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Science Class Acceleration - WWYD? **UPDATED DD's in!** - Page 2

post #21 of 35

What about independent study of the 9th grade course via on-line learning? My kids go to a school that has very few course offerings and have had to take on-line courses just in order to graduate -- but they've taken courses well ahead of their age-grade this way for extra challenge They've done these courses from age 14 on up and have been very successful with them. All they needed was designated blocks of time at a school computer and a weekly check-in with a supervising teacher to make sure they were staying on track and weren't having any difficulty with the material.

 

Miranda

post #22 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post

Ugh, what a mess.

 

 

yup!! 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by oaksie68 View Post

 

 

So, in a nutshell, it appears that we have three avenues to research/further discuss:  making a repeat of 8th grade science work, with a combo of classtime and independent study; lobbying the HS principal to let DD attend his school for Honors Conceptual Physics; and just accelerating her to 9th grade at the specialty school.  Thoughts?  Experience?  Suggestions?

 

personally, I would push and push hard for the acceleration to 9th - the other options are not options I would entertain and I would let both HS and MS principal know how you feel (you are your child advocate) and have a sit down (with both together) and follow it up with a nicely written letter

 

good luck - what a mess and really IMO I don't think it should be like this - I really do not get their reasoning to do the 8th grade science work again- why? so it's easier for for? seems like a lot of ego issue here, and not on your part or your DD's

post #23 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post

Ugh, what a mess.

 

Yes, when I updated yesterday, I definitely agreed!  Just wait to see what I have to say later!

 

So you're being blocked by an idiot HS principal from the solution that everyone else agrees is the right solution?  I would definitely bring in the director of gifted services and ask that person to start batting heavy for you.  Your daughter needs to be in the appropriate science class to meet her needs.  It sounds like you are effectively retaining a high-performing, high-ability child in an area of her passion.  What a way to kill her love for science.

 

My take on it as well!

 

You need the director of gifted services, together with the MS principal and 8th grade science teacher to make the case in appropriate education lingo to the principal.  Her GAI and achievement testing indicate that she's in a class of her own, and that there is no evidence of so-called flood gates.  Did you ever apply to Davidson?  If you did, now's the time to bring them in.  If not, time to call that educational advocate whose contact info you have.

 

I agree!

 

The various 8th grade science solutions are not solutions.  I would not consent in your situation.

 

This option, for me, right now, if OFF the table!

 

<snip>

 

For the grade acceleration, it sounds like she's doing well across the board.  Have the school go through the Iowa Acceleration Scale.    How would your DD feel about the acceleration?  How are her organization skills?  How about making friends skills?  Even if you don't skip her, having the IAS score to be presenting to Mr SpeedBump Principal can hopefully establish the extreme nature of this situation.

 

She is doing well across the board.  Her organizational skills need work; I have been scaffolding her this year with executive functioning. 

 

Geofizz, thank you so much for your shared virtual indignation, lol!  Also, thank you for spending the time to layout each option, and how to handle dealing with getting the best outcome with each one!  Keep reading; your indignation will most likely dissolve......

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

What about independent study of the 9th grade course via on-line learning? My kids go to a school that has very few course offerings and have had to take on-line courses just in order to graduate -- but they've taken courses well ahead of their age-grade this way for extra challenge They've done these courses from age 14 on up and have been very successful with them. All they needed was designated blocks of time at a school computer and a weekly check-in with a supervising teacher to make sure they were staying on track and weren't having any difficulty with the material.

 

Miranda

 

On line classes would  be an option - her district has a *robust* on line course presence from what I hear from the Director of Gifted Services.  However, DD learns and performs better in a classroom setting.  That's not to say that she wouldn't use them in the future if the right course/situation presented itself!

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

yup!! 

 

personally, I would push and push hard for the acceleration to 9th - the other options are not options I would entertain and I would let both HS and MS principal know how you feel (you are your child advocate) and have a sit down (with both together) and follow it up with a nicely written letter

 

good luck - what a mess and really IMO I don't think it should be like this - I really do not get their reasoning to do the 8th grade science work again- why? so it's easier for for? seems like a lot of ego issue here, and not on your part or your DD's

 

.....And now for the update, which falls under the category of "burying the lead":  it appears that we won't necessarily have to push hard for acceleration to 9th grade.  The principal called me this afternoon, after talking to the Director of Gifted Services.  They are both in agreement that DD is absolutely ready for the skip.  They just have to clear it with the Asst. Superintendent; and we have to find out if there indeed is space in the program at the specialty HS.

