IQ Testing Results – What to do now? UPDATED Post 12 - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 07-12-2012, 08:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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


Becky, mom to two - DD ('00) and DS ('08)
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#2 of 12 Old 07-12-2012, 08:18 PM
 
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My daughter isn't in school yet, but I've taught profoundly gifted kids in the regular classroom (but honors) setting, and it can absolutely work. It will take extra work from you.
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#3 of 12 Old 07-13-2012, 07:55 AM
 
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You know, it depends on all the individuals involved. I have two kids that test in the 99.9th percentile. Both went/are going to the local middle school and both look at it as their best schooling years to date. The local school has no GATE program but they do have really excellent teachers in a small district that values flexibility. DD 15 went in with a grade skip behind her, additional subject accelerations in math and science and all honors classes. Her teachers had her thinking and working at college level in many cases. DS 11 just finished his first year of middle school. He went in naturally on the young side for grade with a subject acceleration in math, a pre-engineering course and continued tri-lingual education. It started a little rocky but within 3 months, they had figured him out and he began to thrive. No gifted programming, average number of gifted students in the school,  high ESL population... excellent teachers equaled fantastic school experience.

 

DD 15 went to an audition based arts magnet high school (within a huge district) with a highly gifted program and where about 75 percent of the population qualified as gifted... worst experience of her life. The teachers were low quality so even with honors, AP, highly gifted classes and subject acceleration no fit could be found and we've had to pull her. 

 

Things to consider, can your DD even get in those schools? Many times they are compacted and lottery based even though she might qualify scoring wise. You're talking placement for THIS fall aren't you? That's tricky... in our area, all transfers have to go in by the end of March. Before you stress too much about which school, you'd better contact the schools directly and see if it's even an option that she go there. 

 

Would your DD enjoy spending half the day learning with a computer? My DD would hate it. She needs dialogue, discussion and debate... computer can't give her that. The idea of going to school on the computer is appalling to her. DS does all his math online through the school so he can work at his own level and enjoys it but I wouldn't want him taking much more online.

 

So, find out what schools are you can actually do a last minute transfer into and find out more about them. If you've all been happy in your current district, it may be worth trying. If she's found a strong social group, that's not something to ignore. We've done the distance driving for specialty school and it's tough... your expectations go WAY up when you are stuck in traffic at 6 in the morning. 


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#4 of 12 Old 07-13-2012, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rrrrrachel View Post

My daughter isn't in school yet, but I've taught profoundly gifted kids in the regular classroom (but honors) setting, and it can absolutely work. It will take extra work from you.
 

That makes me happy to hear that it can work. I want it to, but not so sure it's really going to be possible.  Even with a lot of effort from me.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

You know, it depends on all the individuals involved. I have two kids that test in the 99.9th percentile. Both went/are going to the local middle school and both look at it as their best schooling years to date. The local school has no GATE program but they do have really excellent teachers in a small district that values flexibility. DD 15 went in with a grade skip behind her, additional subject accelerations in math and science and all honors classes. Her teachers had her thinking and working at college level in many cases. DS 11 just finished his first year of middle school. He went in naturally on the young side for grade with a subject acceleration in math, a pre-engineering course and continued tri-lingual education. It started a little rocky but within 3 months, they had figured him out and he began to thrive. No gifted programming, average number of gifted students in the school,  high ESL population... excellent teachers equaled fantastic school experience.

 

That sounds like a good set up for you DCs.  I wish DD's current school district could be this flexible.  While my DD did well in the multiage set up at the ES, I do think it also masked her need for more acceleration, so without that, she probably would have grade skipped and that could have helped to correct some of the current issues.  The mask came off this past year for her in 6th grade.   Without the format of a MA program, she was not challenged AT ALL!  And if the lack of challenge wasn't clear before, it became obvious when her LA teachers decided to introduce the kids to Shakespeare at the end of the year - my daughter ate it up, loving every minute of it, while most of her fellow classmates struggled to keep up.  This was the most challenged she was this past year, in addition to when she was pull out of math class the last two weeks or so at the end of the year to learn and complete 8th grade math.  And the satisfaction of completing these challenges showed at home - she was happy, relaxed, and well behaved, which we had trouble with on and off throughout this past school year.

 

DD 15 went to an audition based arts magnet high school (within a huge district) with a highly gifted program and where about 75 percent of the population qualified as gifted... worst experience of her life. The teachers were low quality so even with honors, AP, highly gifted classes and subject acceleration no fit could be found and we've had to pull her. 

