Need help with advocacy

Posted by: MamaRachel

Need help with advocacy - 10/16/17 09:27 AM

Background... DS9 is ready for more math and has been for years. We've been passive, allowing him to do the easy math at school, while using Beast Academy at home.

DS9 is now enrolled in JH CTY math, using at home. Ask was for DS9 to use that curriculum in place of the Ready 4 math curriculum (iReady series). Child pre-tested in September at early grade 5 level in most, mid-6 in geometry (thank you BA 3A!). School has never provided out-of-level instruction. School has provided "extension worksheets" with 1) no instruction 2) no correction / review. I think extension worksheets are not suitable without instruction. If DS9 knows how to do the problem, he gets it correct. If he doesn't, he makes up his own way to figure it out, sometimes right, mostly wrong, and never gets feedback

Reply from teacher:
Quote:

removed for privacy. Basically teacher saying "I think DS should do the regular work even though he tests out of it because it might get more challenging later in the year."

We will not support your program (JHU CTY).


What I want to say is that 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.

The teacher mentions he wants DS to do the regular lesson, follow along, pay attention, and participate. DS is bored. Of course he is doodling, not participating (he's never been a huge participant in class out-loud), not paying attention. If the teacher had to sit through a training on something he already knows 100%, he'd be texting his wife, checking in on his sports teams, or doodling too. It's unfair to expect a 9YO to be / act captivated by something so boring to him.

The school knows he is bright in math. He scored first place in the Math is Cool qualifier and represented the school at the state contest last year. That competition was for 4th graders and he was only in 3rd grade. He did better than that entire class of 4th graders just 6-months ago.

This child, at age 4, told me that 1/2 of a 5K race is the same as 1/4 of a 10K race. His VSI is 147. Right now he "hates math" because it's so boring. I'm teaching him number theory and pre-algebra at home and for the first time he thinks math is actually fun. I wish I'd started advocating years ago.

We will have a parent conference in the next 2 weeks. I need some help with words. I need some help really advocating for this kid. We've BTDT. They resist acceleration because he doesn't know the next thing but he's never been given the opportunity to learn it.

Posted by: ElizabethN

Re: Need help with advocacy - 10/16/17 10:14 AM

Is he in public school? If so, you might want to consider pulling him out of school math entirely and homeschooling him in that subject. It is your right in Washington state to send a kid to school part-time if you want.
Posted by: MamaRachel

Re: Need help with advocacy - 10/16/17 10:25 AM

Originally Posted By: ElizabethN
Is he in public school? If so, you might want to consider pulling him out of school math entirely and homeschooling him in that subject. It is your right in Washington state to send a kid to school part-time if you want.


I've seen this suggested before. Does anyone have any stories of "how"? I am *this close* to going with this method. I'm almost informally asking for this now, by asking for him to do the CTY math instead of their curriculum.

DH and I both work full-time, in demanding careers. I can't be home every day during the school day to teach. DH doesn't have the aptitude or patience for maths (he's extremely strong in ELA though, we balance well there).

Why I think I can't do this:

DS9 is very busy, and dislikes doing math at home, at night, because it eats up his free time (he swims 3-4 days per week for 90 minutes meaning evenings are tight already).

If I say I'm "homeschooling" him in this subject, do I have to have him at the school for fewer hours in the day? How does that work?

How have other families made this work?
Posted by: MamaRachel

Re: Need help with advocacy - 10/16/17 10:27 AM

Originally Posted By: Portia
I was never successful with advocacy. I hope the others will guide you with the voice you need.

That said, you mentioned BA as an excellent program for your son. The upper levels, Art of Problem Solving, are accredited. Try to see if they will accept AoPS. He can do the class at home, then work on the problems during "regular" math time. Any questsions, AoPS provides support. The only school support he would need would revolve around technology. Pre-Alg would be a great starting point as it does a wonderful review prior math concepts.


JH CTY is also accredited and I made sure the school knows that. They are saying no. The reason I picked JH CTY is because there is an instructor available rather than relying on a completely self-taught instruction via workbooks. It's SO expensive though. Ugh.
Posted by: MamaRachel

Re: Need help with advocacy - 10/16/17 01:45 PM

Originally Posted By: spaghetti
Check your state laws to be sure that "partial homeschooling" is allowed and how to do it.

