Math acc. from state to state

Posted by: ahaf

Math acc. from state to state - 01/24/20 10:04 AM

We moved states this December from one high achieving school district to another. In our old district my son who is currently in 3rd grade was formally identified as gifted in 1st grade after some testing and classroom projects. (WISC-V score 148). He is naturally talented in Math. He skipped 1st grade math after acc. exam at the beginning of 1st grade and starting doing 2nd grade math. His math teacher in 3rd grade recommended 4th grade math acceleration test. That test is very rigorous and the students are required to explain their thinking. He passed that and started doing 5th grade math as a 3rd grade. He became the 2nd student in 10 years to get accelerated twice.This is when he finally started learning new things, the pace and the content was just right for him. His NWEA scores went up.

We moved due to job change, this school doesn't have a pull out gifted program but they have ability grouped classes and the 3rd graders in high ability class do 4th grade math. it has been 3 weeks now and my son feels like he repeating what he did previously and it is all so easy. He mentioned that he was getting good grades in 5th grade math so why he has been put back in 4th grade at this new school.
The administration here is not very responsive or receptive to this idea of advancing him in math. Initially they simply refused to even look at it. Then they administered NWEA MAP. His composite score is 246 and the subset scores are 263,264,244,243,244 and 223. Now they are saying that he has gap in algebraic thinking area where he scored 223 so they won't accelerate him. We have been trying to advocate for him through emails but it has been very difficult.They are finally meeting us next week but mentioned that they will answer questions about what kind of math instructions he will get with his current teacher. So basically they are not open to this idea. They say that they are re-evaluating their policy around this. He really needs to be at the level where he was. He has this intuitive understanding in this subject and figure out things without any instructions. How can we advocate effectively? Do we even have a chance? my only fear is that he will become disinterested. He already said that he daydreams during math lesson. Has anyone experienced this kind of situation? Are the schools allowed to change/lower student's grade like this?
Posted by: puffin

Re: Math acc. from state to state - 01/27/20 12:13 PM

Maybe sign up to Beast Academy or something at home. I think probably the new school can choose not to continue an unusual arrangement from another school.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Math acc. from state to state - 01/27/20 12:59 PM

You've received great information above; many parents provide learning opportunities outside of school, when the school does not meet a child's academic / educational needs.

Originally Posted By: ahaf
How can we advocate effectively?
A few thoughts:
1) The links and information in this advocacy roundup may be of interest.
2) Some tips for preparing a student for self-advocacy.
3) Would the prior school write a letter outlining their process, decisions, and how well their classes met your son's academic needs in mathematics?
Posted by: Portia

Re: Math acc. from state to state - 01/28/20 06:00 AM

You may need to consider changing schools or homeschooling. The school has been very clear as to its stance.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Math acc. from state to state - 01/28/20 09:15 AM

That was my first thought, too, Portia! But one tiny statement gave me hope that if carefully approached, a degree of change may be possible:
Originally Posted By: ahaf
They say that they are re-evaluating their policy around this.
Hopefully the OP will provide a update after the meeting...?
Posted by: ahaf

Re: Math acc. from state to state - 01/28/20 10:28 AM

Thank you everyone for responding. We had the meeting earlier today. The principal told us within first 5 minutes that they are not accelerating and will discuss how they can differentiate. They had Jo Baoler's book Mathematical mindsets 4th grade that the teacher showed us. But the classroom teacher admitted that her differentiation tasks will be limited by the grade level topics.
Prinicial initially said that it is district's policy, when we asked to see the policy, she mentioned that it is their philosophy and upon asking she told us that there are few kids in the district who are twice accelerated in math but none in her building. Their only reasoning for this was that there are 5 more kids who scored in the 99th percentile in math is his class and one of the kid is in the 250 's so what do they do with that kid. I explained to them that they need to consider his ability not just the achievement score and also see the consistency. It was a bit frustrating. I feel like there is a wiggle room but now they have wasted a whole month. I transferred all the records well in advance before moving but nothing was done. I can get the district's high ability coordinator involved but don't want my son to experience any negativity from the school staff if we go to that extreme. We can do some enrichment at home but not homeschool as he loves the recess, sports, PE and the social part of going to school. I feel like giving up but my husband wants to pursue it further. I am not sure at this point.
Posted by: ahaf