 

The more and more that I think about it, I think that it is the right move academically - in the program course sequence, she would be slated to take Honors Geometry (would have taken at MS next year) and  Honors Conceptual Physics (trying to get into this at HS next year). Additionally, she would take a World Language (Spanish - and would have taken the equivalent at MS).  My concerns academically are with HS English.  But the principal stated that the 8th grade Honors English she would take is very rigorous, and placed it as equivalent to a junior year level content- and difficulty-wise.  So basically she was telling me not to worry about that (or Social Studies/History, for that matter).  So the setting will be dramatically different, but the coursework, not so much, apparently!

 

Then there is the emotional/social aspect: DD is pretty mature.  She's above average for size for her age; she looks the size of HS Freshman.  She has become fairly adept at making friends, and as a matter of fact, seems to be good at finding "kindred" spirits!  And I can imagine that she will easily find friends at the specialty HS - the students stay together within the specialized classes of the program, and tend to be together throughout the day with the rest of their classes with the general population.

 

As for what DD thinks/wants: she is firmly and enthusiastically on board with the skip.  She says that she really wants to be challenged.  I believe that I presented to her the three option pretty neutrally, and before I could get all the information out, she broke in excitedly stating that was the option she really wanted.

 

So now, we wait, research, talk to make sure there isn't something about this that takes this option off the table.  What issues/concerns/missed experiences/hurdles do we need to consider and talk about?

post #24 of 35

It's thrilling when the pieces fall into place!  Happy update!

 

It sounds like the single concern is the organizational skills.  Around here there are MS and HS organization skills summer camps.  I know of 3 within a 5 mile drive of here.  Sign her up for one, and have her do all the freshman orientation activities for the HS, including anything remaining this month.  That helps a lot with finding friends.

 

Too bad our girls don't live close to each other.  They sound so similar.

post #25 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post

It's thrilling when the pieces fall into place!  Happy update!

 

It sounds like the single concern is the organizational skills.  Around here there are MS and HS organization skills summer camps.  I know of 3 within a 5 mile drive of here.  Sign her up for one, and have her do all the freshman orientation activities for the HS, including anything remaining this month.  That helps a lot with finding friends.

 

I briefly looked for a camp like that.....and came up short.  Is this something the school district offers, or a private entity?  If (or rather when?) we get the formal okay, and formally enroll, I hope she'll have a chance to talk to her 8th grade friends to see if any of them are going there.  Her last day of school is May 23; so not a whole lot of time left this year!  As a planner, all this "hurry up, plan and make quick decisions" is killing me!  I'm feeling a little shell shocked...

 

Too bad our girls don't live close to each other.  They sound so similar.

 

Yup, I bet they'd have a blast together!

 

Of course I haven't mentioned yet DH's continued reluctance to 100% say yes to this plan; he has the concern that she would be losing a year of her childhood.  He readily admits it's probably the right thing to do (and absolutely the right thing to do academically), but he is concerned about her exposure to older kids (read: older boys), and with it, exposure to things like drugs, alcohol, unsafe teenage driving, etc.  Linda laid this concern out well upthread; now I'll probably start living that reality...  yikes2.gif  help.gif

post #26 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by oaksie68 View Post

 

Of course I haven't mentioned yet DH's continued reluctance to 100% say yes to this plan; he has the concern that she would be losing a year of her childhood.  He readily admits it's probably the right thing to do (and absolutely the right thing to do academically), but he is concerned about her exposure to older kids (read: older boys), and with it, exposure to things like drugs, alcohol, unsafe teenage driving, etc.  Linda laid this concern out well upthread; now I'll probably start living that reality...  yikes2.gif  help.gif

 

Yeah, with our 14 year old "older boys" (specifically one older boy) are an issue. However, in your sentence you link older kids with exposure to drugs, alcohol, and unsafe driving. That hasn't been our experience. The older boys are kids she has stuff in common with -- the kind of kids whose idea of a good time is watching science fiction movies together and making fun of what passes for mainstream teen culture. No drugs, no alcohol, and what I find to be surprisingly conscientious driving habits. (They are better kids than either my DH or I were as teens).

