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    #216110 - 05/12/15 10:48 AM Re: Our local public high school [Re: jack'smom]
    deacongirl Offline

    Registered: 07/03/10
    Posts: 948

    #216113 - 05/12/15 11:01 AM Re: Our local public high school [Re: ljoy]
    aquinas Offline

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2269
    Originally Posted By: ljoy
    Originally Posted By: Dude
    My DD10's gymnastics experience involves a wide range of ages. She's one of the youngest in her tumbling class, but one of the oldest in her gymnastics class. She actually likes being one of the oldest, because the coach lets her and her friend lead warm-ups. The basic idea is that kids end up in the right group for their skill levels, and age isn't a factor.

    Aha. Here we go. Here, preschool classes (up to age 6-8, depending on the place) are strictly by age, not skill or experience. I think it's supposed to make classes accessible, but it really just eliminates anyone who didn't start by 2.5.

    Are the kids happy? Yeah, I think they are. The big downside is that they have to specialize so terribly young, so by first grade you know which extracurricular is for you and you'll never be able to catch up in the rest. It means kids don't get the practice in making their own life decisions that is so important in college, at least not in these areas. The upside is that many kids, my generalists included, have at least one skill developed to an impressive level. When my first grader wrote and self-published a kid's book for NaNoWriMo, she didn't stand out - the others had achievements just as high, they had just spent more than a month getting to them. Parents actually seem more relaxed about seeing *some* sort of impressiveness in other kids, and just cultivate their own kids' specialty in response.

    Yes! You've just tapped into one of my favourite soapboxes-- one that advocates against early sport specialization in favour of participation and play in multiple sports!

    There are strong arguments from kinesiologists in favour of a program of general athleticism that allows development in a multi-sport environment. The reality is that the young body is more injury-prone from over-specialization of movement. But more importantly, developing athletic talent requires encountering a diversity of proprioceptive environments and movement patterns to develop broad muscle memory and balanced strength.

    If anyone is interested, Eric Cressey (a prolific kinesiologist and Olympic trainer) has commented on the issue of athletic development in children:

    Elsbeth Vaino (a Canadian) informally looked at the background of top-10 athletes across a variety of professional sports and found that more than 80% of them were trained as multi-sport athletes:

    I can't help but think (unsubstantiated opinion warning!) that a similar philosophy applies to intellectual development, with children exposed to training in multiple domains developing more adaptive and original thinking than those with early specialization in only one area, so it heartens me to hear that public schools do exist where families genuinely want an enriched general environment for their children.
    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

    #216114 - 05/12/15 11:02 AM Re: Our local public high school [Re: HowlerKarma]
    suevv Offline

    Registered: 08/10/12
    Posts: 381
    Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
    On the other hand, most of the parents who post/read here have children who really can (in general) perform up to those expectations without having to do anything particularly unhealthy to do so. Kids above MG also have the chance to find their tribe more readily when 15-25% of the local school population is genuinely at least garden-variety gifted....

    PG kids are still like unicorns-- only a fair number of the villagers are tying paper mache horns to their horses and definitely don't want the real deal to be TOO obvious. KWIM?

    We live in one of the cited Silly Con Valley school districts, and DH teaches private music lessons to many high-achievers/gifted kids. It gives us an interesting glimpse into the maelstrom in which these kids live.

    On one hand - Re the unicorn point above:

    There is a snarky label being used by kids to describe students using brute force to reach pinnacles of achievement (sometimes self-initiated, sometimes responding to peer pressure, sometimes under influence from parents). The term is "try hard" - as in "He's such a try hard."

    It's derogatory - sort of analogous to the sniffing-down-their-noses terms like "social climber" or "nouveau riche." What's the net result? Kids want to appear to be unicorns. Maybe even more often - kids' parents want them to be perceived as the unicorns. Many paper horns sprouting up around town ...

    So now, the kids are not only whipping themselves to take on the most, the hardest. They're also desperately trying to convey a casual, "oh it's no big deal" air about it.

    Through DH, we see some of the true unicorns, and the school experience can actually be pretty glorious for them. Honestly - they are challenged, working hard, and basically moving in the right direction.

    Oh but the try hards - and especially the try hards trying to pull off "unicorn." It's just devastating and frightening. We are ever-attentive to this, trying to start DS early on a balanced outlook as to "success," and always on a knife-edge as to yanking DS out of this system. With his internal perfectionist, self-imposed demands - too scary if his gifts don't allow him to pull it off without succumbing to unhealthy peer pressure/behaviors.

