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    #219651 - 07/16/15 09:15 AM Re: How to Get School to Challenge Your Child [Re: spaghetti]
    longcut Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/25/15
    Posts: 266
    Originally Posted By: spaghetti
    I don't know what I'd do, but I'd not let my child get negative messages about himself, and I'd defend him against those messages at every turn. So, when he is refusing school, I'd contact the teacher and not assume the reason, but ask her what's going on. Teachers may not care about academic fit, but they do care about emotional health at this age. Bring her in on solving the problem at hand. And you might just win her over. Or you will know it's a toxic situation and it will be clear you need to remove him.


    I really needed to hear this today. Thanks for articulating how to approach this situation if it happens for my own DD again.

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    #219653 - 07/16/15 10:24 AM Re: How to Get School to Challenge Your Child [Re: George C]
    Marcy Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 07/13/15
    Posts: 34
    Originally Posted By: George C

    Have you had a in-person meeting with the principal about your concerns? I've found that usually gets more attention than e-mails, and that way you can have a conversation. It would be helpful if you brought up some of the things you just told us here and that you think he might be gifted and see what the school says. Do they have a gifted program or do gifted screening? It seems like those might be the easiest places to start.


    I did have several in person meetings with the principal but they lasted like 5 minutes. I felt totally blown off each time. I've ponied up for full IQ and achievement testing, which is scheduled for next month. The psychologist will also come to his school for a scheduled meeting, so I'm hoping armed with his results and a psychologist I will be taken more seriously next year.

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    #219654 - 07/16/15 10:30 AM Re: How to Get School to Challenge Your Child [Re: indigo]
    Marcy Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 07/13/15
    Posts: 34
    Originally Posted By: indigo
    You may have read these advocacy tips elsewhere on the forums: ...


    Thank you! I'm still working my way through these posts and resources and they've been very helpful for my planning.

    Odd thing is I spent last year searching to try and figure out how to get help with this and never found much useful. I was only googling unschooling to help a friend and stumbled on this forum. Best google ever.

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    #219655 - 07/16/15 10:33 AM Re: How to Get School to Challenge Your Child [Re: ConnectingDots]
    Marcy Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 07/13/15
    Posts: 34
    Originally Posted By: ConnectingDots
    Do you have any test results (like the annual assessments/standardized testing) you could use with the school


    The school has all the results as he was tested monthly by them. His Star reading scored peaked at grade 6.1 in March, which is when he gave up on trying at school. It then drifted down to 5.1 by June.

    For Star math he had to take the 1st grade test which doesn't give grade levels past 4th grade. He always tested at >4th grade level, but again his scaled score peaked in the 800s in March and drifted down to the 600s by June.

    I am getting full testing done this summer so will have more data to strengthen my case.

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    #219665 - 07/16/15 11:57 AM Re: How to Get School to Challenge Your Child [Re: cmguy]
    Marcy Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 07/13/15
    Posts: 34
    Originally Posted By: cmguy
    Hopefully you can make the existing school work. As others have mentioned though that if it is not fixable in any kind of reasonable time it may be best to remove your child and seek alternate arrangements. We did this with our DS4 as he was too young for kindergarten. Private school is expensive, the commute is a drag, but the program works, he has friends, and he is happy.


    I really don't have many options here. The public school is the only other viable option, as we're zoned for a supposedly good one. However it is very overcrowded, so much so that the school just went year-round. They've already made the classes for next year, so if we switched now he'd be stuck wherever they could fit him, as opposed to wherever would be the best fit. I've emailed the vice principal who is the one who talks to parents and tried to make an appointment to discuss possibly transferring, but have gotten no response, which doesn't make me sanguine about how responsive they'd be to his needs.

    There aren't any good private schools in my area. There are a couple of good ones that are a 40 minute drive away, but that really isn't doable for us. I'd have to spend almost 3 hours a day driving back and forth between home, school and work. He would have no time for any after school activities and would hardly ever be able to play with school friends since most would live far away.

    There are only two secular private schools in my area. One is so rigid they suck all the joy out of learning and the other seems to be all show (fancy facilities, etc) but no real substance.

    I love everything about his school except the academics. It is a small charter school with a very safe environment. While his 1st grade teacher was not good, his classmates were the nicest group of kids and families. If I pull him out, he would never get back in, which makes the decision really hard. The waitlist to get in is long. If not for this I would give the public school a try and if it didn't work out just go back to the charter.

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    #219666 - 07/16/15 12:04 PM Re: How to Get School to Challenge Your Child [Re: ConnectingDots]
    Marcy Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 07/13/15
    Posts: 34
    Originally Posted By: ConnectingDots
    Do you have any test results (like the annual assessments/standardized testing) you could use with the school?

