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    #245941 - 08/27/19 01:18 PM Advocating for bright 1st grader - I'm new here
    happynerd Offline
    New Member

    Registered: 07/17/18
    Posts: 1
    I'm new to using this forum, although I registered a year or so ago.

    My son (age 6) is naturally bright, although I don't use the label "gifted" because we haven't done formal testing. He read before his fourth birthday and began doing addition, subtraction, and some multiplication when he was 4. I wish I could take credit for teaching him, but he picked it up naturally on his own. Now, he does double-digit addition with regrouping and is fluent with addition/subtraction/multiplication/division facts. He does mental math faster than I do.

    We didn't seek any advanced work in kindergarten because he needed help with social skills, handwriting, and fine motor skills. But now that he has started first grade, I'd like him to receive more challenging work. He attends a suburban public elementary school where about 40% of students receive free/reduced lunch (i.e., significant poverty population). There is no gifted/talented programming in elementary or middle school.

    He took a grade level assessment at Sylvan Learning Center this summer and tested at 3rd grade level for math and 2nd grade level for reading (although I think that reading score is low, based on what he reads at home).

    I spoke briefly with his first grade teacher about him possibly getting advanced work, and she kind of brushed it off. Last night, I sent her a deferential e-mail, acknowledging the limited resources she has but asking whether we could meet to discuss getting my son independent math work. (I'd be happy if he could do math lessons on Khan Academy on a tablet instead of listening to his classmates learn to count to 50.) Her e-mailed response was essentially, "thanks for this information, I'll keep it in mind, and thanks for your patience."

    I worry about coming across too strong and turning off the teacher (and administrators). Is it appropriate to give the teacher some time to consider this request? How much time?

    I will add -- we do plenty of independent work at home, but I don't want him to be bored at school (which he has already expressed). He loves learning and keeps asking when the teacher will teach him some math.

    Thanks in advance.

    Top
    #245943 - 08/27/19 03:12 PM Re: Advocating for bright 1st grader - I'm new here [Re: happynerd]
    philly103 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/02/17
    Posts: 68
    Iíll say that I donít like that answer. It sounds like sheís blowing you off. I would restate that youíre asking for a meeting and demand, politely, that she give you a date.

    Iíll leave it to others to get into what to take into that meeting. But I will say to check your stateís laws on IEPs. Even if thereís no gifted program, you might still be able to demand an evaluation from the school district and whatever accommodations come with that.

    My state doesnít do gifted until 2nd or 3rd but theyíre still required to honor a request for an IEP from the day you enroll in kindergarten.

    Thereís usually a body of education law that specifically governs that stuff. What state are you in, if you donít mind me asking?

    Top
    #245944 - 08/27/19 03:21 PM Re: Advocating for bright 1st grader - I'm new here [Re: happynerd]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4146
    Welcome!
    smile

    In the past year or so since you've joined, have you happened to read up on Advocacy?

    You may find that you help your child best by studying up on this process, learning your State laws, locating and printing your school's policies, and preparing an organized binder for your documentation.

    Please let us know if you have questions while studying the books, online articles, etc, on the advocacy approach and strategy.

    In my observation and experience, advocacy has become much more difficult since the introduction/adoption of Common Core, with its stated goal of achieving equal outcomes for all pupils.

    Top
    #245945 - 08/27/19 03:32 PM Re: Advocating for bright 1st grader - I'm new here [Re: philly103]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4146
    Originally Posted By: philly103
    Iíll say that I donít like that answer. It sounds like sheís blowing you off. I would restate that youíre asking for a meeting and demand, politely, that she give you a date.

    Iíll leave it to others to get into what to take into that meeting. But I will say to check your stateís laws on IEPs. Even if thereís no gifted program, you might still be able to demand an evaluation from the school district and whatever accommodations come with that.

    My state doesnít do gifted until 2nd or 3rd but theyíre still required to honor a request for an IEP from the day you enroll in kindergarten.

    Thereís usually a body of education law that specifically governs that stuff. What state are you in, if you donít mind me asking?


    Dear happynerd, a few thoughts...

    1) Please read up on advocacy, please do not go kicking the proverbial hornet's nest by "demanding." Take time to prepare yourself well. Know what your goals and next steps are.

    2) You do not need to post your state, or any other information, on this forum in order for others to be able to assist you. Please be aware that many more read the forums than post here. In posting answers to questions others may ask you, you may allow your child to be identified. Instead, consider starting here to seek your State Laws.

