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    #219690 - 07/17/15 06:15 AM Re: How to Get School to Challenge Your Child [Re: ConnectingDots]
    Tigerle Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/14
    Posts: 602
    Loc: Europe
    Originally Posted By: ConnectingDots
    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'd be careful about bringing enrichment results - they might accuse you of creating the problem In the first place and tell you to stop hothousing.

    A s a PP has said, it might work best to reframe the problem as his emotional health being endangered - according to what elementary school teachers believe, kids who get As for grade level work have no academic needs (and they may believe that it's the needs of an over ambitious parent in play rather than the kids need. But the meltdowns at home - they need to hear about that, pronto.

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    #219767 - 07/18/15 02:34 PM Re: How to Get School to Challenge Your Child [Re: Marcy]
    polarbear Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/29/11
    Posts: 3363
    Originally Posted By: Marcy

    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.


    Marcy, fwiw, we were in a similar situation re school when my ds was in early elementary. Same issue with achievement testing too - the school would only test to end-of-current-grade-level. I was very hesitant to leave the school because I loved the philosophy, class size, "extras" in terms of arts/etc. We're in a slightly different situation in that our ds is 2e, so he also had challenges at school. When he was first diagnosed, his neuropsych recommended we leave the school - and I held on because I didn't want to let go of what I *wanted* the school to be, and my ds also didn't want to leave what was familiar to him. A few years later, ds told us he wasn't going back - he'd had enough of the lack of intellectual challenge. We ultimately switched to the school our neuropsych recommended, in spite of it being quite a reach for our family in terms of expense and commute time, but it was the single best educational decision we ever made. The reason I mention this is, if I'd posted at the same age and place for my child as you are posting now, I would have thought we were absolutely in the best school possible and would have thought many of the same things about other school placements. I realized in hindsight that my ds might have been happier and more appropriately challenged if I'd spent more time trying to research other schools - not just go on what I heard from parents but actually talk to the other schools' staff as well as the school district gifted program.

    Just a for instance - the school that is overcrowded. Yes, that might be a nightmare in terms of the number of students... but what if the school was willing to subject accelerate your ds? What if the larger # of students meant the school might be able to pull together a higher level reading group in his grade across classes? What if the overall attitude of the teaching staff made it easier to challenge higher ability students?

    The other one thing I'd mention that we did - which was just a bandaid but it was something - our elementary school was really stressed for resources. They weren't adverse to helping kids who needed a challenge, but they didn't have the time to really make it happen, so we had parents who came in as volunteers once or twice per week to help advanced students in subjects like math, writing, spelling etc.

    Best wishes,

    polarbear

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    #219773 - 07/18/15 10:49 PM Re: How to Get School to Challenge Your Child [Re: Marcy]
    GGG Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/16/13
    Posts: 185
    Such wonderful responses! My small contribution is this: a first grader who reads at a 5/6 level and does math at a 4th grade level might be much more advanced than you are estimating and getting the testing results can help you decide how drastic you need to be in any changes of schooling or advocacy. I applaud you for trying to communicate with the admin but it sounds like they aren't going to get it even with test results.

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    #219924 - 07/21/15 01:55 PM Re: How to Get School to Challenge Your Child [Re: Marcy]
    Marcy Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 07/13/15
    Posts: 34
    I have read such helpful and informative things. I'm so glad I made this post. I'm not sure where we're going to wind up but I feel better prepared for what is ahead. I feel a lot less alone too!

    I'm the first to admit that a big part of DS6's problem is that he is a negative child. Instead of making the best of things and enjoying what he can, he focuses on being bored and "hating" stuff. I have long known this and work on it with him, but it's a very uphill battle.

    It doesn't help that he is almost pathologically shy and has a hard time with making friends and being in big groups of kids. One of the things I love about his school is how he socially grew from hiding in a corner to having good friends and feeling comfortable with all the kids. Our town is very high turnover and in most schools there are always a bunch of new kids, but in this school you are with the same 100 kids in your grade the whole way through, give or take a few that move away.

    He has his formal testing scheduled for the week of August 17, so after that I plan to schedule a face to face meeting with the principal and the psychologist.

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    #221146 - 08/21/15 08:19 PM Re: How to Get School to Challenge Your Child [Re: Marcy]
    Marcy Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 07/13/15
    Posts: 34
    We just finishing WISC-V testing and the neuropsychologist said DS6 is profoundly gifted.

    I don't have the full scores yet but his Verbal IQ was 155, visual-spatial was 147 and fluid reasoning was 151.

    His full IQ will be brought down by the 108 he received in the part where you had to write quickly, but the neuropsychologist said she recommends discounting that section because the problem was his fine motor skills not his thinking. I forgot the name of that part and a visit with the google still has me confused to exactly which section this is.

    Unfortunately the neuropsych was pretty gloomy about his school giving him appropriate challenges and enrichment. We're going to work on after school activities, but I don't want the 7 hours he spends in school every day to be boring and meaningless.

    We're scheduling a meeting with his teacher, the principal and the curriculum coach, so we'll see where things go from there.

