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    #240122 - 10/16/17 03:05 PM Re: Need help with advocacy [Re: MamaRachel]
    BenjaminL Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/30/12
    Posts: 144
    Loc: Seattle
    Originally Posted By: MamaRachel
    Originally Posted By: longcut
    There may be a minimum number of academic hours that must be done outside the school to count as part-time, and those hours, here, at least, could not be done at the school (they would not be responsible for the child on their grounds when not considered a full-time student).


    This would be a hard-stop for us, as we both work full-time. That's exactly what I'm afraid of with this path.


    Partial homeschooling doesn't mean the school will administer work for you. What's happened up here in Seattle at the elementary level that I'm aware of, is that the parent came in during math and worked with their child in the library. I'm not even sure if the school is obligated to let you use their facilities and they may require pickup and drop off as well during that time. If the class has variable math periods you have to adjust. As I said its kind of a pain in the neck and only really doable if you're home during the day.

    It's all somewhat better in M.S. where there's a fixed period schedule but still somewhat logistically challenging.

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    #240124 - 10/16/17 03:20 PM Re: Need help with advocacy [Re: BenjaminL]
    MamaRachel Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 06/22/16
    Posts: 23
    Loc: SW Washington (Portland OR)
    Originally Posted By: BenjaminL
    Originally Posted By: MamaRachel
    Originally Posted By: longcut
    There may be a minimum number of academic hours that must be done outside the school to count as part-time, and those hours, here, at least, could not be done at the school (they would not be responsible for the child on their grounds when not considered a full-time student).


    This would be a hard-stop for us, as we both work full-time. That's exactly what I'm afraid of with this path.


    Partial homeschooling doesn't mean the school will administer work for you. What's happened up here in Seattle at the elementary level that I'm aware of, is that the parent came in during math and worked with their child in the library. I'm not even sure if the school is obligated to let you use their facilities and they may require pickup and drop off as well during that time. If the class has variable math periods you have to adjust. As I said its kind of a pain in the neck and only really doable if you're home during the day.

    It's all somewhat better in M.S. where there's a fixed period schedule but still somewhat logistically challenging.





    I want to get this taken care of now, because he will move to intermediate school next year. I believe that is a huge opportunity as that school is adjacent to the middle school (7/8) and the HS (9-12).
    _________________________
    Boys age 7&9 grades 2&4.
    SW Washington State (near Portland, OR)

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    #240126 - 10/16/17 03:26 PM Re: Need help with advocacy [Re: Dude]
    MamaRachel Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 06/22/16
    Posts: 23
    Loc: SW Washington (Portland OR)
    Originally Posted By: Dude
    It seems like you're having no problem with words at all, because you could pretty much copy and paste this, with some minor edits for audience:

    Quote:
    this is not acceptable. DS9 has proven on their own pre-test that he knows the grade 4 curriculum, as he pre-tested in early Grade 5. AS this was a month ago, he's now completed another 1/2 grade of JH CTY at home. I'm confident he'd test mid or late grade 5 if retested today.

    Not only does he not need to sit through a lesson on math he already knows, he needs acceleration to new topics. He also needs a much faster pace. When I serve up math at home, he gobbles it up and learns it quickly.

    I've reviewed the grade 4 book completely (found a PDF of the teacher-instruction online). I am certain my child knows this material. Their pretest shows that he knows this material.


    And then add a bit about what you'd like to see instead. Done.

    It's clear, it's strong, it's well-supported, and it's not confrontational.


    I would never dare to send those words, as they are extremely confrontational.

    I'll edit and see if I can still be firm with different word choice.
    _________________________
    Boys age 7&9 grades 2&4.
    SW Washington State (near Portland, OR)

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    #240131 - 10/16/17 08:36 PM Re: Need help with advocacy [Re: MamaRachel]
    twallace Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 03/31/17
    Posts: 35
    My children go to school approximately an hour from you, and we are running into the exact same thing. I am trying to walk the line of advocating for them while not ticking off the teachers who provide care for them all day. However I am finding more and more that the non-confrontational approach has never worked with teachers who have the same response you received. Best of luck! If you find something that works, I'd love to hear it!

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    #240132 - 10/16/17 10:28 PM Re: Need help with advocacy [Re: MamaRachel]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4311
    You've received great advice above. I especially endorse spaghetti's advice to analyze the teacher's statement phrase by phrase. BTW, you may wish to remove the teacher's statement from your OP, as reading the statement could lead to identifying your child... followed by a host of teacher and school retaliation and ongoing future unpleasantness toward your child and family. frown

    I agree that advocacy has become more difficult recently, with the enforcement of Common Core Standards... the core of which is equal outcomes for all students... necessitating the capping of growth of children at the top. Public school teachers are now evaluated based on equal outcomes in their classrooms, and schools are rated/ranked based upon how well they achieve equal outcomes.

