Just identified HG 3rd grader: tips on working with her school - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 02-01-2013, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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After an escalation in my daughter's unhappiness with academics at school, we just got her assessed by a psychologist who specializes in gifted kids, using the WISC-IV. We knew she was bright, and possibly gifted, but somewhat to our surprise, she tested in the highly gifted range, and her verbal scores were in the exceptional range. We are waiting for the full written report, but basically, the psychologist told us that our daughter's needs are unlikely to be met with a typical curriculum. Up to this point, we were hoping that reasonable differentiation (which she has been receiving) would be sufficient, but obviously, the test scores combined with her increasing misery are showing us this isn't the case. The psychologist also encouraged us to see about getting her into a gifted middle school program in a nearby district in a couple of years, but for many reasons, we would prefer to keep her in her current elementary school until that time, and try to make it work.

 

In the past, we have gently pushed for appropriate level reading materials and math challenges. Her teacher this year has done the best at this so far, but it's clearly not enough. What do you think we can reasonably ask a "typical" school, without a G/T program, to offer our daughter? I'm not even sure what exactly to ask for. 

 

By the way, she's very well-behaved, stays on task, and has great social skills. Unfortunately, I think this makes it easy for teachers to overlook her needs.

 

I deeply appreciate any help from those who have been there...

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#2 of 10 Old 02-01-2013, 06:41 PM
 
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I responded to your other post... my DS was similar to your daughter at school (compliant and has always had above average social skills and acted quite mature for his age). He tested in the highly gifted range in K but managed to hide his true abilities throughout most of his early school years. Most teachers never even got a glimpse at his real abilities...

 

The unhappiness hit all time high in 6th grade, so we pulled the plug. There are not TAG programs in our area, so we decided to homeschool him instead. It was been great--he can go at his own pace, choose activities that are intellectually engaging, and take college classes at the local state university where he can be with intellectual peers. In retrospect, I should have pulled him out earlier...

 

Best of luck!

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#3 of 10 Old 02-02-2013, 10:53 AM
 
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You need to discuss with the tester what accommodations would be appropriate for your daughter. I would ask the tester to include in the report educational recommendations if the report doesn't alread contain them.

If the report includes personal details you don't want to disclose, you can also ask the tester to prepare an edited version for the school. Otherwise, I'd disclose the report to the school and open a discussion with the teacher and principal about how to appropriately serve your child. You can start with the positives-- the teacher has been differentiating a lot this year, and this has had a positive effect. However, you are seeing social and emotional consequences arising the from mismatch between her abilities and the classroom expectations. I've had great success going into conversations like this when I take the general attitude of acknowledging that the teacher is strained by the constant differentiation demands my kids place on the teacher. I then cast it as a request for support to ensure my kid's needs are more easily met.

My kids have a combination of interventions (both DYS level, but as we now have a positive school relationship and the social connections they need, I've not seen the need for bothering with the application). Ds has a grade skip, 1 on 1 gifted services (since no other 2nd grader tested in) giving him personalized math curriculum, and a building plan to lead to a radical acceleration in math so that he finishes at least algebra by 5th grade. DD has a 2 year math acceleration and a 1 year science acceleration, because of scheduling differences between the middle school and elementary school she travels between, she also has 3 hours a week of independent time (one hour in conjuction with her teacher's prep time) in which she works on individual goals, including typing and research. She also has gifted intervention with 8 other students 2 hours a week which has been central to her social development. We have turned down a request from the middle school principal to skip for next year, but we'll consider it again next year.
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#4 of 10 Old 02-04-2013, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks. This is very helpful. We are thinking of just this approach. I would ideally like to come up with an IEP type of plan for her remaining elementary years, combining some different strategies as you outlined above.
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#5 of 10 Old 04-11-2013, 02:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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UPDATE... We had a meeting a few weeks ago with the entire third grade staff (they team teach) plus the math specialist, vice principal, and district GT resource person. It was a mixed bag. On the one hand, one of the teachers found the meeting very helpful, and is taking the district specialist up on her offer to do an independent study in science with my daughter for the last 2.5 months of the year. On the other hand, her primary classroom teacher mostly wanted to make it about our daughter's motivation and effort. The district person tried to point out that students with our daughter's profile frequently exhibit disinterested behavior in class and lack of effort on assignments, but I don't think he was convinced. The district is recommending a grade skip, but I'm not sure that will help much, since she is already at least at a fifth grade level, and the thought of sending a 10 year old to middle school in a couple of years doesn't make me wildly happy.

On another positive note, she has applied to a classroom-based program in a neighboring school district just for highly gifted kids. We feel like it would be a great fit...we will find out in a month if she gets in, so fingers crossed.

I keep reminding myself (and my daughter) that her intellectual ability is not the problem here. The problem is the lack of value that we as a culture in the US place on nurturing intellectual ability and our reluctance to support this subset of students. I really wonder if we would be having this issue in a different country....but that's a subject for a different thread.
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#6 of 10 Old 04-11-2013, 04:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diane B View Post

The problem is the lack of value that we as a culture in the US place on nurturing intellectual ability and our reluctance to support this subset of students. I really wonder if we would be having this issue in a different country....but that's a subject for a different thread.

 

That's an interesting observation and forgive me for commenting within this thread. I'm in Canada, and have family in the UK and good friends in Norway and South Africa, all of whom have gifted kids. It seems to me that families in the US have access to considerably more gifted identification and programming than we do. My district has no gifted programming at all and that's the norm in my province. I would have to drive 8 hours, to the largest district in my province, to find a congregated gifted class or any pull-out programming. Nearest gifted services of any sort are in a district 4 hours away and that's a consultant who works only with teachers, not students, on in-class differentiation strategies. Also for comparison: my gifted nephew in England had to repeat his final year of primary school (in a regular classroom, as always) because he had been grade-skipped at age 5 in an effort to accommodate his needs but due to government rules was not able to move to middle school before age 10 or whatever the usual age is. 