 

May be it helps that they are all smart and know they have good futures to look forward to. shrug.gif

 

I don't think skipping a year a middle school counts as losing a year of childhood. It's middle school. No one looks back on middle school as the highpoint of their life.

 

Our older DD, who is 16, stopped high school mid year and switched to college. It was the right move for her. She didn't lose any of her childhood (that was already over) but she did switch to a learning environment that is a happy place for her. She is really happy and thriving, and that's the important part.

post #27 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

 

Yeah, with our 14 year old "older boys" (specifically one older boy) are an issue. However, in your sentence you link older kids with exposure to drugs, alcohol, and unsafe driving. That hasn't been our experience. The older boys are kids she has stuff in common with -- the kind of kids whose idea of a good time is watching science fiction movies together and making fun of what passes for mainstream teen culture. No drugs, no alcohol, and what I find to be surprisingly conscientious driving habits. (They are better kids than either my DH or I were as teens).

 

May be it helps that they are all smart and know they have good futures to look forward to. shrug.gif

 

I don't think skipping a year a middle school counts as losing a year of childhood. It's middle school. No one looks back on middle school as the highpoint of their life.

 

Our older DD, who is 16, stopped high school mid year and switched to college. It was the right move for her. She didn't lose any of her childhood (that was already over) but she did switch to a learning environment that is a happy place for her. She is really happy and thriving, and that's the important part.

I agree with you on these points......most of the angst is coming from DH - DD is his little girl, and he's having a bit of trouble letting go (knows it in his head intellectually, but his heart is lagging behind).  But at the same time, I'm going to make sure the lines of communication are open as much as possible, and also keep my ears and eyes open to problems......

post #28 of 35
Thread Starter 

So....another update, and it's good too!

 

So....after a little ball dropping by the MS principal (has been trying to straddle between this job and her new one), we finally got the okay for the skip from the AS of the district on Monday.  We've been nervously waiting (mind you, the school year ended Thursday).  The was the MS principal put it, the AS didn't so much as say  an official "yes" for the skip, he did say it was okay for her to apply to the specialty HS program - essentially giving his tacit approval - whatever!  shrug.gif  I guess in his position, you have to be careful in how you play your politics!

 

So Tuesday (and Wednesday), I called the head of the specialty HS and left a message.  The MS principal said that she was going to call him too, and essentially tell him to "get her in", administrator to administrator. From other parents of kids going to this school, I had heard that the Engineering track was filled, so we were worried about there being space.

 

DD had a good freak out session on Wednesday evening about leaving MS and going to HS - she was writing thank you notes to her teachers, had begun telling her friends that she probably wouldn't be in MS next year, so the reality of the situation was sinking in, and she was beginning to deal with her conflicting emotions.  We talked it out, telling DD that we will support her in whatever she wanted to do - if she wanted to stay in MS, she could and we would do our best to make it work.  She said she knew that HS was really where she wanted/needed to be, but was sad to leave her friends behind. 

 

On Thursday morning (last day of school!), the head of the program called me back.  We had a good chat.  He confirmed that there was space in the program, and that DD came with excellent references from the "district administration" - the MS principal for sure, and I'm guessing the Director of Gifted Services too. 

 

There also was an application for the specialty HS program that she needed to complete in short order, which was adding stress to the situation.  For those applying in the normal time frame, they had months to compose their resume, essay, and get their references - we had *A LOT* less time, lol.  But she got it done, got the references from her teachers, and we turned the application in on Friday AM.  Her Algebra teacher wrote one of the references, and as he handed it to DD, he jokingly said, "I don't really think you'll need this.  I heard that you are already in!"  The 8th grade science teacher wrote a great letter to go with the evaluation/reference form - it should weight heavily in her favor during the evaluation process.

 

I discussed the stress and the freaking out with the head of the program, and we had a good talk about the possibility of DD hitting some bumps emotionally attending HS early - they have a girl currently in the engineering program, who started early, and she did hit some bumps, but worked them out.  I hope with my background, keeping aware of what is going on, and keeping in touch with the counselors, we can avoid or minimize issues.

