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    #13639 - 04/12/08 02:11 PM Constructive Advice on Discussing Subject Skip
    momofonegirl Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 02/22/08
    Posts: 26
    Excuse me for venting, but I am bothered after going through my DD6’s folder for the week. I am still seeing basic math which she mastered last year in her old school and this is April. I am most likely going to do EPGY for math after getting DD6’s test scores back, but please give me some practical tips on having a constructive conversation with her school for the rest of this year and for next year about subject acceleration.

    Thanks.

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    #13651 - 04/12/08 03:31 PM Re: Constructive Advice on Discussing Subject Skip [Re: momofonegirl]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Originally Posted By: momofonegirl
    Excuse me for venting,


    Hey, that's why we're here! smile

    No time to write more, but I wanted to just pat you on the virtual back and say, "Vent away!"

    I'm sorry you're having trouble.

    K-
    _________________________
    Kriston

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    #13660 - 04/12/08 05:16 PM Re: Constructive Advice on Discussing Subject Skip [Re: Kriston]
    delbows Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/25/06
    Posts: 778
    Loc: Midwest
    Hello,
    We have found that schools are much more inclined to offer full grade skips rather than subject acceleration. It is simply easier from a scheduling stand-point, as well as, having to deal with fewer additional families who request the same “special treatment” for their under-challenged student.

    Our son was early entranced to 1st and finally granted math subject acceleration one quarter into his 5th grade year. I think the decision was based on our constant yearly requests and his Terra-Nova results. Both of the 5th grade teachers were opposed to it and even the 6th grade math teacher resisted his continued math acceleration for this year despite success in her class last year. However, we were offered full grade acceleration instead. We had to beg for continued math acceleration and waited until the beginning of this school year to learn whether or not he could attend pre-algebra which was contingent on the schedule that was apparently not finalized until the day before classes began.

    This year, we have heard the same response from his school regarding his math placement for 7th grade next year so we intend to go elsewhere. A local Catholic high school, which hopes to gain our daughter, has offered to let him skip two grades into their freshman class rather than take their high school courses as a 7th grader. Needless to say, our soon to be freshman daughter is not keen on this offer! Neither are we.

    According to a public middle school counselor for a very good district just across state lines, subject acceleration is widely offered, including free transport to their local high school. It’s not so easy on our side of the state line.

    The school and district culture for your area might determine how successful you will be in pursuing subject acceleration. Is there a history of this accommodation at your daughter’s school? Are you willing to do a full grade skip if offered?


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    #13664 - 04/12/08 06:56 PM Re: Constructive Advice on Discussing Subject Skip [Re: delbows]
    Grinity Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    tips:
    Stress the emotional toll that the lack of challenge is taking on DD. That's the key to the heart of early el teachers and staff.

    Bring in some worksheets the show the school what she can do in her own handwritting.

    Request that they do an 'end of year' test on DD for this year and next year to show what her 'readiness level' is.

    Best Wishes,
    Grinity
    _________________________
    Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com

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    #13673 - 04/13/08 04:29 AM Re: Constructive Advice on Discussing Subject Skip [Re: Grinity]
    momofonegirl Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 02/22/08
    Posts: 26
    Kriston,

    I know what you mean about full grade skips. My only hesitation is that DD6 would go from being the top student to one that would have to work! This makes sense to me as a mom, but as far as confidence goes, I am not sure how this would go over. And, that would cut against the emotional argment that Grinnity suggest.

    Testing makes sense all around and I will ask for that.

    Do I start the commotion asking for a meting or just start the commotion with an email?



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    #13675 - 04/13/08 05:12 AM Re: Constructive Advice on Discussing Subject Skip [Re: momofonegirl]
    Grinity Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    Originally Posted By: momofonegirl


    about full grade skips. My only hesitation is that DD6 would go from being the top student to one that would have to work!


    Mo1,
    Not sure if this is actually true. Depending on LOG, level of giftedness, many children start to look insecure because they are freaked out by having to spend so much time working so far below their readiness level that their behavior mimics a really insecure person. Of course they second guess themselves - caught in a catch 22 of 'The adults know what they are doing. I can trust the adults. The adults put me in a stupid class. I must be stupid.' Children don't have the perspective to know that they are NOT in the stupid class - that this is what every child their age gets and yes, the adults aren't paying attention to Readiness Level for the most part, because adults don't expect HG or PG children to even exist!

    I've lived this, and have seen my DS11 live it too, but for more of this in a written venue, try Sylvia Rimm's 'Why Bright Kids Get Poor Grades.'

