what??? School-related questions. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 07-17-2012, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
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So, DD is slated to start K this fall. Because of her advanced academic skills, I have met with the principal, and wrote an official letter asking for her to be tested.  The principal was nice, and receptive, and told me that she would consider all options.  The testing people wrote back that DD will be tested in the fall.  (As a PS teacher myself, I know that this is illegal in this state.  However, I'm letting it go...for now.)


DD was called in last month to casually take the 1st grade assessment.  She clearly was able to do everything on the intake test, and was impressively advanced in some areas.  I felt that this was a reasonable alternative to the official testing that I had asked for.  They told me that I would be hearing from them.


But...the school has not gotten back to me about their decision.  I'm calling tomorrow.  Any advice about what I should say?  I"m feeling nervous.  redface.gif  I'm not asking for anything in particular, other than for them to have a plan.  DD does not need any of the reading or math instruction that is typically offered in K or 1st grade.  She needs something differentiated.  And I need for them to be strategic about it.

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#2 of 5 Old 07-17-2012, 08:05 PM
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Sorry, I don't have any experience, as my kids haven't interfaced with the school system until high school and pretty much advocated for themselves. I would think you should just ask to discuss the results of the testing she recently had, stating that you were told you would hear back but haven't heard anything, so you're following up.


I'm curious why it's illegal for them to test her in the fall. Are you saying that's too late? Wouldn't the requirement to assess a child based on a parent's request only apply to students within the school system ... which she isn't until she actually starts school. I mean, they're not actually getting any funding for her until she begins attending. Where I live public school systems are only responsible for the students they're funded for, and funding doesn't start until school starts.



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#3 of 5 Old 07-17-2012, 08:11 PM
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Our son just completed kindergarten and will be entering second grade in the fall. He spent last year in a first grade classroom for two hours every day for language arts. We knew he needed more, but we decided not to push initially, and the school ended up recommending the skip to us, which gave them a lot of ownership of the decision.

Our son entered kindergarten reading at a 3rd to 4th grade level, and doing math at the same level as a 8-10year old. One skip is still leaving him mismatched academically, but for a variety of reasons, we are happy with it.

I personally would not recommend skipping kindergarten entirely. I think there is a big adjustment for most kids when they enter kindergarten, even if they have done multiple years of preschool and daycare first.

Hopefully, the school will offer you some sort of differentiation.
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#4 of 5 Old 07-18-2012, 07:08 AM
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We put our dd in K, even though it was an option to do early-entrance to 1st.  I also think K is a good transition year and a time to meet lots of friends. But my dd actually wished she was in 1st and would tell everyone that.  By the end of the year, she was saying she just wanted to go into 2nd grade.  So... if you think your son is ready for it, I would encourage you to talk to the school about early entrance to 1st.  Even though it's not what we did, there is a lot of evidence that skipping K is a great option for kids with high IQs.  


As far as talking to the principal, if I were you, I would be clear about what you want.  Just asking the principal what the plan is, probably won't be good enough.  For principals "the plan" would be for a 5-year-old to go to K, even when they've done testing that shows there might be a fit.  If you want a skip, you should discuss that.  


I've found that the more clear I can be, the better the results, when I've advocated for my kids.  That doesn't mean I always get what I want for them, but at least we have a direct conversation.  I'm also open to discussing options, of course.  In your case I might say, "In light of her testing results, I'm wondering if a skip is appropriate.  What are your thoughts about that?"  That was our approach last spring for my PG son in 4th grade.  Within 2 weeks, he was approved for a skip, but the school also had a plan in place for accommodating him if he didn't skip to middle school (he's not skipping).  The school knew he needed something different, but until we met with them and raised the issues, they actually weren't in any hurry to change what they were doing.  I understand it-- it's just so much easier to have everyone do the same thing.  So until we brought the problems up (and there were many), they didn't see a reason to change.  But I do think everyone wants to do what's best in that situation, so I would assume your child's principal will try to find the right solution.

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#5 of 5 Old 07-18-2012, 11:26 AM
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As a family that went straight from PreK to 1st, I think it can be one of many good options.


Due to a variety of different reasons, my DDs went from PreK to 1st. It was a great choice for our situation. No, it was not perfect and we did and still do have some concerns. But it worked out well overall. DDs were age 5y10 months when 1st grade started and they both were given work in writing, spelling, and some supplemental math at thier level. Reading was given at the highest level offered, but little individualized/small group instruction was given since they would not *test* past 2nd grade officially so there was no record of exactly how far ahead they are/were (they were in a group with two other strong readers). Some math/science was easy, but due to their young for grade-age and they both had special needs it was a nice balance between meeting academic and social development at that time. Both DDs learned a lot and their writing ability grew tremendously!! They made friends and developed some great emotional/social skills as well. 


The schools did a very very basic screener to see if K or 1st would be a better fit since we moved from out of state: they sailed through the screener. The tester did not go past 1st grade mid-year material. It was a simple reading outloud (running record) activity, write a simple story, solve basic addition/subtraction facts and do a few mental math activities. It took 15 minutes max.


As for being legal, depends on the state. Some states have a 30 day timeline- but some go by calendar days and other go by SCHOOL days and/or have an exemption for holidays that are more than 3-5 days long (which would be summer break). It can vary by state under the IDEA (individual with Disabilities Act) as far as I know. This may have been updated by recent legislation, but  this is what I went by when we moved states awhile ago and wanted info on the referral process.


Here is a link to a map  that shows by state if your location even has to offer G &T services (my current state does not!!)


Also remember that in the summer it is hard to round up the people that may be needed to make a choice to be honest. Summer time always takes longer since there are many offices closed, staff gone, etc.


I know a lot of people say do K and skip 1st, but in our situation it was much better to skip K and go to 1st. K would not have been a good fit at all due to their age (they would have been old for grade), the academics presented in K, the girls skills, and the K program itself.(it was 1/2 vs a full day for 1st).


If your area has G &T for K see what is available as well! It sounds like your principal is receptive and that is a GREAT thing! Good luck and hope your DD has a great school year (which ever grade you choose for her).


As for ?s: I would ask


"What do you do for academic differentiation in K (and 1st) in math./reading/writing? What alternative activities do you have for kids that have mastered letters/sounds? Do you have math enrichment/small group learning?  Does your school offer mid-year skips? Do you have multi-age classrooms (we looked for a K/1 split in our area, not available)? Can student travel to a different grade levels for instruction in core subjects?"

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