Possibly gifted in school with no gifted resources - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 06-16-2008, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know for certain whether or not my dd is gifted. I believe she is incredibly bright and well ahead of the curve. Her K teacher and her 1st and 2nd grade teachers have all said that they believe she is gifted and that I should put her in a gifted school. However, the gifted schools in our city really turn me off for a variety of reasons.

Right now we find ourselves rather frustrated. DD just finished 2nd grade. DD's teacher made a strong recommendation that dd skip 3rd grade in to 4th. She is reading at a 6th-7th grade level and doing math at a 4th-5th grade level. She consistently test in the 99th percentile in both subjects. She also has a pronounced interest in biology and is a talented artist.

She is definitely one of those kids that gets really turned off and tuned out when she is bored (and gets a huge attitude). That is one of her teacher's concerns for her in staying in 3rd grade next year. He is an exceptional teacher and works hard with all of his students to individualize their work as much as possible. He worked very hard with dd all year to keep her challenged and stimulated. He was the first teacher that ever did that and lo and behold, this was the first year dd really enjoyed school. The bits I've heard about the 3rd grade teacher lead me to believe this will not be the case with her.

Well, thanks to NCLB, my city school board will not allow ANY child to skip 3rd grade, as it is a testing year. In their words, "It would mean taking the brainiest kids out of a test year that determines funding."

So, who cares about what's in dd's best interest; she's got to stick where she is so she can perform well on a test. The school also has no gifted programs or resources.

We are hoping to be able to home school after this coming school year, but that's over a year away.

I guess this is just a vent. I'm worried dd is going to be bored and frustrated all this coming school year.
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#2 of 10 Old 06-16-2008, 09:10 PM
 
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Have you talked to the board about this particular case, or did they say that in general? I ask because I assumed things about our school based on things I'd heard that turned out not to be true.

Is there a traveling gifted teacher that might come by to give services if there is a student that qualifies? In my experience, that is how it happens in some rural districts with little money.

I wonder if you had her tested and had some hard numbers, could she then qualify for services at this school. It is a rare state that doesn't provide for gifted services in some fashion--but of course you might live in one of those.

mama to DS 9 and DD 5 and
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#3 of 10 Old 06-16-2008, 09:12 PM
 
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Has she been tested?

Have you visited the gifted school yourself to make sure it really couldn't be an option for her?
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#4 of 10 Old 06-16-2008, 10:10 PM
 
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I was one of those "gifted" kids before they were called that. My 3rd grade teacher just called me "too smart".

My parents decided to give me work to do at home. I guess it was truly homework. I always loved to read. I was reading by three (really reading, not just word recognition) and just kept at it. My parents challenged me to read the classics, then tell them about them. Basically I was doing critical reports on the classics in grade school. They did the same thing with math and the sciences. I had my first chemistry set when I was 8. Did blow anything up. Started a couple of chemical fires, but no explosions.

I would say if there aren't any programs at the school and she needs to be challenged, do it at home. I know it helped me.
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#5 of 10 Old 06-16-2008, 11:39 PM
 
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Why don't you like the gifted schools? Even though they aren't perfect would they be better than 3rd grade?

Would it be possible for her to split her time between the 3rd and 4th grade classrooms. Do reading and math in 4th while doing history, science and standardized tests with 3rd?

Could you threaten the school that you will simply take her out and home school her if they don't let her skip, but say you don't mind if she takes the test with the 3rd graders?

Timmy's Mommy WARNINGyslexic typing with help of preschooler, beware of typos
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#6 of 10 Old 06-16-2008, 11:46 PM
 
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Don't ask the school this b/c I'm sure they won't be forthcoming, but are the NCLB tests manditory for the students? For instance, in CO, where I live, they are mandatory for the schools, but not the students -- meaning if I choose to have my kid not take them, there is nothing they can do about it, but the school gets a zero for her score. If that is the case where you live, as a last resort, you could possibly imply that you won't let her take the tests unless they let her skip.

I wouldn't start there, though. Have you filled out an Iowa Acceleration Scale for her? Do you have IQ scores, a ltr from her 2nd grade teacher or a psych stating that the skip would be in her best interests? Have you requested a formal mtg with the principal and given him/her a ltr formally requesting that she be skipped? I'd start somewhere around there before threatening them.