 

From my perspective it seems like there's a huge variation in what's available in the US from district to district, but in general Americans seem to put a lot of emphasis on providing and accessing gifted services.

 

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#7 of 10 Old 04-13-2013, 11:21 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Diane B View Post


On another positive note, she has applied to a classroom-based program in a neighboring school district just for highly gifted kids. We feel like it would be a great fit...we will find out in a month if she gets in, so fingers crossed.

Fingers crossed. Of course for the education, but also because it would be great for her having peers that she can socialize with, on her level.  

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

From my perspective it seems like there's a huge variation in what's available in the US from district to district, but in general Americans seem to put a lot of emphasis on providing and accessing gifted services.

 

Miranda

This. I am in Denmark and there are NO services for gifted. No grade skipping. No pull out classes. No enrichment, NOTHING. In fact the subject can often not even be brought up, because everyone here is equal. No one is gifted. No differentiation. Not saying I agree with the culture, just saying that to even broach the subject publicly can lead to animosity, aggressive comments, even mockery, and most often denial. When it was found out my 6yo DD could read well, it was almost a complaint, why had I taught her to read? I had not, she taught herself. What was I supposed to do, lock away all the books in the house, and if I caught her reading whack her over the head with a book and tell her how bad she is, because she is not allowed to read until she was 7. It's looney. I am so in the closet. There are two private schools for gifted children, that is for the entire country. 

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#8 of 10 Old 04-13-2013, 01:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AllisonR View Post

This. I am in Denmark and there are NO services for gifted. No grade skipping. No pull out classes. No enrichment, NOTHING. In fact the subject can often not even be brought up, because everyone here is equal. No one is gifted. No differentiation. Not saying I agree with the culture, just saying that to even broach the subject publicly can lead to animosity, aggressive comments, even mockery, and most often denial. When it was found out my 6yo DD could read well, it was almost a complaint, why had I taught her to read? I had not, she taught herself. What was I supposed to do, lock away all the books in the house, and if I caught her reading whack her over the head with a book and tell her how bad she is, because she is not allowed to read until she was 7. It's looney. I am so in the closet. There are two private schools for gifted children, that is for the entire country. 

 

This. I live in a different European country, and things are certainly not as bad as Denmark, because high achievement is still valued - but never, ever refer to it as due to giftedness - after all, the concept might mean that there are differences not amenable to change by either excellent parenting or public policy (depending on your personal politics).

Regarding giftedness "animosity, aggressive comments, even mockery, and most often denial" in the public discourse is the norm. No standardized testing, no gifted identification, unless your child has already checked out and is acting up (which leads to massive overidentification of boys). There is no gifted provision in elementary school at all. Only lip service to differentiation. A grade skip is the best you can hope for, because it gets you one year closer to middle school and the beginning of tracking. Years and decades ago, by middle and high school gifted children were supposed to be served by tracking, and when college prep track served only about 20 % of the age cohort, this even sort of worked. Now that college prep track has been expanded to serve about 50%, it doesn't any more, so they have started "gifted" programs. There is one gifted classroom in the whole metropolitan area which actually requires gifted ID, and it is constantly under threat of closure. My DH is supposed to be the gifted coordinator for his school (after-school enrichment classes, open to all students from the distrivt) and he tried to advocate for some sort of ID as opposed to offering th classes to anyone who was interested and could obtain the consent of their school's principal. No way, they wanted it watered down.

Now tracking as such is under threat. I see the issues with tracking as it currently works, but if the only differentiation for fast learners in an inclusive classroom available is supposed to be tutoring the slow learners to gain a "deeper understanding" of the material

 

sorry, no idea why I never finished that sentence - probably because one or several kids yelling -

 

the way educators, pundits and politicians propagate, I'd rather want high achievement tracking back with all the attendant problems.


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#9 of 10 Old 04-14-2013, 01:19 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Tigerle View Post

My DH is supposed to be the gifted coordinator for his school (after-school enrichment classes, open to all students from the distrivt) and he tried to advocate for some sort of ID as opposed to offering th classes to anyone who was interested and could obtain the consent of their school's principal. No way, they wanted it watered down.

Now tracking as such is under threat. I see the issues with tracking as it currently works, but if the only differentiation for fast learners in an inclusive classroom available is supposed to be tutoring the slow learners to gain a "deeper understanding" of the material

My DH is in denial - I tried to bring up the subject over breakfast with the report I found on EU countries, and he shut down. He would only say that a school change would be good for DD, but he will not say such an immoral, dirty word like "gifted." Really, jantelovn is shoved into their heads from birth, I can't hope for better. I feel like I have to be in the closet even at home.

 

Of course the district wanted your DHs enrichment open to everybody. Does not surprise me at all. We have the same here, resources for anyone below par to catch up (as there should be, I am not saying anything against this), but for those ahead, "you are not really ahead, you are a problem, so sit down, shut up, and SLOW DOWN - keep with the current material and don't think about doing anything else."

 

OP - sorry, I think I hijacked your thread. I will stop now, this is a european issue, and as you are in the states we should discuss this elsewhere. I hope your DD gets into the gifted school in the next district. Let us know. 

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#10 of 10 Old 04-14-2013, 06:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That's okl I appreciate the international perspective. When I wrote that, however, I guess I was thinking more of countries like Japan or Korea. (Not to say their educational systems are perfect either...) at any rate, I'll be grateful for what we have and know it could actually be much more difficult elsewhere!
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