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    #45531 - 04/25/09 03:48 PM Figuring out how to advocate for DS4
    nova147 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 04/25/09
    Posts: 6
    I'm thankful to have found this forum. Finally, a group of people who know the frustration that I'm feeling!

    DS4 does not make the kindergarten cutoff for this fall. We live in Illinois where the law allows districts to admit students early. DS has been attending our local Catholic preschool and our intent has been to send him there for all of his schooling.

    I started noticing signs of giftedness when he was 18 months, but chose to ignore them (I didn't want to be that crazy first time mom). We were looking at a book one day at my mom's (we go there once every month or two) with shapes, and he told me what the shapes were -- I had not spent any time on shapes with him. I'm sure I had said things like "Oh, look at that circle", but nothing more. And no one else had either. At any rate, I tried to put this out of my mind and just play with him. Over the next year, his interests turned to letters, so we bought lots of letter toys. And he soon learned all of them and began asking about their sounds. By 2 3/4, he knew all the letter sounds and a few blends. About 6 weeks after his third birthday, he could read simple books (Bob books).

    Now, at 4 1/2, he can read at an end of 1st grade level. He does addition and subtraction, understands the concept behind multiplication and can do division (actually doing multiplication is tough for him). He can count by 2s, 3s, 5s, and 10s.

    We have talked with his preschool teacher and the Catholic school principal about early kindergarten entrance. His teach is "worried about his social skills". But she cannot tell me any specifics. He is in the 4 year old class, with kids who will be in kindergarten in the fall, and she has not mentioned any problems in the classroom. Her biggest compliant: he'd rather talk to her than the kids in class! The principal seems to be unable to make her own decisions. She asked us to get educational testing done. So we went to the public school and he met with the psychologist for about an hour. During that meeting, the psychologist called in the (public school) principal and both of them were amazed at his abilities. She said his verbal and nonverbal IQ scores were both 135. Unfortunately, the superintendent in our district has chosen to take the hard line and not allow any early admissions. So, the psychologist called the Catholic school principal, who said she was going to do whatever the district did! (Oh, and also told her it was illegal to admit students early -- the same stupid argument she tried to give me 6 months ago, before I handed her a printout of the Illinois code proving otherwise.)

    So we are now in a really frustrating situation. I don't know what to do -- I plan to sit down with the Catholic school principal again and try to make her see reason. We may also try to get him into a different Catholic school in the area. And I may try to talk to the superintendent. I just wish someone would recognize how harmful it is going to be for him to wait another year for kindergarten! If his social skills are the concern, do they really think hanging out with YOUNGER kids will help him mature? Ugh.

    Thanks for "listening". I think I just needed to vent a bit. But if anyone has suggestions, I'll take them!

    MJ

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    #45534 - 04/25/09 04:06 PM Re: Figuring out how to advocate for DS4 [Re: nova147]
    melmichigan Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/05/08
    Posts: 679
    I have lots of sympathy and even empathy. Our twins are homeshooling because they wouldn't be allowed into K early here. My oldest DD9 was admitted early, before they changed the policy and it wasn't enough over time.

    I would definately look into other private schools in the area and even other school districts if it is a drive you'd be willing to do on a daily basis. I would also ask what the plan would be if he started school the following year. Would he still be expected to sit through K? Are they willing to do achievement testing and place him accordingly? That might give you even more insight into what the different schools stances are on gifted children and whether it is worth fighting with them over this or looking for other options.
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    #45542 - 04/25/09 06:07 PM Re: Figuring out how to advocate for DS4 [Re: melmichigan]
    marieg Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/16/09
    Posts: 112
    When you mention the superintendent in your district, do you mean the public school superintendent or the Catholic school one (sorry, I don't know how Catholic schools work)?

    You are strong on a Catholic school but will public school better accomodate you? I am also in IL. The local Catholic school here cannot accomodate gifted programs because they simply don't have the # of student nor the money. Are you sure once you get into Catholic school(even if you get in early) they have the programs already there you will want?

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    #45616 - 04/26/09 07:01 PM Re: Figuring out how to advocate for DS4 [Re: melmichigan]
    nova147 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 04/25/09
    Posts: 6
    it seems our district is making this change suddenly as well; however the district has never tested a child who met the criteria they had used up to this point. DS met those criteria, but a year too late, I guess. frown

    We do plan to look at other private schools. There are a few gifted magnet schools in our area, but they are an hour drive away, which just isn't feasible for us. Perhaps in a few years he could take a cab to and from school, but until then, we'll have to work closer to home! DH is going to talk with the principal at another area Catholic school. It would be a 20 minute drive, but we could make that work.

    As for what they will do with him in the future, I intend to sit down with both the public school and the Catholic school in town to determine that. Several parents in our parish have said that their children are gifted and are doing well in the parish school, but I obviously have no idea how their children compare to mine, and haven't talked much with them about what is being done to accommodate their needs. (Many of these conversations have been geared towards convincing me my child should not be in kindergarten this fall.) I'm going to bring this up with this preschool teacher as a prelude to a conversation with the principal and hopefully at least one elementary teacher to get an idea of how they handle gifted children. I will also be talking with the school psychologist in the district, and DS is going in for preschool screening, so I'll chat with whomever does that as well. (We may be sending him to preschool in the district this fall, if we can't get him into kindergarten, just to gain as much information as we can.)

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    #45617 - 04/26/09 07:05 PM Re: Figuring out how to advocate for DS4 [Re: marieg]
    nova147 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 04/25/09
    Posts: 6
    I mean the public school superintendent. The Catholic school principal answers first to the parish priest and then to the diocese.

    I'm not certain that either the public or Catholic school can accommodate DS. I haven't heard good things about the public school's gifted program, especially in the early years. My preference for the Catholic school at this point is to establish a strong faith foundation before DS goes into another type of school environment. It's not essential -- we will educate him in whatever way is most effective to his learning -- but that's where I'm coming from at this point.

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    #45618 - 04/26/09 07:09 PM Re: Figuring out how to advocate for DS4 [Re: master of none]
    nova147 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 04/25/09
    Posts: 6
    I like your idea about half K half preK. That may work. I also plan to offer to remove him if it's not working. I'm not sure about writing a letter to the principal. While he is capable of it, I wonder how he would feel if it did no good.

    I'm shocked that the school won't take children who are reading. That's a new one!

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    #45624 - 04/26/09 08:33 PM Re: Figuring out how to advocate for DS4 [Re: nova147]
    Katelyn'sM om Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/22/08
    Posts: 1085
    Loc: Austin, TX
    Does your state leave early admission up to the districts? Our state does that and each district does different things. I live in a metropolitan area with over 6 districts. My district has strict guidelines for early admissions while the adjourning one will not even consider early admissions. What they do is test the child in Kindergarten within the first month and then decide if it warrants a move to 1st grade. I have not heard of moving them 2 grades up.

    It sounds like the district you are looking into is similar to the one I just described. I really do feel for you and it sounds like you are strongly advocating for your child which is a noble thing. Keep pounding on the doors and know we are here for support.

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    #45638 - 04/27/09 06:56 AM Re: Figuring out how to advocate for DS4 [Re: Katelyn'sM om]
    nova147 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 04/25/09
    Posts: 6
    Yes, Illinois leaves early entrance up to the district. This is even more frustrating for me because I have a close friend with a gifted preschooler who will attend kindergarten in the fall -- too bad we don't live in her district!


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