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    #241375 - 02/20/18 08:52 PM Grade skip vs gifted program
    ann55 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 05/11/17
    Posts: 29
    Hi there - it's that time of year where we have to decide on the school to send our kid this coming September.

    We have two options:
    1) Neighbourhood school and requesting a grade skip
    2) School with gifted program (plus grade skip), but we would have to drive her

    She is currently in kindergarten. Her Montessori education is going okay so far. They are letting her read her chapter books (grade 3 level), though she has recently been reading a non fiction book with a lexile measure of 1070L. I am pretty sure by the end of the school year she will have finished up her multiplication curriculum and possibly started basic division. Her geography knowledge is better than most high schoolers.

    I feel that no matter which option we take, we will have to do some afterschooling. My husband wants option 2 because at least the class would be filled with bright students who want to learn. We may have fewer advocacy issues at that school. But we wonder if a grade skip at the local school will be sufficient.

    Has anyone had to deal with this issue? Any questions i should be asking myself or the school? Thank you as always!

    #241376 - 02/21/18 05:36 AM Re: Grade skip vs gifted program [Re: ann55]
    indigo Offline

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4329
    Like many of the parents here, over the years you may find that nothing is sufficient...
    - as most gifted programs teach one year ahead. Period.
    - as highly gifted and profoundly gifted kids can have strong internal motivation to learn... some describe it as:
    • driven
    • compelled
    • unquenchable thirst for knowledge
    • etc
    I would strongly agree to place your child among academic/intellectual peers... or the nearest which can be found. As you mentioned, a school more familiar with gifted pupils may also be more open to advocacy.

    In order to develop well, gifted kids need what ALL kids need:
    1) Appropriate academic challenge,
    2) Intellectual peers.
    However the appropriate academic challenge, and intellectual peers, do not match those of the typical chronological age cohort.

    #241379 - 02/21/18 06:32 AM Re: Grade skip vs gifted program [Re: ann55]
    Dude Offline

    Registered: 10/04/11
    Posts: 2856
    Seems like a no-brainer to me. The choices are:

    1) 2nd grade.
    2) 2nd grade + gifted services

    And the child is already working on 3rd grade math, and reading at a late-6th grade level.

    Clearly, neither choice is going to meet the child at her needs, but the second option is least-worst.

    #241383 - 02/21/18 07:49 AM Re: Grade skip vs gifted program [Re: ann55]
    ann55 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 05/11/17
    Posts: 29
    Thank you, indigo and Dude. I know, as i read your responses I see how silly my question looks! smile

    The lure of our neighbourhood school is strong! But in the end, we know this may be our better option.

    #241385 - 02/21/18 09:06 AM Re: Grade skip vs gifted program [Re: ann55]
    indigo Offline

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4329
    My apologies ann55, if our responses caused you to feel your question was silly! There is NO silly question. And really no one-size-fits-all answers. We can only give you general answers.

    So much of a child's "fit" and success in a particular learning environment depends upon a wide variety of factors:
    - the particular gifted child,
    - the mix of kids in the classroom,
    - the teacher,
    - the school policies (including openness to advocacy),
    - your State laws.

    You asked about questions to discuss with schools. There are some in the post linked to the word "fit" in the list above. smile

    If a time comes when your child needs more academic challenge and/or the company of intellectual peers, you may observe pervasive changes, such as those listed in this brief roundup:

    - not so happy
    for example: change in personality and/or outlook, feeling invalidated, unsupported, unaffirmed, left out, marginalized, ostracized, internalizing a sense of "guilt" for being "privileged" with higher-than-average intelligence, anxious, afraid to make a mistake, bored, hopeless

    - withdrawn from friends
    for example: saying classmates don't "get" her humor, aren't interested in the same things, she has to hide her intelligence and "dumb down" to fit in, etc

    - change in reading habits
    for example: lack of interest in reading in depth about topics of interest, and/or choosing genres influenced by popular taste of kids her chronological age and/or assigned grade level

    - avoiding challenge
    for example: shunning new experiences, procrastinating when faced with learning about topics which she may not be too interested in or naturally good at

    - etc, etc (more at these related posts)

    These observations may signal that a change is needed and may be overdue. These involve quality-of-life factors, rather than being quantitative.
    For a quantitative measure, you might look for a trend in achievement test scores which indicate a lack of growth over time.

    #241389 - 02/21/18 11:26 AM Re: Grade skip vs gifted program [Re: ann55]
    puffin Offline

    Registered: 12/11/12
    Posts: 2035
    Does she have friends at the local school? Can you change your mind later?

    #241391 - 02/21/18 12:27 PM Re: Grade skip vs gifted program [Re: ann55]
    SFParent2015 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 11/06/15
    Posts: 29
    I'd vote in favor of putting her with academic peers. This is based purely on my experience: I attended my local school and was skipped a grade. While it helped academically, it didn't help much socially; I was sociable enough but didn't find real peers, and thus true friendships, until college.