    Yet the basic approach to advocacy and meeting prep can still yield positive when adhered to. Caution: it is time-consuming. A few highlights from posts linked within the advocacy roundup:

    1) If this is a public school, have you checked your State Laws?
    The link here may be a good place to start your research. Look for anything which supports each child learning, gifted education, individualized placement and pacing, acceleration, etc. There is often something in the law which a parent can use to support their position. Document - document - document. Print relevant and applicable pages and place them in an advocacy ring binder under a tab called "State Laws". This will help you locate the information in the future and also help you notice if the laws have changed over time.

    2) Have you checked your school policies?
    The school policies are often posted online by your local school board. Look for similar phrases that you checked for in your State laws. Also check vision and mission statements. Print relevant and applicable pages and place them in an advocacy ring binder under a tab called "School Policies".

    3) Have you cited research and articles by experts?
    These may be a start:
    - kids need appropriate challenge, academic/intellectual peers
    - What kids don't learn
    Print relevant and applicable research and expert articles, highlighting pertinent passages, and place them in an advocacy ring binder under a tab called "Research and Articles by Experts". Also print and keep the related posts if they help you to summarize and draw out the needed information.

    4) Have you gathered and organized your child's assessment results, test scores, and interpretations? These may often directly influence placement and pacing.

    5) SOME teachers may be interested to join the free Davidson Educator's Guild to learn more about education for gifted students.

    When you have gathered all of the above, prepare for your meeting, remain calm/positive/logical/unemotional, repeat yourself as needed, take notes, ask clarifying questions, get commitment to a timeframe, followup afterwards.

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    #240137 - 10/17/17 07:53 AM Re: Need help with advocacy [Re: MamaRachel]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2287
    Originally Posted By: MamaRachel
    Originally Posted By: Dude
    It seems like you're having no problem with words at all, because you could pretty much copy and paste this, with some minor edits for audience:

    Quote:
    this is not acceptable. DS9 has proven on their own pre-test that he knows the grade 4 curriculum, as he pre-tested in early Grade 5. AS this was a month ago, he's now completed another 1/2 grade of JH CTY at home. I'm confident he'd test mid or late grade 5 if retested today.

    Not only does he not need to sit through a lesson on math he already knows, he needs acceleration to new topics. He also needs a much faster pace. When I serve up math at home, he gobbles it up and learns it quickly.

    I've reviewed the grade 4 book completely (found a PDF of the teacher-instruction online). I am certain my child knows this material. Their pretest shows that he knows this material.


    And then add a bit about what you'd like to see instead. Done.

    It's clear, it's strong, it's well-supported, and it's not confrontational.


    I would never dare to send those words, as they are extremely confrontational.

    I'll edit and see if I can still be firm with different word choice.


    Only you can gauge what you're comfortable expressing and how. But my read on Dude's comment and your original phrasing is that it's evidence based and output oriented. What you provide is a statement of your child's capabilities (as tested on the school's tools), his interim progress and the expected implications for testing level, his future needs, and your dissatisfaction with the status quo.

    You will have to express discontent to get the ball rolling. Advocacy is required precisely because the existing solution is a poor fit. That can be done courteously, but be reassured that the words, "this is not an acceptable solution" are not rude or inflammatory.

    Courage! smile
    _________________________
    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

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    #240201 - 10/23/17 08:59 AM Re: Need help with advocacy [Re: MamaRachel]
    MamaRachel Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 06/22/16
    Posts: 23
    Loc: SW Washington (Portland OR)
    Update:

    There was a district-level meeting last week, with an educational consultant doing the presentation. Ed consultant stated pretest - show mastery (maybe do last 3-4 problems in unit - move on, as the ideal way to keep these kids challenged.

    This is contrary to the current application in-district for how to deal with HiCap kids, as evidenced by the email from the teacher. Teacher wants kids to do regular work first.

    We have our regular parent-teacher conferences on Friday afternoon this week for both kids. Late last week we (DH and I together) authored an email to the district HiCap coordinator which has not been responded to, voicing our frustration with the status quo.

    Specifically mentioned and emphasized:

    - Implementation method with small group clusters isn't going to work if the teachers can opt out. Our grade opted-out of traveling students to other classrooms daily for small group work. If the district thinks this is the golden ticket, they should mandate it. It would be wise to survey the teachers on their application of the small group clusters, and do in-class observations.
    - The district is providing teacher training - great. They offered 2 days in summer, 1 2-hr class on an in-service day, 1 2-hr class in the evening after school. The teachers can get "hours" for these classes, but the time is unpaid (except the in-service day). The training is not compulsory. We suggested some of the discomfort parents had with the current program is that we don't know if our teacher has been trained. If they want parents to feel more comfortable with a spread offense (kids in small clusters throughout the grades rather than a focused single-classroom), they need to pay the teachers for training, or make completion compulsory for teachers choosing to be "HiCap" teachers.
    - Pace. The pace is all wrong if you want these kids to first complete the regular grade curriculum which they've shown mastery of before moving to the next thing.

    At the end of the email, we did request a meeting. This was sent last Wednesday PM, so they would have received Thursday. As we've gotten no reply, my inclination is to email again to ensure they are not going to show up at our parent-teacher conference on Friday. We'd really like those conferences to include DS9 and DS7 (only attending their own session), and not have a high-stakes meeting about HiCap as the sole focus. We want to use that time to talk about the other parts of school - behavior, citizenship, specifics about chosen science curriculum, book clubs, etc. We want the kids there for these conferences so they hear what we hear.