Re: Math acc. from state to state - 01/29/20 04:59 AM

Just wanted to add to my response that we found out that they also gave my son an end of the year 5th grade Math test. They are saying that he didn't finish and did not explain his work on some of the questions. However my son says that he finished and showed his work on the questions where it mentioned to do so and he is confident that he did very well and it was not that hard. They have not shared the results with us. My husband has requested to see that test and we are waiting on that. I feel like they are not very transparent with us and that is the reason I have lost faith in them.
Posted by: aeh

Re: Math acc. from state to state - 02/04/20 08:30 PM

I'm sorry you are feeling discouraged. Remember that his education is a long-term project. Sometimes (even often!) there will be short-term setbacks, but that doesn't mean there is no hope for future advocacy attempts or better classroom placements.

On the EOY grade 5 math test: remember that you are not asking for him to be advanced to grade 6 math right now. He received instruction in grade 5 math for three-plus months, so it would be reasonable to unit-test him up through the point where the grade 5 math group is working at this moment, to be sure that he could walk in without gaps. No one expects students placed in grade 5 math to have already mastered all of the curriculum. So that is a possible point of pushback, should your family decide to keep going with this.

And, as your husband appears to realize, any product that has your DC's work generated on it falls within FERPA, which means you have a right to request a copy of it, or an opportunity to inspect it thoroughly (in the case of assessments with intellectual property protections), or to request that a qualified professional of your choice have a copy of it to review with you (in the case of, for instance, B- and C-level instruments like IQ and individual achievement tests).
Posted by: puffin

Re: Math acc. from state to state - 02/06/20 08:59 PM

Also consider their plan may be to string you along until March and then tell you it is too near the end of the year and they will look at it at the beginning of next year. Then they will tell you they have to wait and see how he manages with the new teacher and do observations and ....
Posted by: ahaf

Re: Math acc. from state to state - 02/07/20 06:08 AM

We got to see the EOY 5th grade test. It was a big packet. My son skipped through a page. When he flipped the page he accidentally double flipped (went straight page 4 to 7 so didn't do a number of questions). The teacher should have pointed out to him when she took it back because he had no idea that happened. Overall he did well and showed his work mathematically but he didn't do very well on "explain your answer" type of written responses.

I had no idea that he will be given a test like that or else I would have reminded him to double check and do his best on written responses (because he is not very keen on doing that usually). But I am not putting any blame on him as the school was just trying to find excuses. He did really well overall.

We got a final response from the district coordinator in which she thanked us to be part of the decision making and that we find solace in the fact that they will work hard to meet our child’s unique needs. She also sent a copy of school board policy where it states that each student be moved forward in a continuous pattern of achievement and growth that is in harmony with his/her own development. Following sound principles of child guidance, the Board discourages the skipping of grades and also that they have the final power. We sent her a response that we didn't feel like the part of decision making at all and it has been enforced upon us and that we will continue to monitor his progress. We believe that they should at least know how we feel.

We tried our best though. I feel like his teacher is making an effort. She gives him MOEM (math olympiads problems) to work on and helps him if he is stuck. She is not making him do those grade level worksheets in class or as homework. He loves reading Beast academy comic guide books.

The lesson learnt here is if there is a school that is meeting your child's needs very well then don't take it for granted and think very carefully before changing schools or moving.

I appreciate all the feedback and responses!
Posted by: indigo

Re: Math acc. from state to state - 02/07/20 04:24 PM

ahaf, you've received more great insights from aeh & puffin. smile

I'll just add that is imperative that you, your husband, and your son are all in agreement. Ideally, this will take the form of both parents supporting the goals of the son. Please have deep and meaningful conversations about this at home, on a regular and ongoing basis, so you can all get in sync and stay in sync as time passes and circumstances change.

As there are a few kids in the district who are twice accelerated in math, but none in this Principal's building... is it possible for your son to attend a different school in the district, where double-acceleration is occurring?

One more thing: having all of your son's scores and records sent to the new school may be quite different than having a teacher at the former school write a letter of recommendation, advocating for a second acceleration to meet his needs.