This might be long. Pull up a chair. It might also be premature (as I expect I will take a wait and see attitude for the next month or so)
DD is in Grade 8. The work is too easy, but that is not the real issue. She could handle grade 9 or 10 work (save for grade 10 math - maybe) with ease.
She really liked school last year. She is in a grade 7/8 school (which is attached to the high school) and hung around primarily with 8th graders.
This year all the former 8th grader from last year have moved over to the high school so she misses them. She does have numerous friends in grade 7, but claims it is not the same.
For about 1 month now she has been having girl drama. She was not the instigator and has been handling it fairly well (responding assertively but not aggressively) and not taking any crap, but it is getting old. She is also starting to talk about "finding dirt" on one of the mean girls and threatening her with it to keep her in line. Yeah - not good. I have tried to talk her out of this to no avail.
She has no interest in talking to teachers as she thinks it will do no good. I would like to keep the school informed (paper trail as you will - lightbulb moment - I might put it to her like that!) but I don't think they can do much either.
I am contemplating asking for a grade switch. The high school curriculum is so much more interesting than the grade 8 curriculum - and I think there might be less girl drama in high school, which would be a good thing, I think.
Am I out to lunch?
Edited to add: the school has allowed grade skips before. The school is on a semester basis so she could start grade 9 classes next semester - Feb 1st, or so.
I'd strongly consider it. Her "peers" are a grade ahead, and it sounds like developmentally, she's not where the other 8th grade girls are. The only question I'd have is whether she'd be able to easily make up the credits toward graduation that she needs if she skips midyear. That's not a reason to keep her in 8th grade, but she might need to do some make up work over the summer. Some of it too depends on the kind of system they have. Could she step into 9th grade math having missed the first semester?
Actually, I am Ok with her not making up the credits at this point. She is one of the youngest in her class, so if she does skip and she does a normal coarse load - she would graduate in January. It is far away - but I can see pluses to graduating in January - like travelling or working until one starts University in September.
The school is semestered. They actually only take math in one of the two semesters. She should not be behind - unless they are covering stuff she does not know in grade 8 math after Xmas. She may need a placement test and/or a bit of tutoring (hopefully in school) to catch up before starting the grade 9 math. It is the only area I think she might need a small amount of work in to be able to skip.
Honestly, I wouldn't take a wait and see approach for the next month. I would contact the school district ASAP because a grade skip (especially one where you are dealing with placement issues and credits) is not going to be a one week thing and you're done. With winter break coming up, adn counselors are really busy (in high schools) this time of year worrying about PSATs, SATs and college applications I think it will take longer than you think.
It sounds like your district may be set up to work an advancement (since she could do an entire year of math in 2nd semester). Will the other classes also work that way (so she won't be coming in mid way). Are there any classes she will *not* be able to transfer to (for example, a foreign language would need to be taken the entire year)?
All high school course are one semester. There are 2 semesters in each year. There are no full year courses.
Thanks for the advice on the contacting the school. I do know it will take some time...the wait and see was more about me wanting to think about things (such as: is this a good idea) and see if any of the drama died down.
She sounds like a good candidate but I'm just going to throw some things out to think about.
I can't vouch for 9th grade being better than 8th socially. My own DD (who skipped back in elementary) found 9th grade far more socially challenging than middle school. The positive relationships were better than she ever had at school but the negative interactions were worse than she'd ever experienced too. 9th grade in general is a rough transition year for many kids. They are insecure and battling for their social positions in a new environment. The skip would get her away from this one group of kids and I'm totally for that (just pulled my son out of a program because of a nasty group of kids.) Just keep in mind that 9th graders aren't so different yet. The shift in maturity really seems to happen in 10th grade from what we've experienced and what our teacher friends and school administrators have said.
Keep in mind that to let her fit in, you'll need to make sure you are ready for her to have the freedoms most other high schoolers have. Your signature says she's 12. Is that correct? My DD started high school at 13 and all her friends were already 15 or pretty close to it. She's used to having older friends but I wasn't used to dropping her off at the mall, movies, beach or events with boy/girl groups and no adult supervision. It's appropriate activity for 9th graders in our area but you should determine before hand if it's appropriate for your DD at 12.
Academically, it was a mixed bag. Better material in high school but the quality of teachers and the amount they were willing to invest in individual students dropped dramatically. Gone were the adult level debates at lunch and informal conversations on books and world events. This was a HUGE loss for DD. Things are better in 10th grade and she's connected with a couple teachers but she still deeply mourns the individual challenge and stimulation she got with these relationships in middle school. It sort of forced her to depend on peer interaction and as nice as her friends are, they just aren't interested in the sort of indepth conversation she wants yet.
Again, your DD does sound like a good candidate and I'm not saying a skip wouldn't be perfect for her! I'm just offering some things to discuss before going forward.
You might also see if you can get a copy of the Iowa Acceleration Scale. One of the things I remember reading in there, if I remember correctly, was that it's a bad idea to skip 'transition' years for most kids. So, for example, if you have a 5th grader and are considering a skip, it'd be OK if you're in a K-8 school, but less of a good idea if that 5th grader was going to skip directly into a Junior High. There's a lot of work that the teachers do in these transition years to get the kids ready for a transition.