    3) A great source for information on IEPs is Wrightslaw.
    Here is one link: Writing Smart IEPs
    A brief roundup on IEPs, here.

    Top
    #245946 - 08/27/19 04:40 PM Re: Advocating for bright 1st grader - I'm new here [Re: indigo]
    philly103 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/02/17
    Posts: 68
    Originally Posted By: indigo
    Originally Posted By: philly103
    Iíll say that I donít like that answer. It sounds like sheís blowing you off. I would restate that youíre asking for a meeting and demand, politely, that she give you a date.

    Iíll leave it to others to get into what to take into that meeting. But I will say to check your stateís laws on IEPs. Even if thereís no gifted program, you might still be able to demand an evaluation from the school district and whatever accommodations come with that.

    My state doesnít do gifted until 2nd or 3rd but theyíre still required to honor a request for an IEP from the day you enroll in kindergarten.

    Thereís usually a body of education law that specifically governs that stuff. What state are you in, if you donít mind me asking?


    Dear happynerd, a few thoughts...

    1) Please read up on advocacy, please do not go kicking the proverbial hornet's nest by "demanding." Take time to prepare yourself well. Know what your goals and next steps are.

    2) You do not need to post your state, or any other information, on this forum in order for others to be able to assist you. Please be aware that many more read the forums than post here. In posting answers to questions others may ask you, you may allow your child to be identified. Instead, consider starting here to seek your State Laws.

    3) A great source for information on IEPs is Wrightslaw.
    Here is one link: Writing Smart IEPs
    A brief roundup on IEPs, here.


    She asked for a meeting. The response she received is that the teacher would keep it in mind. That is not kicking the hornetís nest. When a parent asks for a meeting, the proper response is to schedule the meeting or inform the parent that a meeting will not be scheduled and tell them why.

    When the response is noncommittal then the parent needs to be more direct about what theyíre asking for.

    This parent is very clear about what she wants. She stated that she would like to talk about independent math work for her son. I think plenty of people can advise her on how to conduct the meeting but all of that is secondary to actually getting the meeting or getting an explanation for when such a meeting can occur.

    Top
    #245948 - 08/27/19 06:57 PM Re: Advocating for bright 1st grader - I'm new here [Re: philly103]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4146
    Originally Posted By: philly103
    She asked for a meeting. The response she received is that the teacher would keep it in mind. That is not kicking the hornetís nest.
    Yes, the parent asked for a meeting and the teacher was non-committal. The parent also expressed a concern for coming across too strong and turning off the teacher and/or administrators. Unfortunately, the advice given to "demand" a meeting may do just that. To clarify, it is the "demanding" which may be seen as kicking a hornet's nest.

    Originally Posted By: philly103
    When a parent asks for a meeting, the proper response is to schedule the meeting or inform the parent that a meeting will not be scheduled and tell them why.
    Yes, I agree that may be deemed "the proper response" in polite society. However this is not an interaction of equals. The government schools hold the power, the parents do not. However the law delineates the powers, and the limitations of those powers. The policies fill in on matters where the law may be silent. In general, a parent must educate themselves about the laws and policies to which they may hold the school accountable.

    Originally Posted By: philly103
    When the response is noncommittal then the parent needs to be more direct about what theyíre asking for.
    Yes, once the parent(s) is/are up to speed on the laws/policies, aware of how things work, and positive that the child and parents/guardians are all on the same page... once they have read up on advocacy... they may be more direct about what they are asking for.

    Originally Posted By: philly103
    This parent is very clear about what she wants. She stated that she would like to talk about independent math work for her son.
    A few thoughts...
    - While the parent is interested in independent work, the son has expressed an interest in having his teacher teach him math. This may be a difference in expectations worth exploring via family conversation.
    - Taking time to read up on advocacy, a parent may learn that advanced math may be considered a single-subject acceleration (SSA). Prior to allowing SSA, a school may have the child take the end of year test. Anticipating this, a parent could proactively look at the Common Core Standards for Math, specifically the content for Grade 1 (also possibly Grades 2 and 3) to informally assess what her son knows and what he may be ready to learn next. Gaining this foundational knowledge, parents are prepared to understand and discuss any school end-of-year test results in terms of which standards their son has met. In following links on this forum, parents may learn that when a school gives a student the end-of-year test as part of determining whether the student may have advanced coursework, schools may set different cut scores... for example, at the end-of-year, 80% may be sufficient for that student to pass and move on to the next year's lessons... however 100% may be required for a bright student to receive advanced coursework early. Parents may want to inquire in advance what the cut-score will be... and consider it negotiable.
    - In reading advocacy links, parents may learn that students need appropriate curriculum and also intellectual peers. Taking math with other students (2nd graders, 3rd graders) may be a better placement, a better "fit", may better meet their child's needs.
    - In reading up on advocacy, parents may become familiar with the educational profession's vocabulary/lexicon/nomenclature and be less likely to freeze like deer in the headlights.

