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    #125986 - 03/22/12 10:42 AM Prep for parent/teacher conference?
    Michelle6 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/16/12
    Posts: 76
    Monday will be my sixth parent/teacher conference of the year, and so far, virtually no results. Every time, the teacher agrees to give him "accelerated math" (all of his grades are good, but math seems to be the area in which he excels the most). She does it for a week or so, in his spare time, then stops. It has gotten worse recently, because about halfway through last year they moved him into a second grade math class. Due to scheduling issues, they could not put him in a third grade math class this year. So for the past few weeks, he has not only been going over material that he already knows - he is doing the exact same workbook that he did last year. What's worse is that he is now starting to think that his teacher thinks he is "stupid" because she won't give him any more difficult work, and is repeating what he has already learned.
    Anyway, since the last few conferences (some with just the teacher, others with administrators and guidance counselors involved) have been essentially a waste of time, I thought I would call in reinforcements this time. What exactly do I need to do in order to get results?!? I don't want to go in there as "angry mom", but I'm honestly so frustrated with this whole thing, I'm ready to stop being nice and start making demands. (And as a former teacher, I can almost guarantee that won't work). Any suggestions for what may be more effective than what I've been doing? I'm not looking for any particular answer - I'm willing to compromise. But the thing that is absolutely necessary is that my son learn something at school - which is not happening right now.

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    #125989 - 03/22/12 10:55 AM Re: Prep for parent/teacher conference? [Re: Michelle6]
    Ultralight Hiker Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/21/12
    Posts: 76
    Here are some thoughts based on my own (somewhat limited) experience...

    (1) What kind of scheduling conflicts are there with 3rd grade math? Perhaps they can be resolved with a little creativity and flexibility. My DS6 misses 1st grade arts to go to 3rd grade math, but then makes up the work in afternoon during 1st grade math. According to his teacher it has worked surprisingly well.

    (2) Plan for next year now. They have probably not finalized the master schedule, so if they are on board they may be able to ensure that your DS can attend the appropriate math class.

    (3) ALEKS is another possibility. They could allow him to work on it at his own pace during math time.

    Ultralight Hiker

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    #125991 - 03/22/12 11:06 AM Re: Prep for parent/teacher conference? [Re: Michelle6]
    kcab Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/02/07
    Posts: 1603
    Loc: Sparta, apparently
    Originally Posted By: Michelle6
    ... he is now starting to think that his teacher thinks he is "stupid" because she won't give him any more difficult work, and is repeating what he has already learned.
    This is what she needs to know. You don't need to be angry when you say it, but she needs to know that she is telegraphing lack of confidence. I would expect his teacher to know that this can hurt self-esteem and want to avoid the situation.

    I would bring in the "What a Child Doesn't Learn" article (see another, recently updated, thread for the link).

    As far as reinforcements, bringing in the other parent is good, at least sometimes. If there is a professional that your son has met with for counseling or testing, and whom you think would be effective, you could ask them to come too. (Though, I'd generally warn the teacher in that case.)

    As far as how to make advocacy more effective, I've found that having some objective evidence of need and some idea of what I want to happen are both necessary. Compromise is fine, but everyone needs a starting point.
    _________________________
    kcab

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    #125994 - 03/22/12 11:16 AM Re: Prep for parent/teacher conference? [Re: Michelle6]
    Michelle6 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/16/12
    Posts: 76
    I haven't had him tested by a professional - other than the rudimentary testing they do for AIG at the school. I mentioned in another thread that I'm hesitant to get his IQ tested, because after I did that as a kid it was used as an excuse to not teach me anything ("I've seen your IQ - there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to do this"). On the other hand, I'm starting to think that if I don't get his IQ tested, the school will never acknowledge that this is a real problem for him. So I'm kind of stuck on that one.
    He works on more difficult work at home - per his own request - and does very well on it. He has a notebook in which he keeps all of his work - should I take that with me? Or would it do anything besides paint me as the crazy parent who is pushing her child too hard?

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    #125997 - 03/22/12 11:40 AM Re: Prep for parent/teacher conference? [Re: Michelle6]
    kcab Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/02/07
    Posts: 1603
    Loc: Sparta, apparently
    Not sure if the notebook will help or not, you could always bring it and decide.

    I found achievement testing more useful with the school than IQ, but that varies.

    This might be a situation where you need to put aside your own experiences, both as a student and as a teacher, and concentrate on being an advocate for your child. This was pretty hard on my mom, especially when she started crying in front of people she knew professionally. However, that was what helped in the end. Anyway, it's a long road, and the advice above to start planning for next year is correct. Minimize damage for this year though, preferably by getting him work that is up a grade in math.
    _________________________
    kcab

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    #125998 - 03/22/12 11:40 AM Re: Prep for parent/teacher conference? [Re: Michelle6]
    Grinity Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    Originally Posted By: Michelle6
    I mentioned in another thread that I'm hesitant to get his IQ tested, because after I did that as a kid it was used as an excuse to not teach me anything ("I've seen your IQ - there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to do this").