 

Yeah, that would be my worst nightmare, and is something I am concerned about, but I think the new district has spent quite a lot of time, money and effort to  make sure the staff is well picked and well trained (either having a gifted endorsement and/or actively working towards a gifted endorsement).  In speaking with the teacher who would be her teacher next year (option one - semi self-contained program), and reading his background information, he was a gifted student, and graduated school with top honors, and is currently working towards getting his endorsement.  You could hear the passion and enthusiasm in his voice as he talked about the program, the materials that are covered, and the unique way the subject areas are interwoven.

 

Things to consider, can your DD even get in those schools? Many times they are compacted and lottery based even though she might qualify scoring wise. You're talking placement for THIS fall aren't you? That's tricky... in our area, all transfers have to go in by the end of March. Before you stress too much about which school, you'd better contact the schools directly and see if it's even an option that she go there. 

 

I was surprised while talking to the Director of Gifted Services that there are indeed a few spots in the semi self-contained program,- it is not lottery based, and even though it is long past the end of the open enrollment period, I think it's common for the district to keep taking out of district students until all spots are filled.  I'm not as sure about the other option, although one of my DD's GS leader has transferred two of her MS aged children there and heard they had been taking them at least through April.  The director stated more than once that there are a few options that would be available to her and in the context of the conversation, it seemed she was referring to the upcoming school year.

 

Would your DD enjoy spending half the day learning with a computer? My DD would hate it. She needs dialogue, discussion and debate... computer can't give her that. The idea of going to school on the computer is appalling to her. DS does all his math online through the school so he can work at his own level and enjoys it but I wouldn't want him taking much more online.

 

The semi self-contained portion is not on the computer.  My DD would not do well with that either.  Various technology is incorporated within the coursework.  Here is what their website says:

Program Objective

A project-based learning environment that embodies 21st century learning through ubiquitous technology, featuring literature integration within the content area.

The program, based on innovative instructional practices for authentic learning, incorporates and features:

  • Teaching that is student centered with the instructor acting as a resource and guide.
    Integration of core academic coursework & standards through thematic relationships and dichotomies
  • Inquiry and project-based learning for exploring themes
  • Extensive collaboration for student produced outcomes
  • A global perspective that cultivates 21st century learners

 

The gifted teacher in the semi self-contained program said two important qualities for a gifted student to have to succeed there is self-motivation and being willing to be collaborative with everyone, so there will be a lot of dialogue, discussion and debate, as well as collaboration on various projects.

 

So, find out what schools are you can actually do a last minute transfer into and find out more about them. If you've all been happy in your current district, it may be worth trying. If she's found a strong social group, that's not something to ignore. We've done the distance driving for specialty school and it's tough... your expectations go WAY up when you are stuck in traffic at 6 in the morning. 

 

I have an email into the director.  However, as it is summer break, the administrative offices are closed on Fridays.  I'm hoping to get more clarity on what is available for next year, and to get more information about the second option.  I'm kind of anxious to get this figured out, as school starts in a little over three weeks!  The offices at the schools open on Monday, so I should be able to call and get some basic information from them.  But it may turn out that we are out of luck, and she will have to go to the current MS as planned.

 

While we have been happy with the current district to a point, there have been issues academically.  Even though I had many conversations with DD's four teachers this past year, and despite their continual statements that they need to work more in-depth with her and come up with challenging work for her, it never happened.  I just don't know if we would be any more successful in getting this to happen at the MS.  With some work, I got her placed in Algebra next year, and I don't think that there will be more accommodation or acceleration in that area, even though she probably will  need it.  And in talking with DD's GS leader about her DS's experience at the current MS this past year, she was unhappy with the ability of the school and the teachers to give her son appropriately challenging work, even in Honors classes.  I just don't think there will be enough flexibility to meet her academic needs.  I think I'm going to  email the MS counselor to update her in a general way about her testing and her needs for further acceleration/accommodation and see where it goes.

 

A for DD's social group, unfortunately, not many of her current friends will be going to the same MS.  This seems to happen to the current district during the MS years.  Many go to a nearby charter school (not a good fit for DD), and some transfer in to the new district, the second school in particular.  The friends that are going to the current MS are not her closest ones, and given her acceleration in math and other scheduling differences, and given the fact that 5 ES feed into this MS (total number of students = around 800) she probably won't be in class with them anyways.  So any way you shake it, she'll need to make new friends next year either way.