    On the other hand - re tribes:

    As DS has relaxed enough to actually make some friends, he has begun to find tribe members. He's still young enough that I volunteer in his classroom, and though there is no G&T pull out, the teachers really do try to give the gifted kids something to chew on. And it's lovely to see DS and his cohorts sometimes - even for a short while - galloping together. I honestly see them experiencing that same burst of joy I get when I kick a horse up to full speed and feel the float. I hope the days when he and his tribe mates hold on to that last a long time!

    #216117 - 05/12/15 12:14 PM Re: Our local public high school [Re: jack'smom]
    cricket3 Offline

    Registered: 11/02/09
    Posts: 657
    Great post, suevv. Love your last paragraph!

    And we have that word, "try-hard" here, too- I can't stand it.

    #216130 - 05/12/15 03:08 PM Re: Our local public high school [Re: cricket3]
    suevv Offline

    Registered: 08/10/12
    Posts: 381
    Originally Posted By: cricket3
    Great post, suevv. Love your last paragraph!

    And we have that word, "try-hard" here, too- I can't stand it.

    It's nasty, demeaning, divisive. I wish it would go away.

    #216134 - 05/12/15 03:57 PM Re: Our local public high school [Re: Bostonian]
    mithawk Offline

    Registered: 11/25/11
    Posts: 238
    Originally Posted By: Bostonian
    Originally Posted By: bluemagic
    MY DS16's school/district does not do valedictorian just for this reason. In fact they don't do class 'rank' either. What they do is will give colleges a percentage 'rank".. ie in the top 5%, 10%, 25%. All students who have a 'top' GPA are given awards. There are huge numbers who have GPA's above a 4.0 every year. This is one of the things I think my DS's school does right.

    I disagree, since I don't like the idea of discarding information, which is what such "binning" does. If colleges think the 1st and 25th student in a class of 500 are equivalent, they can make their admissions decisions accordingly, but they should get the raw rank. I was 2nd in a class of almost 500. To say only that I was only in the top 25 would have hurt my admissions chances and I think misrepresented my level of accomplishment. (This last sentence does not sound modest, but I don't think my classmates would have said I was the 10th best or 25th best student in the class. I was voted most studious boy smile.)

    The person ranked 51st out 500 won't like being consigned to the top 25% bin, having just missed the top 10% cutoff.

    My D's high school fits the profile described by the OP. Like bluemagic's local high school, our school does not do class ranks or valedictorian either. However, they do provide a bell curve distribution with cutoffs at the top 2%, 10%, 25% and so on. A college can quite easily determine if a student is close to 51st or close to 125th in terms of rank.

    I would not have considered D to be PG, but much to our pleasant surprise she is well above the cutoff for the top group. On the other hand, we find it a big relief that there is no competition for valedictorian. Kids don't share grades so D doesn't know if she is 1st, 5th, or 10th. As such she is friends with the other top students and they are cooperative rather than cut-throat. This significantly reduces the pressure.

    #216137 - 05/12/15 04:11 PM Re: Our local public high school [Re: jack'smom]
    cricket3 Offline

    Registered: 11/02/09
    Posts: 657
    I agree with mithawk- our school uses a similar system and it eases the pressure significantly.

    #216141 - 05/12/15 04:39 PM Re: Our local public high school [Re: jack'smom]
    suevv Offline

    Registered: 08/10/12
    Posts: 381
    When I was in high school - oh those many years ago - many of the gifted kids (myself included) took classes at the local Large State University.

    Through a glitch in translation - this was a huge detriment to us in determining valedictorian. In short - an "A" grade in classes taken at the university was the highest grade a student could get. Large State University did not give A+ as a grade. At the high school, an "A" grade translated to a 95. Even more though - it translated to a 95 for each hour of credit. So my "A" grade in university level chemistry translated to 3 grades of 95 on my transcript. Same for calculus, physics, etc. As you can imagine, this devastated my GPA as compared to kids who took no classes at Large State University.

    Astonishingly - none of the parents of the gifted kids at university protested. In hindsight, they were brilliant. It turned the competition for valedictorian at our school into an "also ran." The decision to take university classes effectively opted you out of that competition, and the culture was such that the gifted kids all did that. Oh - and there were no "AP" classes at our school because why would you take AP classes when you could go take credit-earning classes as Large State University instead?

    I'm so grateful for that culture. I wish I could recreate it for my son. It was rooted in the idea that we learned because it was fun. We learned because it was right for us. I know everyhting is different now. But I wish it wasn't.


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