 

I also asked the head of the program if there was anyway we could bring DD by to see the building and classrooms/labs.  I figure it will help DD wrap her head around what she is going to, rather on focusing on what she was leaving.  So we set up a time this Tuesday to meet with him and get a tour.  She got a peek of the rooms, and met the teacher who is heading the engineering program there, so that calmed her down a bit, and got her more excited than sad.

 

All in all, in the end, this process has gone better than I would have expected.  But if I had known back in February that it would be such an ordeal to figure this out, I would have not waited like a good little parent for it to be most convenient time for the schools to come up with a plan. shy.gif  Heck, I guess in hindsight, I should have been looking for a skip to begin with? !?

 

So, I hope that we get the decision soon - I would hate to have to go most of summer break in limbo about where she'll be next year.  Wish us luck!

post #29 of 35
Fantastic job! Knowing what your child needs is always tough. Good job keeping the discussion going until it became evident and could come to fruition.

This sounds like the ideal situation for your DD. Here's to a fabulous high school career.
post #30 of 35
Thread Starter 

SHE'S OFFICIALLY IN!

 

We took a tour before getting official confirmation, and DD literally was vibrating as the tour got to the engineering classrooms.  The coordinator of the program pointed out that was exactly what they were looking for!    He was very generous with his time.  Now to get her to work on her homework for over the summer....And I get to wrap my head around having a high school student in the house.....yikes2.gif

 

Thank you to all for your input and encouragement working through this process.  It has been VERY helpful! 

post #31 of 35

Yeah!!!  Keep us posted when the school year starts! clap.gif
 

post #32 of 35
Thread Starter 
I've posted this is a different thread, but I thought I'd put this update here as well:

DD (13 years old) just finished her 1st semester of HS, after skipping 8th grade. She certainly got her first real taste of challenge, both to her intellect, and her executive functioning skills. And learning that even though it sounds fun, maybe joining every after school group you are interested in *may not* be the best use of your time.

First real challenge: Honors Conceptual Physics. She completely missed the Physics unit from last year's science class (moved from 7th grade science to 8th grade science 2/3 of the year through). She really has a difficult time wanting to track scores/grades, and also has a hard time acknowledging that the need to ask for help is not a sign of weakness or lack of ability. So she got a B for the first quarter because she failed to keep track of her tests. labs, and homework, and in doing so, missed her chance to correct two low (high 70's) grades. Her teacher had a pretty liberal policy where they can correct any work for partial credit to improve a grade.

She was pulling a low to mid A for the second quarter, and needed to do fairly well on the final to squeak out an A. Her class was given the final a week early, so they would have a chance to retake it on the true final day, and the teacher would average the two grades. Low B on first take; high B on second take. Her teacher made a deal with her - get a 89.5 average and I'll give you the A. Guess what average she ended with? ;-). Happy Ending: an A in Physics. My DH and I told her we were most proud of her for the way she stuck to it and gritted out the effort. The A was nice too, of course.

Challenge discovered: Helping DD to learn how to distill a subject's important concepts down to aid in recall for a final!

She did well in her other 3 subjects (her HS is on the block system; they have 4 classes per semester) - received A's. She took Spanish and Drawing - both were relative cakewalks for her. Her other class was an Intro to STEM class that presented some challenges - not academically, but interpersonally. One major part of her grade was a group project. Her fellow group mates were pretty lax in their commitment to get things done by deadlines. She would get very frustrated, and feel stressed to get all the work done herself (which had happened to her in the past with group work - the expectation of group mates that she should do the bulk of the work). AS she will have to deal with these types of situations "in the real world" someday, we worked with her to proactively deal with the situation - staying in constant contact with group mates outside of class, encouraging the group to make time to work together (via email, so if nothing else, there was a paper trail for her teacher to see her level of effort). And to let her know it was okay after attempting to resolve the issue on her own, to seek help from her teacher to solve it. She did that; her teacher let her know he wouldn't let their lack of effort affect her grade negatively.

The teacher she had for this Intro to STEM class will be one of her Engineering teachers over the next few years (and we did tell him that DD skipped to 9th grade, so he is/would be aware of the age and other differences). I think he's formed a soft spot for DD; they have spent some time together outside of the class (in an after school activity) and he joked with her one day that she might be his" new favorite student". We also received a very heartwarming note at the end of the semester, part of which read:

"I also wanted you to know {DD} exceeded my expectations, which were high to begin with. She turned out to be quite a leader in class and her work is excellent. I am looking forward to a long, friendly, and productive relationship for the next few years. I will work on her becoming more active in {an extracurricular activity} so her leadership potential can be further developed.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday. Thanks for sending me such a wonderful kid!"