If it is allowed, educate yourself fully on how it works and work out a schedule with the principal.


I've been searching for information on the application of this law and am coming up empty. If someone has direct experience, or knows where I can find some success stories, I'd appreciate some feedback on this particular topic.


Originally Posted By: spaghetti

If he is going to stay in school for math, you may have to push them with logic and not let them squirm. You see in her letter a lot of "I believe" and "I'd like". You can ask her what she bases that on, ask if other kids that test early 5th are asked to repeat 4th. If they mention gaps, ask what testing they have that shows gaps.


Funny enough, I just logged into the JH CTY math program and see that my DS did a unit today, taking the quiz at 11:40AM. The email says "after this and this, then he can do your thing" so he must have completed those required lessons quickly if he had time to work through an entire unit during the day. This is good news, and I'm tempted to see how this moves forward without ruffling feathers too much.

I do like your approach for calling out the soft words. The teacher (male - btw, not that it's super relevant), doesn't cite evidence of his need to repeat the content other than these soft "feeling" words. I have the iReady test results in front of me. I can cite data. I will use this method in the meeting. Good idea, thank you.

Originally Posted By: spaghetti


Math teachers, especially, have drilled into them that if you skip anything, you will have gaps. There are a lot of kids who do well in lower level math and then flounder when they hit more abstract math. They hear a lot about it and the need to make sure those foundations are super strong. Then you come along and want to blow all that up. But blow it up you must.

At home, make sure you are not scaffolding too much, because even if he can do higher math, he needs the maturity to be able to approach problems, think them through and stick with it til he has an answer. My kids were advanced in math-- and accelerated 2-5 years (depending on when) and this was something that needed maturity. But one year accelerated, seriously, math in elementary repeats and repeats and repeats.



I'm not sure I understand what you mean by scaffolding too much.

??

I thought scaffolding was teaching multiple approaches, practice, then allowing the student to take control of how they approach each problem using increasing difficulty? Do I not understand scaffolding correctly? How could that be too much? Can you elaborate here?

My intention for this kid is only to keep him challenged. That's it. He is so bored at school. I'm not trying to get him ahead, pushing super hard. In fact, I wish I didn't have to serve up this additional math because it sure would be easier on everyone. The fact is that it doesn't matter whether I teach it or not, he's going to grasp this stuff so much faster than many peers.

Originally Posted By: spaghetti

You are right that with a sport, and increasing homework with age, the after schooling may become less appealing to him. But it may also be really hard for them to move him up in math if they don't have the structure for it-- scheduling this year, then what next year? I can assure you that your child is not the only one who can benefit. And THAT is what I told them. Surely, my child is not the only one who is ready for this. Do you think we could have a group of kids to do 5th grade math this year? If teacher looked at 5th grade curriculum, it doesn't bode well. I'd hope she KNOWS 5th grade curriculum since she's prepping the kids for it. I'm guessing she is not strong in math herself and if that's the case, you will need to make her more comfortable by bringing the expert info in.

Suggest pre-tests where he tests out of a whole unit and then does the math you provide and agree on a passing score (85%?)

We tried and tried for that, but alas, it's just really hard for them to let go of the "strong foundation" and "can't have too much practice". Even if you tell them your child is bored or hates math, they won't see it as not enough math challenge, they'll see it as tuning out and missing important things. BTDT

Good luck! Thankfully we had math acceleration built in to our schools.


Our school does pre-test, as I have those results in front of me. What I see is that it doesn't matter. Pre-test, pass, do what you have demonstrated mastery of anyway... That's where we are today.

I have to be honest. As much as I care about the whole school and supporting other kids, the easiest solution for me to win with is going to be with my one child (well, two, but the 2nd is a different case study). I can't say I don't care about the other kids, because I do, but they are not my focus. I've tried that for the last two years. I've attended school board meetings and been highly involved with working with the development of a HiCap program. I'm on the parent-advisory committee.

It's all unicorns. The words the district uses do not translate into actions at the classroom level. I can advocate for whole-school change but the bureaucracy will prevent it from impacting my kids. I have to put my actual effort into individual accommodations rather than fixing a broken system at this time.