    Would you write another email this week? Should I wait until Wednesday as that gives them a week to respond?
    _________________________
    Boys age 7&9 grades 2&4.
    SW Washington State (near Portland, OR)

    Top
    #240208 - 10/24/17 10:27 AM Re: Need help with advocacy [Re: MamaRachel]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4311
    Caution - Warning: This post contains a critique.
    Click to reveal..
    Originally Posted By: MamaRachel
    Update:

    There was a district-level meeting last week, with an educational consultant doing the presentation. Ed consultant stated pretest - show mastery (maybe do last 3-4 problems in unit - move on, as the ideal way to keep these kids challenged.

    This is contrary to the current application in-district for how to deal with HiCap kids, as evidenced by the email from the teacher. Teacher wants kids to do regular work first.
    - Was there conversation regarding the discrepancy between the two approaches?
    - Was there a commitment to try the Ed consultant's approach for a specified length of time? It appears that focusing on this may bring about a positive change for your child's classroom experience, and better meet your child's needs.
    - Did either the parents or the Ed consultant write a recap of the meeting?
    - Have you been in contact with with Ed consultant since the meeting?

    Originally Posted By: MamaRachel

    We have our regular parent-teacher conferences on Friday afternoon this week for both kids. Late last week we (DH and I together) authored an email to the district HiCap coordinator which has not been responded to, voicing our frustration with the status quo.
    Hmmmmm...
    - Was this approach suggested by the Ed consultant?
    - This approach was NOT suggested by the multiple resources and discussion threads linked in a post upthread. In fact, the OPPOSITE is recommended:
    -- Avoid emotion (such as mention of frustration),
    -- Focus on child's needs.

    Originally Posted By: MamaRachel
    Specifically mentioned and emphasized:

    - Implementation method with small group clusters isn't going to work if the teachers can opt out. Our grade opted-out of traveling students to other classrooms daily for small group work. If the district thinks this is the golden ticket, they should mandate it. It would be wise to survey the teachers on their application of the small group clusters, and do in-class observations.
    - There may be multiple ways to meet your child's needs.
    - Is your district administration compliant with your State Laws, and with the school board policy and practice statements?

    Originally Posted By: ManaRachel
    - The district is providing teacher training - great. They offered 2 days in summer, 1 2-hr class on an in-service day, 1 2-hr class in the evening after school. The teachers can get "hours" for these classes, but the time is unpaid (except the in-service day). The training is not compulsory. We suggested some of the discomfort parents had with the current program is that we don't know if our teacher has been trained. If they want parents to feel more comfortable with a spread offense (kids in small clusters throughout the grades rather than a focused single-classroom), they need to pay the teachers for training, or make completion compulsory for teachers choosing to be "HiCap" teachers.
    When a parent makes a statement such as "they need to pay the teachers for training"...
    1- the parent is ignoring other sources of motivation, such as:
    -- many teachers seek information on giftedness and connections with the gifted community, through the free Davidson Educator's Guild,
    -- there are also teachers who've experienced giftedness themselves, and/or in a spouse, relative, or offspring... and have become motivated to become self-taught in giftedness.
    2- the parent is speaking from opinion, not from law or policy,
    3- the parent is no longer focused on their child's needs.

    Originally Posted By: MamaRachel
    - Pace. The pace is all wrong if you want these kids to first complete the regular grade curriculum which they've shown mastery of before moving to the next thing.
    Is it possible that the pace is just right if the school wants to ensure that children are kept so busy with the regular grade curriculum that no one can work ahead... teachers and schools are increasingly being evaluated on achieving equal outcomes for all kids. Have you looked into the teacher evaluation process and the school evaluation/rating/ranking process?

    Originally Posted By: MamaRachel
    At the end of the email, we did request a meeting. This was sent last Wednesday PM, so they would have received Thursday. As we've gotten no reply, my inclination is to email again to ensure they are not going to show up at our parent-teacher conference on Friday. We'd really like those conferences to include DS9 and DS7 (only attending their own session), and not have a high-stakes meeting about HiCap as the sole focus. We want to use that time to talk about the other parts of school - behavior, citizenship, specifics about chosen science curriculum, book clubs, etc. We want the kids there for these conferences so they hear what we hear.
    Make a list for your own use, and review it with your spouse and children prior to the meeting on Friday. The idea is for your family members to all be on the same page and use the parent-teacher-student conference time in a focused manner. For example, your list might include:
    - behavior
    - citizenship
    - specifics about chosen science curriculum
    - book clubs
    ... and might allow enough space to take notes on each item during the conference.

    Originally Posted By: MamaRachel
    Would you write another email this week? Should I wait until Wednesday as that gives them a week to respond?
    Based upon your post here, some may say your e-mail would be better described as venting, and not as advocacy.

    Rather than sending another e-mail at this time, I would suggest spending the time:
    - preparing your family members and managing their expectations for the upcoming conference,
    - reading up on advocacy approaches... both from published resources, and from forum discussion threads.


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