Regardless of whether you're worried about the transition to a new type of school, I would recommend the Iowa Acceleration Scale. It really helps you and the school think out a lot of different things. It has things for both families and teachers to fill out. Obviously, it asks a lot about academics, but it also asks about age relative to the school starting date, social maturity, and a lot of other things that I've forgotten.
Ah, we have a December 1st cut (not that many people partake in that) and my other child is on the young side without the skip like your DD.
Being the youngest isn't an issue for either of the kids and I'm not one that thinks when they drive and such is a big deal but there are logistical issues that have to be pounded out. I feel it really helped to talk them all out with DD before we got there so that when things happened (like a group of her 17/18 year old friends decided that after their mini-golf trip, they'd hit a movie...an "R" rated movie) she knew what our expectations were.... that she call home first and we'd discuss... in that case, we picked her up.
Also consider that if she's subject accelerated, her classmates can be that much older. DD's grade level classes were filled with 15-year-olds while she was 13. Her accelerated studies had her in classes with 16 and 17 year-olds. She's been with older kids through theatre since she was 8 and so it really doesn't phase her but we know other skippers who had little to no experience being working with kids more than a year older and were overwhelmed in 9th grade.... not to the point they regretted the skip and certainly, they did adapt but just something to be prepared for.
Again, I'm not trying to be negative as skipping was really a huge positive for our eldest all around. Have you had a chance to visit the high school campus with her? Does she know if her friends from last year are even together still? I know the group DD hung out with in middle school was scattered to several different schools (by choice) and all found new friends away from their middle school set. I think that's a pretty normal occurance. I'd hate for her to be excited for a move to see her old friends only to find they've all gone in different directions with new people.
Wanted to post a Canadian perspective. My dd is less than a month older than yours, kathymuggle (in fact my younger three are very closely aligned to your three kids' ages -- I'd never realized that before) and is in a modified Grade 8/9/10 program. Now, we're dealing with a school where Grades 8-12 are together for lots, where credit accumulation for the diploma starts in Grade 10. So the "transitional year" considerations don't apply to my dd the way they might for yours. But because there really isn't any red-shirting in Canada, and because the cutoff date is so late by US standards and pretty much always heeded, there are no 15-year-olds in Grade 9. In fact there are still some 13-year-olds. And everyone else is 14. Not that big an age difference for a kid who is turning 13. We really haven't found the age difference to be problematic.
Like whatsnextmom's dd, mine is used to hanging out with older teens from a wide age-range. She's in a youth choir that tours a lot, made up of 13- to 23-year-olds, and thrives there. Her closest friend is an older Grade 8, but her two other good friends at school are in Grade 9 and Grade 10. She has older siblings and has already done some summer music programs for teens (at age 11 and 12). Your dd also has a teenaged sibling, so I don't suppose there would be any huge culture shock joining high school culture.
I attended a large Grade 7/8 school as a kid and I have to say that I think that's a terrible (far too narrow) age division for throwing huge numbers of kids from multiple elementary schools into. It was just a huge social morass back in my day, and I don't imagine it has changed for the better. And I also benefitted from the flexibility of a fully semestered high school. It made for a fair bit of fluidity , allowing keener kids to advance quickly through courses (taking Science 9 first semester and Science 10 second semester, for example). And I was able to take a full university course and work half-time during my final semester, thus graduating in June but with lots more experience under my belt.
Good luck with your decision-making.
Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up
It is true that grade 8 is a transition year - as it is the last year of middle school. It is also true that grade 9 will be a transition year - as it is the first year of high school. While transferring during transition years is not ideal (although she might get to avoid the multiple lectures by teachers on "next year you will be in high school and not allowed to/ or will be expected to....".), putting up with things for 2 years because of "transition years" is not ideal either.
I do think most of her friends from last year will be in the high school, but not necessarily in her class. They will rotate for classes and she might have different people in each class. There are about 200 people per grade (800 for 9-12).
Lots to think about.
My oldest skipped the last year of elementary (5th) so also a transition year and she was also the youngest in grade pre-skip. She's a few months older than your dd (turned 13 a couple weeks into the school year this year) and is now a 9th grader. She actually sounds a bit like your dd academically as well. She could easily handle the work in higher level courses in pretty much all areas except for math. She's currently in geometry and might be okay in Algebra II (which she'll take next year) but 9th grade math really is a fine fit for her and she doesn't need any more acceleration there. She is taking both the 9th and 10th grade science courses this year and is finding both of them to be a good fit.
I'd second the recommendation to talk to the schools ASAP (both the middle school and the high school) if you want to consider a skip at this point. You could always go through the process and decide that it isn't the right fit but might come away from the process with a better plan in place to meet her needs in 8th grade. It isn't a commitment to skip to broach the subject and the process of deciding might help sway you either way.
Has she taken any above level tests? I found having dd take the EXPLORE when she was in 4th helped me feel better about agreeing to the skip b/c her scores came out fairly high. The school had already approved the skip by the time the scores came in, but it eased some worries on my end. This late in the game I would worry less about the IQ scores, but I also felt a bit more confident about the skip having that data.