I've got to tell you, getting feedback like this makes the difficult times we've gone through with her so worth it; most recently dealing with her inability to monitor and self control computer game playing and socializing via Skype and text, to the detriment of her need for sleep.

Now on to the second semester, which will be even more challenging; Honor Geometry, PE/Health class, Intro to Engineering, and Honors English. And to get her to see that she'll need to choose which after school activities are most important, and ditch the rest.
post #33 of 35

How awesome.  Thanks for the update!

 

And I love your "wow, we're impressed at how hard you worked and stuck with a tough class.  Yeah, the A is also great," attitude.

 

The STEM school here also has a 4-course block schedule with 90-120 minute classes each.  What's your DD's activity level and attention span like?  Part of the reason we decided against this school is that there was no place or structure by which to get DD physical activity through a long day.  She's struggling to function as it is at her middle school with 43 minute classes with a bonkers schedule that at least forces her to climb 1-2 flights of stairs between each class. 

post #34 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post

How awesome.  Thanks for the update!

And I love your "wow, we're impressed at how hard you worked and stuck with a tough class.  Yeah, the A is also great," attitude.

The STEM school here also has a 4-course block schedule with 90-120 minute classes each.  What's your DD's activity level and attention span like?  Part of the reason we decided against this school is that there was no place or structure by which to get DD physical activity through a long day.  She's struggling to function as it is at her middle school with 43 minute classes with a bonkers schedule that at least forces her to climb 1-2 flights of stairs between each class. 

DD's attention span is pretty good, especially when she's into the topic. The blocks are 86 minutes long, with a half-hour lunch in the middle of the day. One good thing about the block schedule is that she is able to get her homework done in class sometimes, and/or ask questions about concepts she is unsure about before the next day.

I hear you about the no structure or place to get physical activity; the lack of scheduled physical activity would have been a bigger problem when she was younger. But now, DD is following in the true teen fashion of becoming sloth-like. At least she'll have PE every day next semester (required to take .5 credits in PE to graduate), though there of course is no other organized physical activity required, and she's not the athletic sort, at least not having the interest or skill to join an athletic team, for example.

Given our commute, her busy after school schedule, and homework, there is little time to exercise (although we do have a decent work out room in our house with bike, treadmill, weights, and a TV to watch. But she'd rather hide in her room to "do homework", errrrr... play games and chat with friends, while doing her homework, sometimes. Needless to say, we are working on that, with limited success. She's really going to have less time next semester with her class load, so hopefully that'll we'll get that sorted out without too much pain.

She did go on a long hike today with DH and some friends; in her brain somewhere she realizes that she needs to be more active. And when she's not busy after school, she loves to play with DS and his fellow schoolmates at the park right after school gets out (DS, on the other hand, HAS to get more physical activity outside of school time, even with up to 3 recesses during the day - his teacher really appreciates the calming effect of that extra play! ;-)

I hope that you find a way to solve the lack of organized physical activity during your DD's day. As kids get farther along in school, there are few daily outlets for physical activity, which is so hard for those who REALLY need it!
post #35 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by oaksie68 View Post

I hear you about the no structure or place to get physical activity; the lack of scheduled physical activity would have been a bigger problem when she was younger. But now, DD is following in the true teen fashion of becoming sloth-like. 

 

This is one thing I love for my teens about our local school: it starts at 9 a.m. with 45 minutes of physical activity. There's a choice of two: typically one is indoors and one is outdoors, one is team-based and one is not. Trail-running, bodyweight strength conditioning, snowshoeing, soccer, badminton, hip-hop dance, hauling wheelbarrows of mulch in the school garden, a variety of possibilities depending on the season. My province has mandated Daily Physical Activity, minimum 30 minutes, as part of the curriculum, and I love how our school has implemented it. With all the concern over achievement standards and good evidence to support the idea that 30 minutes of physical activity will improve math and literacy scores more than devoting the extra 30 minutes to math and literacy, I'm surprised this isn't more common.

 

Glad to get the wonderful update, in any case!

 

Miranda

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