    As for if your child could handle a skip -
    Spend 3 hours at your school in the potential recieving classrooms. Observe the work, the teachers, and how the children interact. If your dd ever does academic stuff at home, you'll know pretty quickly how she would fit in. If you don't know, bring some stuff home for her to try.


    The formal way to know if a skip something the child could handle, is to read the Iowa Acceleration Scale Manual (unlike other Manuals this one is about 30$) Lovely quick read, and gives a research supported formula to tally up the expected results of a skip.

    BTW - Dottie is right on about a signed written (not email) letter.

    I might suggest requestion a grade skip and letting the school come up with subject acceleration as a compromise! Let them feel like they 'won.' You don't have to accept the full skip if it's offered, but it's easier to ask for less than to ask for more as you go.

    Some kids seem built for subject accelerations and some kids seem built for gradeskips.

    Let's see if I can expand that a bit.

    Kids who love full skips -
    1) very aware of what other kids are thinking, perhaps to a fault.
    2) feel a strong grade identity
    3) No older siblings to enjoy at home
    4) Not so much aware of time, not independent enough to get up and walk out of an activity in full swing and go to an other part of the building.
    5) Not so much aware of materials. May arrive at subject acceleration class without book or pencil. Loses stuff a lot.

    Kids who love subject accelerations -
    1) travel together to the recieving class with a few other friendly kids.
    2) Not so aware of what other kids are thinking, if they know they don't much care.
    3) Don't mind having that sort of attention drawn to them, not self-consious.
    4) Have older siblings who they have always been able to play with, and play with the sib's older friends at home.
    5) Not so identified with a particular class.
    6) A kind, thoughtful 'homeroom' teacher who doesn't plan fun things while child is out of the room.
    7) A kid who doesn't moon over the grass, which is always greener, in the classroom their aren't currently in.
    8) A kind, thoughtful recieving teacher who is welcoming, and gives them a dedicated cubby or even a desk in the recieving class.

    One of the big advantages of subject acceleration may be that you have a greater chance of getting teachers who 'get' you child. One of the big advantages of a full skip is that it can't be taken away due to some lame excuse. If you child is HG or more - your child probably needs both!

    Best wishes,
    Grinity
    _________________________
    Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com

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    #13678 - 04/13/08 05:29 AM Re: Constructive Advice on Discussing Subject Ski [Re: Dottie]
    doodlebug Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/04/06
    Posts: 433
    Loc: Illinios
    I'm not sure what point you are at in terms of the school knowing what is going on. You just had her tested privately, right? Forgive me if some of my suggestions aren't relevant. Based on my experiences with both full grade and subject acceleration, here are my thoughts:

    1) do not start anything by email. It is too easy to misread, assign "tone" and start misunderstandings and offend people via email. I would contact for a face to face discussion. If they are already aware of the situation, then definitely something in writing as well that outlines your concerns.

    2) begin the discussion by establishing that you and the school are a team, working on behalf of your child. Always use "we" and speak under the premise that the school IS interested in doing what's best. You want to establish a good working relationship with the school, not an adversarial one.

    3) be prepared to identify the problem: DD6 is unhappy and unchallenged in math. She is capable of more and needs the "room to run" (aka: cheetah analogy here). Better to NOT identify the problem as the school, teachers or curriculum. They get a little defensive at that point!

    4) be prepared to offer multiple solutions: provide the school with a list of the options that you see as available. This could include subject acceleration, whole grade acceleration, private tutoring at school with programs such as ALEKS or EPGY or whatever, etc. Make sure you offer the one or two options you like the best as well as one or two that are really not likely to be feasible. That way the school can make the decision - they feel more in control when you ask for two things and, even though you didn't want option B they get to tell you how option B just won't work and so THEY insist on option A (which is what you wanted anyway!)

    5) Be prepared to back up your options with documentation about why those options will work. I used information from Developing Math Talent by Susan Assouline. Great resource. I photocopied some of the info, especially the Myths about gifted math learners. Be sure to offer the school reasons why each option, or the option you prefer, is going to be easy for them as well as good for your daughter.

    6) Be patient: you might need to wait for those test results and then be able to present them as part of your discussion. Is the private tester going to make recommendations for educational planning? That certainly would help.

    7) If they are unwilling to consider your options, request that they do curriculum based pre-testing for next year. Or, better yet, test with the *following* years curriculum. When we wanted subject acceleration in math to 3rd grade, the teacher put together a curriculum based test of 3rd grade material and the principal administered it to our son himself. He discovered that our son actually had already mastered the first 3 months of 3rd grade BEFORE even starting 2nd! It was HIS idea to put him up a grade level then!