 

Thank you for your thoughtful input.  It is helping me - taking the time to organize and process this, and to bounce it off others.


Becky, mom to two - DD ('00) and DS ('08)
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#5 of 12 Old 07-13-2012, 12:45 PM
 
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Sounds like your in a lower district academically anyway. In our area, algebra is an 8th grade standard. About 30-40 7th graders in our local middle school take algebra in 7th grade on a regular basis. My 11-year-old got half-way through it in 6th grade and he was not the only one (in our area, 6th grade is middle school.) Shakespeare wasn't part of the standard curriculum in 6th grade but in the honors class, both my kids studied it and most kids in that class (gifted or not) were able to keep up with it. In 8th grade they begin Shakespeare in the regular class.

 

I'm surprised that there are openings at both schools but perhaps you live in a different sort of area from myself. Anything "special" in our county has a wait list hundreds of names long except for some of the newer or less established charters. It doesn't seem you have a lot of faith in what the local school can offer for middle school, I can't tell you which to go with as I don't know the schools nor your child. I'd keep researching though. Thing is, if all the schools have openings then really, you can try whatever and probably still be able to move her if it's not working.


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#6 of 12 Old 07-13-2012, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

Sounds like your in a lower district academically anyway. In our area, algebra is an 8th grade standard. About 30-40 7th graders in our local middle school take algebra in 7th grade on a regular basis. My 11-year-old got half-way through it in 6th grade and he was not the only one (in our area, 6th grade is middle school.) Shakespeare wasn't part of the standard curriculum in 6th grade but in the honors class, both my kids studied it and most kids in that class (gifted or not) were able to keep up with it. In 8th grade they begin Shakespeare in the regular class.

 

I'm surprised that there are openings at both schools but perhaps you live in a different sort of area from myself. Anything "special" in our county has a wait list hundreds of names long except for some of the newer or less established charters. It doesn't seem you have a lot of faith in what the local school can offer for middle school, I can't tell you which to go with as I don't know the schools nor your child. I'd keep researching though. Thing is, if all the schools have openings then really, you can try whatever and probably still be able to move her if it's not working.

 

Yeah, we are in AZ; the educational standards are pretty low. And DD's current district is located in a pretty affluent/upper income area. 

 

The current district, up until a few years ago with the tanking economy and subsequent education budget cuts (and the AZ legislature is not at all reasonable with K-12 school funding), was pretty good,  Even with the small size of the district, and the downgrade in gifted and other services in the district, they still get A+ ratings and Excelling labels from the state.  It has consistently placed very high on the list of best school districts for the state as well. shrug.gif

 

I was surprised about the openings - not sure what is up with that!  I thought for sure we would contact them and they would say that there wasn't anything they could do for her this year (and it still could come to that).  It might have something to do with the requirements to place for the semi self-contained program (97% or higher in two areas: verbal, quantitative, or non-verbal or 97% or higher in one area, PLUS 90% or higher in the other two areas or  IQ of 135 or higher plus Meets or Exceeds on AIMS in Reading, Writing and Math in the previous year's testing), and the fact it isn't just a first come first served kind of program.

 

As rigorous as your school sounds, I want to live where you live!


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#7 of 12 Old 07-17-2012, 06:57 AM
 
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   I can't give my experience yet as the mother of a gifted child, but I can give you the experiences that DH and I had growing through school as gifted individuals. In addition to being gifted I also have ADD. It really depends on your child as an individual. Both of us attended public schools that had gifted programs, but the gifted programs were not very developed. I think for DH and I both middle school was a big turning point in our education. I had gotten all A's forever in elementary school, but I found most of the course work not to be worth my time starting in middle school. I think one thing was that I personally formed strong attachments to my teachers in elementary school and felt I didn't get enough attention once I had 6 different teachers. My 6th grade math teacher had been my 4th grade teacher, so she knew that I had learned everything she was currently teaching back in 4th grade. She usually let me just spend time on the computer while the other students in the "advanced" class tried to comprehend fractions. I yearned for a more advanced curriculum that wasn't there and got very frustrated. I also got very wrapped up in peer expectations (which hadn't mattered much to me before) and that made my school life suffer as well. I struggled a lot with my identity because I was teased for being so smart, even among the "advanced" and other gifted kids. DH was also not stimulated at all in middle school and had some emotional issues dealing with his dad leaving. As a result, he just stopped attending 7th grade. His mother is in the military and left for work before he went to school so it took her a while to find out. When she did, she put him in a local experimental prep school, which he hated. It was still a public school but it was supposed to be more creative and have a more open learning environment. He thought it was really stupid. Because of his continued dissatisfaction his mother pushed to have him skip 8th grade, so he went to high school when he was only 13. My mother had skipped grades as a child and she didn't think it was good for her developmentally, so my parents never considered this an option for me. I think in middle school is really when the ADD started to be a complicating factor because the coping mechanisms I had had as a younger child were no longer working. I also just did not have patience for the endless busywork- once I knew I had grasped a concept I didn't want to linger on it. This resulted in me getting D's but still having other children in class cheating off my test papers.