    #241394 - 02/21/18 05:42 PM Re: Grade skip vs gifted program [Re: indigo]
    ann55 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 05/11/17
    Posts: 29
    No need to apologize, indigo! It's more like when you phrase it that way, it's a no brainer. smile

    puffin: she has a few friends at the school, but they wouldn't be in the same grade.

    SFParent2015: i was thinking about my sister who was miserable for 4 years at our local school and finally found her peers when she moved to a G&T program.

    Thanks everyone - after much thought this may be the way to go for now. The difficult part is now figuring out after school logistics between my husband and me. frown

    #241399 - 02/22/18 07:42 AM Re: Grade skip vs gifted program [Re: ann55]
    indigo Offline

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4329
    Originally Posted By: ann55
    when you phrase it that way, it's a no brainer. smile
    That's because we are only focusing on one variable. In real life, there are many variables to be considered.

    Originally Posted By: ann55
    The difficult part is now figuring out after school logistics between my husband and me. frown
    If I recall, one of the links about "school fit" discussed the idea of making a list of PROs and CONs, which will be different for every family. Work on this with your spouse and child... your family's list will be different than this:

    Option 1: Local School
    - convenient commute
    - may allow more time to spend with child on enrichment activities and/or afterschooling
    - may be able to utilize State laws when advocating
    - may not provide appropriate academic challenge
    - may not group with intellectual peers

    Option 2: Gifted School
    - higher likelihood of academic/intellectual peers
    - may be more open to advocacy (depends on school policy)
    - time spent on length of commute
    - afterschool logistics
    - length of commute may require purchase of a new car earlier than budgeted
    - tuition cost may be a factor

    Even in this skeleton of a list, we see several unknowns. They are denoted by my classic overuse of the word "may."
    - Research your State Laws.
    - Research each school's policies.
    - Review your family budget.
    - Discuss tradeoffs, parental roles, and division of labor.
    - Ask about acceleration at each school (become familiar with the Iowa Acceleration Scale(IAS) and learn whether each school uses it)
    - Scheduling a school visit and time for your daughter to shadow may be helpful for gathering information to fill in the unknowns which are related to school fit. If possible, for each school, arrange a school visit/tour for parents and child, and time for your child to shadow independently:
    1) a day (or half-day) to shadow with the kids she would be with next year
    2) a day (or half-day) to shadow in the grade level which she (and the kids she met during the 1st shadowing experience) would be in next year... to check out the curriculum, classroom rules and expectations, etc at the level she would experience following her acceleration.

    In working with the school to arrange these shadow days, in receiving your child's observations, and in receiving the teacher's feedback on your child's shadowing experience... you may learn a lot about how the school will be to work with, ongoing. You and spouse also get to try out the commute.

    Originally Posted By: ann55
    puffin: she has a few friends at the school, but they wouldn't be in the same grade.
    At the local school, the friends would be in the sending grade... not the receiving grade (the one she accelerates into)? If so, my tip would be to begin to meet new friends who are older... check out whatever activities are offered locally... sports, dance, music, theater, museum, lego, library programs, etc.

    Some activities may be a good fit for a gifted child when the child is at the lower end of the age range. For example: Program for 7-9 year old children may be a decent fit for a gifted 7 year old.

    Learn to advocate for inclusion for your child when there is a minimum age cutoff. In general you may find success by advocating based upon what your child has in common with the age of children the program was designed for. Using the example above of a program for 7-9 year old children (typically 2nd through 4th grade), and advocating for inclusion of a 5 or 6 year old:
    - Child follows instructions well,
    - takes turns,
    - gets along well with older children,
    - reads at or above 4th grade level,
    - or whatever is pertinent to the group or activity for which you are seeking inclusion for your child.

    You may need a letter of reference or teacher recommendation for future inclusion advocacy, so be sure to talk to the leader at the end of the activity or program to inquire on their view of the "fit"... and potentially their willingness to help your child gain access to possible future opportunities. Ask for their contact information, and give them yours. Keep in touch with an occasional positive anecdote. At some point, if they are interested in learning about "kids like her," there are lots of articles to choose from on the Davidson Database.

    Make sure that your child understands that in addition to enjoying the activity itself, being included is an opportunity to possibly meet some kids who may become friends based on conversations sparked by their mutual interest in the activity.

    BTW, if you don't already talk about your day, this may be a great time to begin having those conversations over dinner. All family members looking forward to sharing about their day can be a great life-long aid in self-reflection and an aid in decision-making.

    #241400 - 02/22/18 08:13 AM Re: Grade skip vs gifted program [Re: ann55]
    aquinas Offline

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2299
    Originally Posted By: ann55
    But we wonder if a grade skip at the local school will be sufficient.

    From what you've described, it won't be. Gifted with a grade skip is clearly the better option if logistics allow it.

    For the record, a single grade skip and gifted likely won't be sufficient, either.

    It might sound facile, but these cost-benefit calculations rarely consider the lasting damage that results from an early academic placement that is wildly out of step with the student's needs. It's difficult to assess, but critical in the calculus, and carries very real downstream costs.

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

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