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    #221149 - 08/21/15 10:44 PM Re: How to Get School to Challenge Your Child [Re: Marcy]
    ndw Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/29/13
    Posts: 314
    Those are amazing scores Marcy. It is good to have independent confirmation of what you suspected and that can help with advocacy. The difficulty is that children at that level of Giftedness generally need substantial accommodations to their educational pathway. A couple of hours of enrichment means very little. You may well be looking at grade skips, yep multiple.

    If you haven't looked into how level of giftedness can impact school decision making I would start looking in that direction. You also need a serious and lengthy conversation with the school who may have never seen, or recognised, a child like your son before. At his age you don't want to be doing all his schooling after hours. His day needs to have meaning and he needs time to be a kid. But to do that you have to educate yourself first. Unfortunately you can not rely on the school to be the experts in this situation.

    Start by downloading A Nation Decieved and a Nation Empowered from the Acceleration Institute

    http://www.accelerationinstitute.org

    Having gifted kids can be hard work, including loads of reading and research, but it is worth it.

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    #221178 - 08/22/15 02:41 PM Re: How to Get School to Challenge Your Child [Re: ndw]
    Marcy Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 07/13/15
    Posts: 34
    Acceleration is so hard. I don't think he can skip grades because he is not socially mature at all. I now recognize that some of his social difficulties are due to his level of giftedness, but some are just plain immaturity. He is already the youngest kid in his grade because his birthday is only 6 days before the grade cut-off here.

    The school has been pretty hostile to acceleration, prattling on about him having "gaps" in his knowledge. The neuropsych said that is ridiculous in his case.

    I have finished reading Nation Deceived and am halfway through Nation Empowered and am going to email these to his teacher, the principal and the curriculum coach before our meeting. I've pulled out a bunch of relevant citations for them like these --

    Reason #5: Safe is better than sorry. Most teachers see non-acceleration as the safer option—they feel that doing nothing is not harmful. Response: Doing nothing is not the same as “do no harm.” Choosing not to accelerate is itself an intervention. The evidence indicates that when children’s academic and social needs are not met, the result is boredom and disengagement from school.

    Reason #11: There will be gaps in the child’s knowledge. Teachers are concerned that accelerated students will have gaps in their understanding of concepts. Response: We accelerate students because they are well ahead of their age-peers in their academic development and knowledge. Gifted students are swift learners and any gaps quickly disappear.

    I'm going to push for subject acceleration. The school wants to go the route of project-based learning where he will build upon the same things the other kids are doing with additional enrichment. After reading these I believe he will continue to be bored, especially as the project-based learning will still be happening with other kids in his grade, most of whom are grade levels behind him academically.

    Thank you for your help.

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    #221181 - 08/22/15 03:31 PM Re: How to Get School to Challenge Your Child [Re: Marcy]
    ndw Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/29/13
    Posts: 314
    I am hearing you Marcy. We had similar concerns. We started with spending part of the day in first grade during kindergarten and using independent books not leveled reading. The teacher actually was good at math differentiation. We are not in the US but there are similar challenges everywhere.

    If moving up a grade is too hard then subject acceleration is a good starting point or accelerating in place by bringing the work to him in his classroom. The difficulty we found with that is DD felt different when she worked alone and the stimulation of everyone working at a higher level adds a different dimension.

    Sometimes the "immaturity" eases or goes away when the appropriate challenge level is reached but he is only a little boy too! When DD was going to first grade she used to take a teddy bear with her so she looked very young but it was fine.

    Some other good books on Giftedness if you are at the early stages of the journey can include:
    Giftedness 101 by Linda Silverman
    A PArents Guide to Gifted Children by James Webb

    And in your case
    Exceptionally Gifted Children by Miraca Gross.

    There are many books and resources but it can be a little overwhelming!
    Websites including here, the Davidson Institute Database, Hoagies Gifted and SENG are worth bookmarking.

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    #221182 - 08/22/15 03:35 PM Re: How to Get School to Challenge Your Child [Re: Marcy]
    ndw Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/29/13
    Posts: 314
    By the way the gaps thing is generally a non issue and especially at your DSsage. It is a common institutional response. However, curriculum compacting works well to allow the school to see him work quickly through material. Pretesting to know what he can miss is also good. Although I find that a little unnecessary at the early stages of school where it's more skills, reading and basic math skills, than actual conceptual knowledge.

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    #221183 - 08/22/15 03:46 PM Re: How to Get School to Challenge Your Child [Re: ndw]
    Marcy Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 07/13/15
    Posts: 34
    I'm hoping that subject acceleration will be going to higher grades and working with older kids, doing higher level work. While my son is immature in some things with play, he does well in advanced academic situations with clear cut rules. I feel he needs to be exposed to kids thinking on a similar level to him and to not always be miles ahead.

    Plus it will cost the school nothing, since they'll just send him to a different class for certain times. I'm hoping they'll find this aspect attractive, as it won't require any extra materials or teachers.

    I'm going to look for the books you mentioned. I'm currently reading Raising Gifted Kids: Everything you Need to Know to Help you Exceptional Kid Thrive by Barbara Klein, which the neuropsych. recommended.

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