   In high school, I was in the IB program, which is a very good program. The main benefit in my opinion was being in classes with the smartest kids in the school. My teachers were very good; however, I don't think they were prepared to cope with a student who was both very gifted and who had ADD. I was too much of a time/energy sap for them. One of the objectives of IB is to be so hard and to have so much work that college seems like a breeze. In this it was very successful. However, I again had no patience with what I considered busywork. In addition, I found that because of the processing issues associated with ADD, menial tasks like writing chapter outlines took me much longer to complete than other students, even when my comprehension was better. This meant that often times I would have had to spend twice as long on homework as my peers. I found this to be unacceptable. The one good thing about high school was band. I think when children are very smart we sometimes forget how much they still need creative and physical outlets. It felt good to be working as part of a larger group. I continued to perform very poorly as far as grades throughout high school, but luckily I had some very good guidance counselors who put in for scholarships without my knowledge. 

   DH decided not to pursue IB in high school. Because of his past experiences with school he was frustrated to the point that he didn't feel like trying any more. He did the absolute least he had to to get by and developed nothing in the way of study habits. Embry Riddle Aeronautical University had a program at our high school and he took some classes through them which he really enjoyed. He decided to major in aeronautical engineering once he got to college. Unfortunately, the combination of the schooling he had received and his attitude had left him woefully unprepared for college.

   Even though I did poorly in high school, I found the personal direction and lack of busywork in college incredibly freeing. I got straight A's and graduated summa cum laude in history (with a small side-track into interior design). DH, however has struggled since becoming an upper classman. He found that he did not enjoy the engineering classes and was not motivated by them. He stayed in them on his mother's insistence. Since then he has transferred to math and still lacks the discipline and background to succeed. He is in his 7th year of undergraduate work and he may finally graduate this spring.

   Here is what I think is important about educating gifted students: balance. If we had had more challenging or appropriate coursework in middle school I think DH and I would both have succeeded more in middle school, high school, and in DH's case, college. But you have to balance that out with expectations. Throughout school I felt crushed by the weight of my intelligence. It was quickly recognized by teachers and became a huge part of my identity. One of the struggles that smart kids face is that of effort. If your identity is wrapped around being smart, you want to be able to succeed without trying. You expect yourself to understand things without working through them and sometimes without even having been introduced to them. This was crippling to both myself and DH. It is hard to develop good study habits when your self worth is tied up in not needing to study. And this happens to so many gifted kids. Sometimes they react the way that we did. They think, if I don't try to succeed, no one will ever know if I could have. This is seen as preferable to failure. My concern with all these advanced curricula and special schools is that they put too much pressure on children from too young an age. For a long time I fantasized about not even going to college because I felt that I had been trapped into that eventuality. Even though I like history a lot, I chose it as a major primarily because I am a good writer and knew I would succeed with little effort. This is a remnant of the atmosphere in which I was schooled. 

   The reality is that the most "successful" of my peers were not as smart as me. They learned to work hard at a young age, and that benefitted them throughout school. They don't expect to know things right away and their identity is centered on their efforts, not their perceived innate intelligence. I would advise you to encourage this in your children. Maybe don't even tell them what their IQ score is, because this can often just deepen this feeling for kids. They will continue to do only those things which come very easily to them because they cannot accept failure.

   Because of our experiences with school, and with the expectation that our children will be gifted, DH and I have decided to homeschool. I personally believe that gifted kids can greatly benefit from that level of attention and also the freedom to pursue their own interests. I believe that gifted children are prime candidates for homeschooling because they do have such a drive to learn and have so many interests. Even when I said I didn't want to go to college my parents weren't worried because they knew my thirst for knowledge would require it. I think the main difference between my success and DH's is our parents. My parents trusted me and knew I would flourish in college. They were also fine with whatever I wanted to study. DH's mom wanted to own every part of his education. There were only a few acceptable courses of study. I believe that gifted students sorely need the freedom to direct most of their learning and that this is the key to their continued love of learning no matter which institution they attend.