    Originally Posted By: philly103
    I think plenty of people can advise her on how to conduct the meeting but all of that is secondary to actually getting the meeting or getting an explanation for when such a meeting can occur.
    As the initial response to the parental inquiry did not demonstrate being receptive to the parent's request for advanced math... that signals a need for the parents to be well-prepared for advocacy. It may be unwise to press for a meeting, and then begin to prepare. I suggest preparing well, and then asking again for a meeting.

    Top
    #245953 - 08/28/19 05:29 AM Re: Advocating for bright 1st grader - I'm new here [Re: indigo]
    philly103 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/02/17
    Posts: 68
    Originally Posted By: indigo
    Originally Posted By: philly103
    She asked for a meeting. The response she received is that the teacher would keep it in mind. That is not kicking the hornetís nest.
    Yes, the parent asked for a meeting and the teacher was non-committal. The parent also expressed a concern for coming across too strong and turning off the teacher and/or administrators. Unfortunately, the advice given to "demand" a meeting may do just that. To clarify, it is the "demanding" which may be seen as kicking a hornet's nest.

    Originally Posted By: philly103
    When a parent asks for a meeting, the proper response is to schedule the meeting or inform the parent that a meeting will not be scheduled and tell them why.
    Yes, I agree that may be deemed "the proper response" in polite society. However this is not an interaction of equals. The government schools hold the power, the parents do not. However the law delineates the powers, and the limitations of those powers. The policies fill in on matters where the law may be silent. In general, a parent must educate themselves about the laws and policies to which they may hold the school accountable.

    Originally Posted By: philly103
    When the response is noncommittal then the parent needs to be more direct about what theyíre asking for.
    Yes, once the parent(s) is/are up to speed on the laws/policies, aware of how things work, and positive that the child and parents/guardians are all on the same page... once they have read up on advocacy... they may be more direct about what they are asking for.

    Originally Posted By: philly103
    This parent is very clear about what she wants. She stated that she would like to talk about independent math work for her son.
    A few thoughts...
    - While the parent is interested in independent work, the son has expressed an interest in having his teacher teach him math. This may be a difference in expectations worth exploring via family conversation.
    - Taking time to read up on advocacy, a parent may learn that advanced math may be considered a single-subject acceleration (SSA). Prior to allowing SSA, a school may have the child take the end of year test. Anticipating this, a parent could proactively look at the Common Core Standards for Math, specifically the content for Grade 1 (also possibly Grades 2 and 3) to informally assess what her son knows and what he may be ready to learn next. Gaining this foundational knowledge, parents are prepared to understand and discuss any school end-of-year test results in terms of which standards their son has met. In following links on this forum, parents may learn that when a school gives a student the end-of-year test as part of determining whether the student may have advanced coursework, schools may set different cut scores... for example, at the end-of-year, 80% may be sufficient for that student to pass and move on to the next year's lessons... however 100% may be required for a bright student to receive advanced coursework early. Parents may want to inquire in advance what the cut-score will be... and consider it negotiable.
    - In reading advocacy links, parents may learn that students need appropriate curriculum and also intellectual peers. Taking math with other students (2nd graders, 3rd graders) may be a better placement, a better "fit", may better meet their child's needs.
    - In reading up on advocacy, parents may become familiar with the educational profession's vocabulary/lexicon/nomenclature and be less likely to freeze like deer in the headlights.

    Originally Posted By: philly103
    I think plenty of people can advise her on how to conduct the meeting but all of that is secondary to actually getting the meeting or getting an explanation for when such a meeting can occur.
    As the initial response to the parental inquiry did not demonstrate being receptive to the parent's request for advanced math... that signals a need for the parents to be well-prepared for advocacy. It may be unwise to press for a meeting, and then begin to prepare. I suggest preparing well, and then asking again for a meeting.


    One of the biggest hurdles people face in getting what they need is undue deference to the other party. A parent-teacher meeting is the bare minimum in opening a dialogue with the school about expectations. Hers and theirs. If she continues to unreasonably defer on something that fundamental she is losing time for actual advocacy. And her child will suffer for it.

