Okay, please help a confused, conflicted mama out!
So, in this thread: http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1351558/determining-ability-to-learn-updated , I described my gifted DD and her current schooling situation. Well, we went ahead and had her tested in the beginning of June. She was given the WISC-IV VCI and PRI to comprise a GAI score, as well as the Stanford-Binet Quantitative Reasoning domain test, as this particular subset of tests are commonly required by various districts/schools for entry into their gifted programs (and I didn’t want to pay any more for the full testing!). Her GAI score was 151 (> 99.9 percentile), and her S-B Quantitative Reasoning Number Series subtest was 99th percentile rank (explained to me as a more accurate representation of her mathematical ability vs. the scores for the Domain and/or Quantitative).
So, given she has tested as highly gifted, it puts a bit of a wrench in the current plans for her schooling. I was planning on her attending the MS of her current district (for 5.5 years), with her being accelerated to Algebra, and being placed in Honors classes (as they exist) for her other classes. As I’ve discussed before, her current district does not have a gifted program per se. There is a gifted “consultant/liaison” for each school, but no dedicated teacher or program for those designated as gifted. Given this setting and situation, and given her test results, as well her achieving high grades/scores at school/state-wide testing (to this point), I really think I need to reconsider and find a better placement for her.
I am currently in contact with the Director of Gifted Services for another (somewhat) close school district which is known for their gifted programs - they have 5000 gifted students in a district of approximately 33,000 students, where A LOT of the students travel quite a distance to attend the various schools and gifted programs.
There are two options in the new district that I see as a possible fit for DD.
1) A semi self-contained gifted program for HG/PG students. I just got off the phone with the 7th grade teacher of the district’s only semi self-contained MS gifted program (recommended by the director). The gifted students spend ½ their school day in what is called the “Digital Learning Center” with a gifted teacher, and the other half with the general population of the school for the rest of their course work. Here is an example of the schedule:
Sample Student Schedule
- Digital Learning Center: Literature, Social Studies (7) or Science (8), Technology
- Writing class — The Honors Writing teacher works exclusively with the students in the DLC and collaborates with the DLC teachers to support project-based learning with a unified team approach.
- Social Studies or Science class— Based on the grade level, students receive instruction in the content area not covered in the DLC. Honors options are available to provide further differentiation to gifted learners..
- Math class — MS or HS math placement (based on previous math placement)
- Depending upon the student's schedule, elective options include the following:
- Foreign Language — Spanish 1-2
- Fine Arts — chorus, band, strings or drama
- Physical Education
Academically, it would be a great fit, but I am concerned with a few things: the drive from my house (about 25 miles, one way) can take anywhere from 40 – 55 minutes ( the current MS school is 14 miles, one way, 25-40 minutes), the community aspect to attending school (will she feel a part of/involved with the school community) , the ability to make/maintain new friendships, as well as the need to take my son’s future schooling needs into account (set for preschool through the current district this coming school year, but unsure what/where to place him for K after that). Oh, and have time for other things – activities, chill-out time.
2) A MS that is very STEM focused, and has the basic, district-wide gifted services available (but not the semi self-contained gifted program for HG/PG students). They use Project Based Learning (Honors English) and Project Lead the Way (STEM subjects) method/philosophy. I need to get more information about this school and how it could academically fit for DD. But on paper it sounds cool. And DD knows a few students from her current school that will be going there. And it is located only about 5 minutes (farther away from my house, so it’s appox. 18 miles and 30-45 minutes) from the current district’s MS. So socially, and feeling a part of the school community, it would be easier for DD.
But even as I’m typing this, I’m still holding on to the hope that there has to be some way of making her current situation work, with a lot of work from me working with her teachers. Other than the lack of a comprehensive gifted program, I have loved the current district and the teachers there, and the positive sense of community that has been created. My DD has made a lot of friends and loves the district too. Oh, and I’m going to spend my life driving to/from both kids’ schools. It’s hard for me to reconcile the thought of moving her, even though academically, she needs it.
So, given this information, WWYD? Which option could work best? Have any of you dealt with this? PLEASE share your wisdom and experience! TIA
Edited by oaksie68 - 7/25/12 at 7:47pm