    And here's my thoughts on whole grade acceleration. It isn't right for every child in every situation. You need to consider your daughter, her needs and abilities, your school, her peers, the curriculum, etc, etc. (Use the Iowa Acceleration Scale - helped us "come to peace" with it!) We were a bit panic stricken with the thought of our school skipping our son. But then we had him tested, looked into research on acceleration, and decided that not only would his needs be met by grade skipping, but by doing it BEFORE he started school. He is twice accelerated in math now. Still one of the top students. He does NOT struggle with anything at school yet. Now, that may be due to his ability and/or the rural public school he attends. Your situation may be completely different. I'm just suggesting that you consider the acceleration option with an open mind. Sometimes it actually HELPS the emotional issues, which I know it did for our son. We freaked out at first at the idea, because I was sure he would be ostracized, stand out, not make friends, etc, etc. But nothing is further from the truth. We've had to deal with his age - ironically his friends call him a liar! They don't believe that he is a year younger than the rest of them! And someone called him a nerd this year - but, heck, he's going to get that sooner or later no matter what grade he's in. So, overall, the grade skipping has worked for him.

    HTH.Best of luck!

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    #13682 - 04/13/08 06:29 AM Re: Constructive Advice on Discussing Subject Ski [Re: doodlebug]
    delbows Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/25/06
    Posts: 778
    Loc: Midwest
    Great advice Debbie. I'm glad your son is doing so well!

    Momofonegirl,
    What grade is your DD6 currently attending? Did she recently turn six?

    Are there other full grade or subject accelerated children at the school?

    I don’t think you will have to worry about your child going from the top student to one who has to work “just to keep up” with a single skip. IMO, a single skip with additional subject acceleration is ideal.

    Although your daughter is only 6, you may want to at least inquire what courses are available at the local high schools in your area. An important consideration for our situation in considering subject or full grade acceleration is what some (relatively) nearby high schools can offer for courses above the usual sequence. Some schools would simply run out of courses if our student began the sequence in 7th grade, while others offer more advanced courses than any student could possibly take in four years. An early start could ensure greater access without having to graduate high school early.

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    #13686 - 04/13/08 08:12 AM Re: Constructive Advice on Discussing Subject Skip [Re: momofonegirl]
    snowgirl Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/24/08
    Posts: 361
    Originally Posted By: momofonegirl
    My only hesitation is that DD6 would go from being the top student to one that would have to work! This makes sense to me as a mom, but as far as confidence goes, I am not sure how this would go over.


    I guess I'd think of it this way - that the harder work may be necessary in order to build her confidence. One of my favorite quotes: "When gifted children are not given opportunities to work at their own level and pace, they settle for less than their best. They learn to slide by without stretching themselves. Patterns of underachievement are subtle and cumulative; they become harder to overcome with each year. Students who attain A’s on their papers with no effort are not prepared to take more challenging classes in high school and college. When work is too easy, self-confidence to attempt difficult tasks is steadily eroded. A student who has the potential to win a scholarship to an Ivy League university settles for a B average at a state college." (emphasis added; http://www.gifteddevelopment.com/About_GDC/whytest.htm )

    I have no advice re: acceleration but I think I need to save the other replies on this thread for future reference!

    smile

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    #13693 - 04/13/08 09:48 AM Re: Constructive Advice on Discussing Subject Skip [Re: snowgirl]
    momofonegirl Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 02/22/08
    Posts: 26
    Much thanks to everyone. The advice offered is wonderful. I will begin working on drafting my letter and then I will wait for the test scores to come back. The scores should be back by April 25. I have old (two years ago) scores showing her in the 99 percentile for math and social studies. Should I have the achievement testing updated if since the school does not offer achievement testing for kindergarten?

    Grinnity, I like your list about full skip and subject skips, but I did have to wonder if you were kidding at first. This school is big on the social emotional piece (independence), so I am not sure how that will go, but it is worth a try. She was skipped at her old school last year and I feel bad for not pushing it in this school, but I thought since it was a private school she would be challenged.

    I am prepared to walk away from the school if I do not get her needs met. It is an economic and time situation. With one income in the family and my ex husband not an active part of all of this, everything fals on me. I cannot work full time, teach her what I think she should be learning at school and the rest of the work that goes along with parenting.

    Dotty, if you think her achievement testing should be updated, which test would you advise?

    I agree with the comment about back sliding and expecting less because I have seen this happen. OK, 12 days until the 25.

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