Really? I went to primary school in the early 1970's and 3-minute multiplication fact drill started in 3rd grade with mastery expected by early 4th grade. I thought that was a pretty standard thing. These days multiplication is often introduced a bit earlier, but rote mastery has long been expected by 4th grade at the latest in most places.
Oh, we were expected to know them, but there wasn't much work on the tables in class. My 6th grade teacher was the only one to do "multiplication races" and I think it was for bonus points and it didn't count against us--which is how it is for ds.
Our whole school does both group and differentiation. Every morning, music starts playing around 8:00 and you see children filing out of their rooms, heading to other classrooms (some stay, of course.) They do math (and sometimes other stuff,) then return to their classrooms. Club R. is a highlight of DS's day.. I would be very surprised if there wasn't reading and math differentiation at your school.
BTW, I had thought about trying to get my younger DD in the dual language Spanish program but it wouldn't be a good fit for DS. I doubt that I would want the kids to be in two different schools. And I'm sad to see that your other school folded. I hadn't heard.
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