   Sorry this post was so long, I just thought you might want the perspective of someone who had been through the system as a gifted student. Especially because your child is just now leaving elementary school, you should know that everything is going to change. Peer influence is going to matter more, and the whole hormone thing also throws everything off. Academics might not be as big a part of your child's identity for a while. The most important thing is to trust that their love of learning will out and know that pushing them too much can backfire because it actually represses the love of learning. And the love of it is really what learning is all about, not the grades.


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#8 of 12 Old 07-17-2012, 08:35 PM
 
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Similarly to whatsnextmom, we've made public schooling work for both of our HG+ kids but it has required some out of the box approaches.  Both of ours are young for grade due to bds and we started dd11 a little early (she missed the cut in her current district by two weeks, but we got around it by starting her elsewhere).  My dd13 also skipped a grade and both are subject accelerating.  We've never had an option for a HG contained program, so I can't know for sure how that would have worked, but what I'd want to know before making that type of commute commitment would be:

 

1) What is the minimum score for admission and what types of tests do they take?  (Assume that most of the kids will be very close to the minimum entrance requirements, so if your dd is significantly beyond the minimum #s, it might not be a true academic fit for her.  Also, if they are taking kids based on group tests like the CogAT, NNAT, OLSAT, etc. rather than IQ scores, again I wouldn't be certain if the other kids will be quite the same as your dd in terms of wiring and intelligence.)

 

2) Can they provide you with the names/contact info for other parents of kids with similar IQ and achievement profiles who would be willing to discuss their experiences?

 

If you decide to stick with something closer to home, is there any possibility of a grade skip next year or at least subject acceleration?

 

eta: Sorry, I see that you posted the admission reqs for the magnet.  I'd still not be sure that it is HG in the way your child is.  The difference btwn 135 and 150ish is pretty big.  Even though they are also looking for advanced in a lot of other areas, if your child is well above those cuts as well, she is likely to stand out a bit in that environment none the less.  How well do they differentiate within the program itself?

 

FWIW, where we live, Algebra I is the typical math course for 8th grade as well and there are a good chunk of kids who take it in 7th too.  Where we've had a harder time getting adequate differentiation is language arts.  There is no option for subject acceleration there, which is a big bummer.

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#9 of 12 Old 07-18-2012, 06:52 AM
 
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First things first, if you think that Davidson consultants could be of use or support, apply.  The scores are easy qualifiers.  I've stalled on doing the paperwork despite both mine qualifying because we've been getting what we need using a paid advocate that has a good relationship with the schools.  We've so far made public school work, but each year we look at the private schools in the area.  It's been year-by-year, and at the moment we're doing well because the administration gets it.  We've had more bumps than smooth times, though, requiring well-chosen teachers each year.  We might jump ship yet, but we seem set for next year.

 

For practicality sake, you could also talk to the gifted school about access to the student directory for a carpool.  I transferred to a school a ways from home for high school, and the carpool made it work.  4 kids in the car meant that no parent drove more than once every 2 days.  You will also need to talk to them about how they differentiate within the HG/PG grades.  Your DD's scores are enough above the minimum qualification that she will likely be an outlier there as well, statistically above the 85 percentile amongst that already rare population.  Some schools see kids at these schools as "they're all gifted, so what works for the rest of the kids will work for this one."  Others, however, view is as "once you've met one gifted kid, you've met one gifted kid" and really believe at their heart that each kid will require individualization.
 

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#10 of 12 Old 07-18-2012, 07:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post

First things first, if you think that Davidson consultants could be of use or support, apply.  The scores are easy qualifiers.  I've stalled on doing the paperwork despite both mine qualifying because we've been getting what we need using a paid advocate that has a good relationship with the schools.  We've so far made public school work, but each year we look at the private schools in the area.  It's been year-by-year, and at the moment we're doing well because the administration gets it.  We've had more bumps than smooth times, though, requiring well-chosen teachers each year.  We might jump ship yet, but we seem set for next year.

 

For practicality sake, you could also talk to the gifted school about access to the student directory for a carpool.  I transferred to a school a ways from home for high school, and the carpool made it work.  4 kids in the car meant that no parent drove more than once every 2 days.  You will also need to talk to them about how they differentiate within the HG/PG grades.  Your DD's scores are enough above the minimum qualification that she will likely be an outlier there as well, statistically above the 85 percentile amongst that already rare population.  Some schools see kids at these schools as "they're all gifted, so what works for the rest of the kids will work for this one."  Others, however, view is as "once you've met one gifted kid, you've met one gifted kid" and really believe at their heart that each kid will require individualization.
 