    As for the rest - thatís what a meeting is for. Insisting on a meeting does not mean insisting on a course of action from the school. The meeting can be a chance to have a serious dialogue, a way to establish the relationship, to learn the teacherís approach in a more direct conversation than back and forth emails.

    Lastly, the power differential is not as lopsided as implied. Public schools are bound by far more rules than privates. They are often obligated to do certain things upon parental request. Ideally, the 2 groups can work it out on their own but if not, yhe parent has tools.

    But as with all such things, time is important. Thereís little value in delaying a conversation with the teacher and establishing that you intend to be involved.

    This is my last post in this thread. I have no interest in derailing it on what is clearly a difference of opinion.

    Top
    #245954 - 08/28/19 05:55 AM Re: Advocating for bright 1st grader - I'm new here [Re: philly103]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4146
    Originally Posted By: philly103
    If she continues to unreasonably defer on something that fundamental she is losing time for actual advocacy.
    As of this moment, the parent may be unprepared for "actual advocacy."

    Originally Posted By: philly103
    And her child will suffer for it.
    It is my observation that children are more likely to suffer if parents rush in, unprepared, and (to use an old expression) shooting from the hip.

    Originally Posted By: philly103
    As for the rest - thatís what a meeting is for. Insisting on a meeting does not mean insisting on a course of action from the school. The meeting can be a chance to have a serious dialogue, a way to establish the relationship, to learn the teacherís approach in a more direct conversation than back and forth emails.
    A meeting may serve this purpose if the parents are well prepared for advocacy, understanding laws, policies, assured that the family is of one mind, has backup plans, etc.

    Originally Posted By: philly103
    Lastly, the power differential is not as lopsided as implied. Public schools are bound by far more rules than privates. They are often obligated to do certain things upon parental request. Ideally, the 2 groups can work it out on their own but if not, the parent has tools.
    The parent has tools if they have studied advocacy, know the laws, policies, etc...

    Originally Posted By: philly103
    But as with all such things, time is important. Thereís little value in delaying a conversation with the teacher and establishing that you intend to be involved.
    We agree that time is important. The parent's best use of it is to learn about advocacy, if they have not already. The parent has already signaled intent to be involved.

    Originally Posted By: philly103
    This is my last post in this thread. I have no interest in derailing it on what is clearly a difference of opinion.
    Possibly a vast difference in level of experience, resulting in different opinions on crucial advice such as whether a parent ought to begin by "demanding" a meeting or begin by studying advocacy approach and strategy. I have a strong interest in providing parents with the best possible foundational knowledge base in hopes of them advocating wisely and not sabotaging their own efforts by "smacking the oobleck with a spoon, creating an unyielding solid."

    Top
    #245966 - 08/29/19 12:32 PM Re: Advocating for bright 1st grader - I'm new here [Re: indigo]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4146
    Another advocacy experience often reported in the forums: Walking into what they thought would be small, friendly meeting with their child's teacher, and being blindsided by a large contingency of teacher(s), admin(s), specialists.

    Parent(s) who have taken the time to study advocacy may be better prepared and less likely to be intimidated by such a show of force.

    Top
    #245967 - 08/29/19 02:19 PM Re: Advocating for bright 1st grader - I'm new here [Re: happynerd]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3463
    In a high needs school in particular, it may be helpful to acknowledge the needs which the teacher is already challenged to support--children at-risk with regard to food insufficiency, housing, family supports, etc. in addition to academic delays--and, if possible, to offer any resources you may have available (e.g., volunteering as a parent helper in the classroom occasionally, supplementing soft classroom needs such as extra facial tissue, pencils, etc. which are often purchased out of pocket by teachers), not only because this would be a compassionate thing to do, but as part of the process of building an alliance and collaborative relationship with the teacher.

    At the same time, one may be clear in drawing parallels between the needs of children whose instructional needs fall above and below that presented in the standard core curriculum, who are equally at risk of becoming disengaged with the educational process, and consequently not blossoming to their potential.

    I will additionally note that the first month of school is typically when teachers are collecting a fair amount of RTI/grouping/intervention data on incoming students, so there may be a lot of assessment demands on her right now, and precious little time for even middle-of-the road instruction, let alone differentiation in either direction. She may not be putting you off, so much as scrambling to stay ahead of all of the administrative requirements imposed on her, some of which may even be cited in her personnel record if she cannot complete them by an arbitrary deadline.

    My thought would be to do your homework on advocacy in your state, so you feel confident going into any conversations with the school, but also allow some grace for the constraints under which the educators in the system may be working. One may be assertive without being adversarial.

    Top


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