    I agree with George about asking for a meeting with the principal to plan for next year. You might bring results from Mathnasium with you to show the level at which he's working and start with asking what they might propose to meet his educational needs (that's a buzzword phrase)?


    I feel crazy as I've posted this a couple of times and the posts seem to have gone *poof*. Something I posted after appeared, so here's a third try.

    The thing that irritates me the most is that the school does know how gifted he is. They Star test all the kids routinely -- monthly if they are above grade level, more often if they aren't.

    His Star test for reading peaking at grade 6.1 in March, which is when the meltdowns began and he quit trying at school. It then drifted down to 5.1 by June, which is the score my 1st grader got with no effort whatsoever.

    Star math similarly peaked at >4th grade and scaled score in the 800s in March and then drifted down to the 600s (still >4th grade) by June.

    I am getting him formally tested this summer, but they already have the data that shows him performing better than the 99th %ile. I shouldn't have to pony up all this money to show them what they already know, but if it gets things done it'll be worth it. The psychologist we're going to will go to a meeting at the school, so I hope armed with test results and her, we can make 2nd grade more engaging for him.

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    #219673 - 07/16/15 02:50 PM Re: How to Get School to Challenge Your Child [Re: Marcy]
    Loy58 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/11/13
    Posts: 816
    Marcy, between my 2 DYS, I have every flavor of standardized test score for (WISC, EXPLORE, WIAT, MAP (multiple subjects), ITBS, CogAT, State Tests) - all high - and so far it has gotten us very, very little in terms of actual different instruction. Most of this testing was done through school. What the testing did do was get our older DYS into some advanced programming available at the schools. Our younger DYS is still waiting to be old enough to test into these programs. So far, the school's set programs have offered a small amount of help. I think we have realized along the way, though, that our DC need more. Unfortunately, testing does not always help if the school is ultimately unwilling to do anything...and we had been promised all kinds of things. It wasn't until we actually finally asked for something...that we realized that the school really would not do much of anything other than plop the kids in the age-for-grade classroom. (Sigh). But I think that our schools are overly-cautious and afraid to accelerate.

    If you decide to have any testing done, I would simply make certain that your school uses/acknowledges/values the results of that particular test.

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    #219676 - 07/16/15 03:29 PM Re: How to Get School to Challenge Your Child [Re: Marcy]
    George C Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/12/15
    Posts: 282
    I thought a STAR assessment was more of a swag of approximate achievement level. The tests are usually quite short and more for planning appropriate skills to teach as they align with Common Core. I also didn't know you could take them that often.

    Anyways, our DS couldn't stand them, even though they were so short.

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    #219679 - 07/16/15 03:55 PM Re: How to Get School to Challenge Your Child [Re: Marcy]
    Kombre Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 03/10/14
    Posts: 34
    Hi Marcy -

    We have a very similar situation. I would echo the other posters who suggested trying to get a face to face meeting with the principal or other administrators. Our school does not offer any accelerated or advanced math for elementary school kids (just a weekly enrichment pull-out for 40 mins) and we tried a few different forms of advocacy before sitting down at the end of the school year with the principal and two different administrators. I can't tell you we've had success so far (we've been given excuse after excuse, actually, and are now waiting for them to get back to us) but it's a necessary step in the process to show them how serious the issue is and hopefully you will have better luck than we have had to date.

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    #219684 - 07/16/15 07:23 PM Re: How to Get School to Challenge Your Child [Re: Loy58]
    Marcy Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 07/13/15
    Posts: 34
    Originally Posted By: Loy58
    Marcy, between my 2 DYS, I have every flavor of standardized test score for (WISC, EXPLORE, WIAT, MAP (multiple subjects), ITBS, CogAT, State Tests) - all high - and so far it has gotten us very, very little in terms of actual different instruction. Most of this testing was done through school. What the testing did do was get our older DYS into some advanced programming available at the schools.


    At the least, if he tests in >99.5%ile the district has a highly gifted program that he would be invited to. They do things like robotics classes after school, where they invite all the highly gifted kids in the district to attend. Not only would that be something he would enjoy, but he'd get to meet other kids like him.

    Originally Posted By: Loy58
    If you decide to have any testing done, I would simply make certain that your school uses/acknowledges/values the results of that particular test.


    I'm blazing new trails with this school, so I do need a starting point. Once I have the testing done, and the gifted IEP written out, I'll be more aggressive than I was last year. I didn't fight when the curriculum coach just threw a problem at my 6yo and left him to try and figure it out himself -- this year I will in no way accept that as legitimate enrichment.

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