I would also reconsider the GT schools as others have mentioned. We don't have a gifted school where I live and, from what I've been told, the district would fight the formation of such a school tooth and nail for the same reason you were given -- it would take the high scorers out of the neighborhood schools making them look bad. It is at least worth giving the gifted school another look, IMHO, though since you do have that option.
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#7 of 10 Old 06-17-2008, 12:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all of the replies. I did formally meet with the principal, who is pretty great, and he said it's impossible. He said he'd have happily allowed her to skip 2nd or to skip 4th after next year, but that the school board will not, under any circumstances allow any child to skip 3rd grade. I guess I could go above him directly to the school board, but I do believe the principal to be very honest and forthright. He is someone that is constantly battling NCLB, the school board, etc.. so I fairly trust that he was being forthright with me on this.

We do a lot to supplement at home: chemistry sets, constant support and encouragement and supply of advanced reading materials, nightly family reading of advanced materials, lots of educational "field trips" to museums and such.

I know a number of students/families of the gifted schools here and they are all pretty dissatisfied. The kids get 2-3 hours of homework per night as early as grade one. It seems like the approach is to barrage the kids with standard busy work that is a grade or two ahead. They seem to utterly lack arts, music, physical ed, etc..

Also, I don't know if she could get in. You have to test in to these schools and there are 350 applicants to every one slot. The testing results are also not the only consideration; race and geography are also taken in to consideration; the school has to take a certain number of children from inside and outside the school boundaries and must meet racial quotas. Based on where we live and our race, the chances of her getting in are slim to nil.

I think I will push back on the school to devise some type of plan for her, like splitting time between the 3rd and 4th grade classrooms so that she is technically a 3rd grader for the school's purposes.

Threatening the school with withdrawal would be ineffective. There is a waiting list hundreds of names long; they could fill our slot in 10 seconds flat.

I have never had dd formally tested for IQ or anything else. How would one go about that?
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#8 of 10 Old 06-18-2008, 01:54 PM
 
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As far as I know, NCLB testing is not mandatory in many states. In Maine, parents can opt out. (Although we teachers are not allowed to tell them that. I do anyway.) In my school, we have several students who split their day in different classes. One of my 4th graders joined the 5th grade math class and 2 3rd graders joined the 4th grade math class. This means a lot of kids have to have math at the same time, which for us is tricky for the special ed staff, but it works. Would it be at all reasonable to consider offering to have her take the tests even if she's in 4th grade? Not that I want her to have to be subjected to that crap, but if it meant a more meaningful school year it might be worth it. Another thing to consider (and I'm saying this based only on my perspective as a teacher--not as a parent or student) is that sometimes skipping a grade causes other problems. For example, my 4th grader who does 5th grade math skipped 1st grade and actually should have been in 3rd this year. I teach a multi-age class of 4th/5th, so there is a HUGE gap in maturity between her and the other girls. This leads to all kinds of social challenges for her.

It sounds like you have 3 options: try to work really closely with the 3rd grade teacher to help her provide the best situation she can for your daughter, push the school to some sort of arrangement where skipping a grade works for everyone, or look at a gifted school and try to see if you can reconcile your feelings about it.
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#9 of 10 Old 06-18-2008, 04:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shonahsmom View Post
Thanks for all of the replies. I did formally meet with the principal, who is pretty great, and he said it's impossible. He said he'd have happily allowed her to skip 2nd or to skip 4th after next year, but that the school board will not, under any circumstances allow any child to skip 3rd grade. I guess I could go above him directly to the school board, but I do believe the principal to be very honest and forthright. He is someone that is constantly battling NCLB, the school board, etc.. so I fairly trust that he was being forthright with me on this.<snip>I have never had dd formally tested for IQ or anything else. How would one go about that?
Ask to have her subject accelerated in as many areas as possible and let her test with the 3rd grade. Particularly if you are going to homeschool the following year it shouldn't hurt her to be a 3rd grader on paper.

You might be able to get testing through the school, but some districts do a great job with testing and have great people doing it, others not so much. Check out www.hoagiesgifted.org and look for lists of testers. We had testing done through a university with a gifted research program and it was very reasonably priced. It doesn't sound like the gifted schools in your area are what you want - the busy work sounds horrid. However, the scores may be useful for you anyway. It can give you info on her strengths and weaknesses for homeschooling, it could be useful if the gifted school becomes your least-worst option, access to summer/distance programs where she can find peers and/or academic challenge,etc.

Good luck!
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#10 of 10 Old 06-19-2008, 08:46 AM
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So if the problem is just the testing, why don't they let your DD spend the year in the 4th grade, and have her do the tests there?

If she's bright enough to skip a grade, she's hardly going to fail a test for the year below her. Can you explain exactly what sort of tests thet are? Are they the classic exam style, or do are they more teacher observation over the course of the year?
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