi-grade classrooms, but around here I really wasn't able to find anything like that to even consider. At least not in the public sector.