 

Yes, those scores qualify for Davidson.  My son is a DYS, but it's not the great solution to his schooling issues I hoped it would be.  You'll still need to advocate year to year, although the family consultants can provide you with a lot of documentation and ideas to make your case to administrators.  I think if we decide to home school, DYS will be a great resource, especially the other families who have BTDT.

 

Our son was approved to a skip to a gifted MS, but the principal had the attitude from above-- "they're all gifted, so what we have will work for this kid."  It wasn't going to work, because my son was already in class (a non-official skip in elementary school) with the older kids and was in the top of that class in elementary school. (So he was a 4th grader in the 5th grade class.) So he could have skipped and stayed with those 5th graders as they moved to the HG 6th grade, but my son needed additional acceleration and the principal said that wasn't possible-- they didn't want kids working at different levels within a grade. 

 

My advice is to stay at your current school and work with the teachers who seem like they're willing to accommodate. That's what we're doing, and we're crossing our fingers for a good year next year.  I'm hopeful, but realize I'm going to have to keep on top of his schooling all the time.

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   I can't give my experience yet as the mother of a gifted child, but I can give you the experiences that DH and I had growing through school as gifted individuals. In addition to being gifted I also have ADD. It really depends on your child as an individual. Both of us attended public schools that had gifted programs, but the gifted programs were not very developed. I think for DH and I both middle school was a big turning point in our education.

<snip>

   Sorry this post was so long, I just thought you might want the perspective of someone who had been through the system as a gifted student. Especially because your child is just now leaving elementary school, you should know that everything is going to change. Peer influence is going to matter more, and the whole hormone thing also throws everything off. Academics might not be as big a part of your child's identity for a while. The most important thing is to trust that their love of learning will out and know that pushing them too much can backfire because it actually represses the love of learning. And the love of it is really what learning is all about, not the grades.

 

I appreciate you taking the time to respond.  I think the differing experiences you and your DH had are interesting ends to how parents deal with their gifted kids.  I have tried hard to be the parent who CAN see the forest for the trees IYKWIM.  I think we have worked hard to not only focus on her academic/intellectual abilities, but working with her to be a well rounded person.  In many respects we have been successful.  But as you stated that MS was a big turning point for you, I feel that it will be for her, so I have to do my best to get it right.

 

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Originally Posted by ChristaN View Post

Similarly to whatsnextmom, we've made public schooling work for both of our HG+ kids but it has required some out of the box approaches.  Both of ours are young for grade due to bds and we started dd11 a little early (she missed the cut in her current district by two weeks, but we got around it by starting her elsewhere).  My dd13 also skipped a grade and both are subject accelerating.  We've never had an option for a HG contained program, so I can't know for sure how that would have worked, but what I'd want to know before making that type of commute commitment would be:

 

1) What is the minimum score for admission and what types of tests do they take?  (Assume that most of the kids will be very close to the minimum entrance requirements, so if your dd is significantly beyond the minimum #s, it might not be a true academic fit for her.  Also, if they are taking kids based on group tests like the CogAT, NNAT, OLSAT, etc. rather than IQ scores, again I wouldn't be certain if the other kids will be quite the same as your dd in terms of wiring and intelligence.)

 

2) Can they provide you with the names/contact info for other parents of kids with similar IQ and achievement profiles who would be willing to discuss their experiences?

 

If you decide to stick with something closer to home, is there any possibility of a grade skip next year or at least subject acceleration?

 

eta: Sorry, I see that you posted the admission reqs for the magnet.  I'd still not be sure that it is HG in the way your child is.  The difference btwn 135 and 150ish is pretty big.  Even though they are also looking for advanced in a lot of other areas, if your child is well above those cuts as well, she is likely to stand out a bit in that environment none the less.  How well do they differentiate within the program itself?

 

FWIW, where we live, Algebra I is the typical math course for 8th grade as well and there are a good chunk of kids who take it in 7th too.  Where we've had a harder time getting adequate differentiation is language arts.  There is no option for subject acceleration there, which is a big bummer.

 

 

#2) above is something that I hadn't thought about, but would be great to know.

