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    #236771 - 02/26/17 08:50 AM Experiences in Massachusetts?
    CuriousKids Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 02/07/17
    Posts: 5
    Hi there.

    During my search for more information, I have found very little evidence for options in the public school systems in my state for "Fast Learners". (Which is the official term in MA) I am an educator and have spoken to several educators including principals, teachers, interventionists and specialists to see what they think.

    The information that I have received is that very advanced students are very rare and that they have never known anybody to be accelerated. We are heavily trained in differentiated instruction and are expected to support all levels.

    I am reaching out to current or former MA residents in this community to ask:
    What are your experiences in MA?
    What choices have you made?
    What has been successful or not for your particular situation?

    Thank you so much for your help.

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    #236789 - 02/27/17 01:54 PM Re: Experiences in Massachusetts? [Re: CuriousKids]
    aeh Online   content
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3604
    pm'ing you

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    #237513 - 04/01/17 05:54 PM Re: Experiences in Massachusetts? [Re: CuriousKids]
    Mnotes Offline
    New Member

    Registered: 11/12/14
    Posts: 1
    I teach in MA as well.

    My experiences with my son? Kindergarten was hell. The teacher thought I was overprotective and asking for special favors when I asked for harder work. Every afternoon was a meltdown, because school was a waste of time. He would have gotten much more out of staying home reading his Beverly Clearly books and science books. He also didn't fit in with the kids (now we know there's aspergers in the mix). Homework was ridiculous as I fought to get it done reading sight words and coloring in things that start with "r".
    Teachers always think of him as the perfect student and that he is so cute. It shocks me that teachers feel comfortable saying , "He's soooo smart!" Like it's easy and adorable. When I asked for an IEP, the principal (who used to head the gifted program in town when there was one) was overheard saying, "Why are his parents here for an IEP meeting? He's he smartest kid!"
    Needless to say we didn't get an IEP. They told me that they never had Wisc scores so high, but they all agreed that the curriculum was of use to him so no need for an IEP.
    Third grade was a blessing. Any negative behaviors disappeared entirely. Because there wasn't busy work and his teacher differentiated like crazy for him. She bought him books and let him read An Inconvenient Truth during class. She had him write to the president because he had great ideas to share about the environment. Basically, she saw inspiration, understood giftedness, and didn't think it was cute.
    We're in fourth grade now and I had to fight to get rid of ridiculous assignments like fluency reading. His perfectionism is flairing this year and now they are taking concerns seriously. We now have a 504 per my request. It should be an IEP, but that's not happening.

    What works- not just good teachers, but teachers that understand giftedness, and that 2e is a thing.

    I can't speak on choices because we can't afford them. A private school is nearly my whole salary. Sometimes I dream about homeschooling.🤔

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    #237614 - 04/07/17 02:34 AM Re: Experiences in Massachusetts? [Re: CuriousKids]
    CuriousKids Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 02/07/17
    Posts: 5
    Hi Mnotes,

    Thanks for sharing your experiences and frustrations. Glad to hear you found at least one teacher willing to provide "appropriate challenge" and gets the 2e thing. It seems like it really is luck of the draw in MA.

    DS5 is starting K in the fall.

    I. am. terrified.

    My son displays some asynchronous features that I reported to the guidance councilor at the K school. They asked if they could do a full eval. PT and OT are now scheduled for this week. We are also in midst of a full neuropsych at the local college (meaning affordable) and these steps are making me feel better for now.

    At least we will have more information that can guide our decisions. I am also hopeful because the school has been seemingly supportive. This is one wild ride!
    Thanks again for your input.

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    #237673 - 04/10/17 07:15 PM Re: Experiences in Massachusetts? [Re: CuriousKids]
    kjs Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 03/16/15
    Posts: 29
    Hi, my son is in 4th grade. In 3rd grade we put him in a private school shortly after we had him take the WISC-IV test. It's not a gifted school, but the classes are small and they are less rigid than his public school was.
    We get a good deal of financial aid towards his school. In fact we declined their first offer because it still cost too much and they brought it down again.
    PM me if you'd like to talk more.

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    #237674 - 04/10/17 07:16 PM Re: Experiences in Massachusetts? [Re: CuriousKids]
    kjs Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 03/16/15
    Posts: 29
    What do you mean by a neuropsych at the local college? how would I go about contacting someone? We are near one of the UMass branches. I would like him to have more testing but haven't done it because of the cost.

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    #237675 - 04/10/17 08:29 PM Re: Experiences in Massachusetts? [Re: kjs]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4221
    Originally Posted By: kjs
    What do you mean by a neuropsych at the local college? how would I go about contacting someone?
    A large university campus may offer the opportunity for their graduate students to provide clinical services to the community, under the direction of an experienced professional. For example, here is a link to UMass Amherst Psychological & Brian Sciences (PBS). You'll want to do a bit of online research to see what may be available in your area, and how to contact them.

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    #237679 - 04/11/17 08:28 AM Re: Experiences in Massachusetts? [Re: indigo]
    kjs Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 03/16/15
    Posts: 29
    Thanks!

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    #237741 - 04/12/17 06:03 PM Re: Experiences in Massachusetts? [Re: CuriousKids]
    CuriousKids Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 02/07/17
    Posts: 5
    Sorry for the late reply...this has been what we call a "screwball" week :) Ditto to what indigo said. I will PM soon.

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    #245736 - 06/24/19 12:47 PM Re: Experiences in Massachusetts? [Re: CuriousKids]
    MA_PippaAndGoose Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 08/18/14
    Posts: 13
    Loc: essex county MA
    MA parent here - Looking for an update from OP or commenters. thanks!
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