Why am I such a chicken when I get in front of the people that matter? Does anyone else experience this? I can prepare and prepare, and they start talking and I shut-down in these meetings, allowing them to use their method. Again and again I've been disappointed. This is where I need to change my approach. I need to be more firm. I just don't want things to be adversarial. I'm afraid of the repercussions of that long-term as I have to work with these people for the next 11 years.
Posted by: longcut

Re: Need help with advocacy - 10/16/17 02:26 PM

As someone who has done part-time dual enrollment homeschool, it is very specific to your state law as to what you can do. 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). Meaning, we could not do a class at home in the evening, and send work to do in the classroom; the child had to leave the school for the minimum hours per day. Our school was also not flexible regarding alternate curriculum and would not allow substitution; very by the book on district policy. So, it depends really on your school administrator, laws, and district policies. But it's a great solution if you can swing it. It was a stop-gap for us until GT services kicked in.

Also, meeting with school people was intimidating to me the first couple times. It took me a while to convince myself that we were a team, and they are just people (doing their jobs, and caring about kids) not my own personal authority figures. ;-) It takes practice and a sort of mental plan of how to accomplish shared goals -- a happy, growing kid -- with input from all sides. And knowing you won't win all the battles -- the teacher has multiple kids, so you have to figure out what is reasonably done, and what rights you have that fall under the district goals (like, if measurable growth is part of a mission statement, then you ask how we can ensure measurable growth, and challenge in the zone of proximal development; I love that one, I think aeh first tuned me into ZPD).
Posted by: BenjaminL

Re: Need help with advocacy - 10/16/17 02:36 PM

http://washhomeschool.org/advocacy/part-time-enrollment/
has info on WA State partial homeschooling.

You're going to need to file a declaration of intent to homeschool with your district and that's usually about it.

I'm going to assume you're in Vancouver in which case its here:
http://vansd.org/student-welfare-attendance/alternative-education/

But I believe you can find the form on every school district's site .

That said, its a pain in the neck to do and if after-schooling is working you might consider having your son treat the math in school like review and just letting it be.




Posted by: MamaRachel

Re: Need help with advocacy - 10/16/17 02:52 PM

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.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Need help with advocacy - 10/16/17 02:56 PM

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.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Need help with advocacy - 10/16/17 03:03 PM

Originally Posted By: MamaRachel
It's all unicorns. The words the district uses do not translate into actions at the classroom level. I can advocate for whole-school change but the bureaucracy will prevent it from impacting my kids. I have to put my actual effort into individual accommodations rather than fixing a broken system at this time.


Been there. And I can tell you that no amount or skill of advocacy will extract a single action from the school that they absolutely will not perform. Sometimes you're tilting at windmills. But you never know until you try.

Quote:
Why am I such a chicken when I get in front of the people that matter? Does anyone else experience this? I can prepare and prepare, and they start talking and I shut-down in these meetings, allowing them to use their method. Again and again I've been disappointed. This is where I need to change my approach. I need to be more firm. I just don't want things to be adversarial. I'm afraid of the repercussions of that long-term as I have to work with these people for the next 11 years.


Probably a personality thing - some people are just better suited to conflict than others. It's for this very reason that I was brought into meetings. Is your DH better suited, and available? Otherwise, I would suggest you come in with notes on the major topics you want to address, and do what you need to to redirect the conversation to your core points when it starts veering off the track.

Be prepared that it may turn adversarial no matter what you do, because you can't control other people's reactions. But you're there to ensure your DS gets a proper education, not to make friends.
Posted by: BenjaminL

Re: Need help with advocacy - 10/16/17 03:05 PM

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.
Posted by: MamaRachel

Re: Need help with advocacy - 10/16/17 03:20 PM

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).
Posted by: MamaRachel

Re: Need help with advocacy - 10/16/17 03:26 PM

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.
Posted by: twallace

Re: Need help with advocacy - 10/16/17 08:36 PM

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!
Posted by: indigo

Re: Need help with advocacy - 10/16/17 10:28 PM

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.
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Need help with advocacy - 10/17/17 07:53 AM

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
Posted by: MamaRachel

Re: Need help with advocacy - 10/23/17 08:59 AM

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?
Posted by: indigo

Re: Need help with advocacy - 10/24/17 10:27 AM

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.