 

As for a grade skip, I am unsure what the current MS and district's official policy is.  While academically it probably would help, DD has stated a concern about being with older kids (other than for math as she is scheduled to be).

 

As for the semi self-contained program, I am unsure how they differentiate within the program.  That is a great question that I will need to ask about as well.

 

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Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post

First things first, if you think that Davidson consultants could be of use or support, apply.  The scores are easy qualifiers.  I've stalled on doing the paperwork despite both mine qualifying because we've been getting what we need using a paid advocate that has a good relationship with the schools.  We've so far made public school work, but each year we look at the private schools in the area.  It's been year-by-year, and at the moment we're doing well because the administration gets it.  We've had more bumps than smooth times, though, requiring well-chosen teachers each year.  We might jump ship yet, but we seem set for next year.

 

I am not really familiar with Davidson - I looked at the website a bit this morning, but didn't get a good feel for what specifically they can do for me.  We have contact information for an education advocate, but haven't called her yet since I'm not exactly sure what we would need from her at this point (I don't need info from her about where my daughter could go, but I could see a need to work with her to get various accomodations from her current school, for example).

 

If you care to share, I wonder what has made you hesitate to apply, and use an education advocate instead?

 

For practicality sake, you could also talk to the gifted school about access to the student directory for a carpool.  I transferred to a school a ways from home for high school, and the carpool made it work.  4 kids in the car meant that no parent drove more than once every 2 days.  You will also need to talk to them about how they differentiate within the HG/PG grades.  Your DD's scores are enough above the minimum qualification that she will likely be an outlier there as well, statistically above the 85 percentile amongst that already rare population.  Some schools see kids at these schools as "they're all gifted, so what works for the rest of the kids will work for this one."  Others, however, view is as "once you've met one gifted kid, you've met one gifted kid" and really believe at their heart that each kid will require individualization.
 

Yes, I would hopefully be able to be a part of a carpool; that would cut down on some driving.  I don't have a clear idea how it would work;  I will have to drive about 1/2 way towards that school anyway to take my DS to preschool (starts over an hour later than the MS).

 

My sense of the new district and the Director of Gifted Services is that they understand that each kid requires individualization.  As I stated above, I need to understand how they differentiate for her.  My hope is that she will "stick out" less (and she hopes for this too).  I don't know how the principal/teachers outside the DLC views gifted kids however.  More questions that I need to ask.

 

But as for her current MS, I really don't have a handle on how HG/PG students are viewed.  My sense of that principal is that he's not all that informed, but I think that the counselor has a clue.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaimom View Post

 

Yes, those scores qualify for Davidson.  My son is a DYS, but it's not the great solution to his schooling issues I hoped it would be.  You'll still need to advocate year to year, although the family consultants can provide you with a lot of documentation and ideas to make your case to administrators.  I think if we decide to home school, DYS will be a great resource, especially the other families who have BTDT.

 

Thanks for sharing this.  I would be very interested to learn more about your (and anyone else's) real life experience applying/working with Davidson.

 

Our son was approved to a skip to a gifted MS, but the principal had the attitude from above-- "they're all gifted, so what we have will work for this kid."  It wasn't going to work, because my son was already in class (a non-official skip in elementary school) with the older kids and was in the top of that class in elementary school. (So he was a 4th grader in the 5th grade class.) So he could have skipped and stayed with those 5th graders as they moved to the HG 6th grade, but my son needed additional acceleration and the principal said that wasn't possible-- they didn't want kids working at different levels within a grade. 

 

My advice is to stay at your current school and work with the teachers who seem like they're willing to accommodate. That's what we're doing, and we're crossing our fingers for a good year next year.  I'm hopeful, but realize I'm going to have to keep on top of his schooling all the time.

 

This is an avenue that I need to explore further, if nothing else, to give me peace of mind in knowing either that I could successfully work with the current MS/district, or confirm that I need to get her in somewhere else.  I guess I don't see how the acceleration/accommodation works even with a very supportive MS staff.  If you don't mind sharing, how is your DS being accommodated?  What did that process look like for you?

 

Thanks again all for your thoughtful replies.  I have a few more things to research, and a few more phone calls to make......

 

I would still love to hear others opinions/points of view/experiences!


Becky, mom to two - DD ('00) and DS ('08)
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#12 of 12 Old 07-25-2012, 07:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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An update!

 

Since it’s getting VERY close to school starting, my DH and I contacted Option 2 in the new school district – the STEM focused school, located not too far from the (formerly) current MS.  In talking with the Registrar for the school, we found out that they had a spot or two left at the school.  So we had her hold a spot for us, and went the next day for a tour.