    I think that they wouldn't have done anything for you with or without the IQ scores...they only will if they will.
    Quote:
    On the other hand, I'm starting to think that if I don't get his IQ tested, the school will never acknowledge that this is a real problem for him. So I'm kind of stuck on that one.

    It might help, especially with an achievement test, and the Iowa acceleration manual. Lots has changed, but some hasn't. Can he go to 4th grade math? Independent study instead of the regular work.
    Quote:
    He works on more difficult work at home - per his own request - and does very well on it. He has a notebook in which he keeps all of his work - should I take that with me?

    yes - and cry if you feel the tears welling up, about how he feels that the teacher is losing confidence in him, and he's losing confidence in himself. It is really sad. If you can make yourself vulnerable enough to cry, then won't see you as a screaming attacker. You are just a mom with a problem that they can help solve.
    Best Wishes,
    Grinity
    _________________________
    Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com

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    #125999 - 03/22/12 11:41 AM Re: Prep for parent/teacher conference? [Re: Michelle6]
    Percy Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/11/10
    Posts: 170
    Since he already works on harder stuff at home, would it be possible to give him some instruction at home (ie introducing new concepts - maybe using Khan Academy) and then he could work on his homework (that you give him or he does online) at school while the other kids are working on their math. Or maybe if the school wants to be more involved you could get with the 3rd grade teacher or gifted coordinator and work out some arrangement where he is instructed at home and then does work at school - using the curriculum agreed upon by the school with the agreement that they would help him if he had a question.

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    #126004 - 03/22/12 12:40 PM Re: Prep for parent/teacher conference? [Re: Michelle6]
    Grinity Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    It's part of the natural difference between Gifties and Regular adults. Folks who identify as gifted usually made a fierce decision to go with logic, and the evidence of their senses, as products of their minds, a long time ago. Folks who didn't go down that path, for whatever reason, are more likely to be influenced by an emotional connection. Gifties who are trying to be logical, work hard NOT to show emotion, but assume that everyone is 'like them' and would prefer an argument based on facts and research and logicial extensions of those. But most other people aren't anything like that, and so our hard work works against us.

    I didn't read that in any book, it's just my personal observation, and it's certianly not true for all of us, but it's truer than could be predicted by chance alone, I'd bet.

    Smiles,
    Grinity
    _________________________
    Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com

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    #126008 - 03/22/12 01:15 PM Re: Prep for parent/teacher conference? [Re: Michelle6]
    mecreature Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/14/11
    Posts: 358
    I would bet too Grinity.

    Be careful with the crying. Kids can think they are part of the problem.
    Don't get stuck in the middle, its a long partnership.


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    #126009 - 03/22/12 01:17 PM Re: Prep for parent/teacher conference? [Re: Michelle6]
    polarbear Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/29/11
    Posts: 3363
    You have a lot of great advice above, so I don't have much to add - but here are a few thoughts.

    Sometimes at school you hit a brick wall in the form of a teacher or other staff member - they aren't going to give no matter how you advocate. They might have become a brick wall for any number of reasons from someone above them telling them "no, our school can't do this" to simply being tired, overworked or not caring. It helps to figure out (if you can) what might be driving their unwillingness to help in order to make a game plan of how to fight it... or to know whether or not continuing to advocate is going to help.

    Your school must be willing to subject accelerate as a policy since your ds was accelerated last year. You've had 5 parent-teacher conferences already and it doesn't seem to have helped. Is anyone else getting called into the meetings by the school? If not, I think I'd approach this meeting with a plan - take a written list of what accommodations your ds was given last year (he was subject-accelerated in math) and the dates of conferences you've had this year with what was agreed upon at each. Point out what hasn't happened. Ask what will be done to resolve it. Let the teacher know if what you agree upon doesn't take place, you will call a team meeting (don't know what they are called at your school - but it's the type of meeting where the teacher, parent, counselor, school psych etc all meet together to discuss the needs of the student). Most often those types of team meetings take place when a child is having a difficulty which has to do with a learning challenge or behavior challenge, but if your child is feeling that his teacher thinks he is stupid and isn't getting the work he's capable of doing (particularly after already having been acknowledged of being capable of higher level work by the same school) then you have a very valid reason to call a team meeting. If you have to have a team meeting, I'm guessing you'd get what you need there simply because the school gave your ds his math acceleration last year.

    Re crying, emotion, etc. I've never cried at school - that's not really my personality. It's also my nature not to want to make waves, be confrontational, or make demands. What I've found works effectively for me sometimes is to simply state the obvious, and repeat it when it's not heard. The school staff may try responding, backpedaling, getting off track etc to not be pinned down on something but just simply repeat the very obvious points that your ds is entitled to - or ask why not. Repeating with slightly veiled sarcasm can work very well too. But before I tried any of that, I'd first do as mentioned above - put together my very specific list of what my ds needs (subject acceleration) and a starting point of a suggestion that you're willing to settle for in terms of how he can get it, ask for that first then go from there.

    If the meeting doesn't go well or if the teacher doesn't follow through - request the team meeting (in writing, email is ok), and be sure the principal is cc'd on the request.

    Good luck with the conference -

    polarbear

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