 

As if it was a positive sign to move DD to the new MS, that evening we received an email from the (formerly) current MS, which, in its craftily designed wording, said the following:  “Changes for Language Arts Honors program - Language Arts Honors will be included in the general Language Arts class.  Curriculum will be differentiated for those students who desire to be in the Honors program.”, essentially stating that they no longer had a separate Honors Language Arts class.   This, along with acceleration to HS level Algebra, were the only accommodations that had been, and maybe could be made to make this middle school more challenging for my DD.

 

So the next day we went to take a tour of the new MS.  We met with the principal (formerly a gifted science teacher, principal at this school for 9 years, and only the second one the school has had), who told us the story of how she set out with the district to create a STEM MS a few years ago, since there was a need for it.  It’s been quite popular, and they purposely keep a lot of slots open at the school just for out of district students.  In fact, when the (formerly) current school district closed one of their MS two years ago, the new MS gained between 100-200 of their students – that’s a stunning number, considering the (formerly) current district is only has around 6000 K-12 (about 1/5th to 1/4th of their MS population at the time - and they’ve only lost more students to this school and other ones as well), with the furthering budget cuts and reduction in programs.  About 50 percent of the new MS school is made up of out of district students, and about 40 percent of the student body has been designated as gifted.

 

My DD was so excited about what she was hearing about the new MS, she was grinning ear to ear, and would have started school that day if she could.  And I have to say, my DH and I were pretty impressed with their school – the STEM classes/courses are coordinated, and when the students learn concepts in one class, they learn how those concepts are directly applicable to the concepts that are being presented/taught in other classes.  The social studies and science classes are heterogeneous (they don’t offer separate Honors classes for these), but there is a Project Based Learning Honors English Lab curriculum, There is also a lot more offered than the usual STEM courses and electives (such as Project Lead the Way Engineering, learning CAD design and robotics design concepts; TechYes Science; placement math using IPADs, etc) – the school also has digital media/video and radio broadcasting electives, and even has its own radio station.  They also offer Art, Band, Chorus, Dance, Drama, and Spanish.  So there is quite a range of options for a well-rounded education! 

 

All in all, we are pretty optimistic that this is the best option for her, given her interest in the STEM fields. Given this, as the way that I have been referring to the two schools, as you might have guessed, we signed her up on the spot!  I know that given her IQ scores, and her academic achievements, she still might stand out, but I’m hopeful she’ll find some kindred spirits there!  (BTW, we did conclude our conversation with the Director of Gifted Services, and she was pleased to hear that we placed her at this school.)

 

So now that the school decision is made, now I need to figure out how to have the conversation(s) about DD (her interests, abilities and achievements, etc.) with her teachers and how to make sure she is/stays challenged.  The STEM teachers are certified in gifted education, and there is a gifted liaison (the 8th grade Honors English teacher).  How do I approach the topic in general, as well as any specific questions/issues/concerns that I may have or run into?   How have you dealt with this issue?  Should I start by having this conversation with the gifted liaison, or with each teacher separately?

 

One reason that I ask this question is because I had a rather awkward/stilted conversation with one of the Algebra teachers (wouldn’t be DDs teacher) who just happened to be at the school while we were there figuring out her schedule.  I wanted to understand what happens to students who can rapidly move through the material/concepts (in this case math).  While I was describing DD and her academic math history, I had the feeling he thought I was full of it, and while being respectful, acted doubtful that she could rapidly get through Algebra, believing that students her age (even with ability) might not be mature and cognitively developed enough (and who knows, that could be right).  I also wondered if there could have been some gender bias going on, meaning that maybe he holds the view that a lot girls don’t “do well” in math, starting at her age especially. I don’t know for sure; I don’t have anything concrete to base this on, but it was a feeling that I had.  Anyway, I *think* I got the answer that she can move to higher level math classes, but I *think* he told me that a change has to happen by the end of the first quarter.

 

Who knows, maybe all the new and interesting stuff that she will be doing next year will be enough for her, and the pace of Algebra won’t be a problem.  And if it is, hopefully she can test into higher level math (or as the Registrar told me, she can take additional math online through the district).

 

 

Any wisdom, comments or questions would be welcomed!  I so need help on how to talk effectively with her teachers; I'm feeling a little out of my element......


Becky, mom to two - DD ('00) and DS ('08)
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