Subject Acceleration and Changing Buildings

Posted by: Mr and Mrs P

Subject Acceleration and Changing Buildings - 05/02/16 07:18 PM

DS8 is accelerated from 3rd to 4th in reading. When we held the acceleration committee meeting we looked at accelerating him in Math as well, but decided he was not ready. They say they have been working with him, and testing today done by our psych showed he is pretty much ready for 5th grade Math as well. We will soon be having a meeting with the committee to decide whether to accelerte DS fully into fifth grade at the end of third.

Last fall, the principal was concerned with how they would handle the acceleration going forward because the building he is currently in houses k-4 and having a 4th grader taking 5th grade reading in a different building presented a problem. Bear in mind the two buildings are a football field apart, litrally. The elementary school is kitty corner to one end zone and the middle school parking lot is at the other end zone. The principal suggested that by then they could have DS ready for a full grade acceleration, or they would simply give him fifth grade reading curriculum in his fourth grade classroom.

I am sure some of you have encountered this issue, and wonder how your respective schools handled a similar situation. We want to go into the meeting armed with solutions to the problem. Since the original acceleration committee meeting we have discovered that DS has some EF issues that concern me as far as full grade acceleration. I think that a year of partial middle school will help develop the EF skills he will need going forward.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Subject Acceleration and Changing Buildings - 05/04/16 01:24 PM

Originally Posted By: Mr and Mrs P
I think that a year of partial middle school will help develop the EF skills he will need going forward.
In general, a year of IEP/504 remediation/accommodation to scaffold and direct-teach EF skills may help develop these missing/emerging skills, whereas a year without these explicit supports may not help him gain these skills simply by casual observation of what others do. Here is one old post about grouping accommodations and here is a post listing several resources on EF skills.

Quote:
We will soon be having a meeting with the committee to decide whether to accelerate DS fully into fifth grade at the end of third.
Will the committee be utilizing the Iowa Acceleration Scale (IAS)?

How is he doing socially? Does he have school friends in his current grade level? Does he know kids in the next grade level from extracurriculars such as music, sports, summer camps? Does he make friends easily and readily adapt to new situations? Is he athletic? How does he feel about acceleration, and the options available?

From your post, it looks like options offered include:
- Full grade acceleration to fifth grade
- Fifth grade reading curriculum in his fourth grade classroom.

It is possible that other options could be considered, such as:
Fourth grade, with IEP/504 to remediate/accommodate EF issues, including an aide to walk him to/from 5th grade math at the middle school building. Fifth grade reading curriculum could be in his fourth grade classroom OR aide walks him to/from 5th grade reading at the middle school building. This could provide him with fourth grade gym class which may be a benefit if he is not particularly large and/or athletic. A combined year of 4th grade classes and 5th grade classes could also help him develop friendships with the next class while retaining the ability to see current friends on a daily basis at school.

Edited to add a link to this current thread on a somewhat related situation: skipping grade vs. subject acceleration for gifted.
Posted by: Mr and Mrs P

Re: Subject Acceleration and Changing Buildings - 05/06/16 07:08 PM

Thanks for the feedback, indigo, however I am not trying to find the options for acceleration, we discussed that with DS psych and we know what the better options for DS are. We plan to let the school present their options and go from there.

The issue we wanted to have some ideas for is the fact that he would need to switch buildings during a school day. Personally, I don't see how it would be such a large issue since the buildings are in close proximity, but that is not what the principal was indicating. The principal's idea last fall was to keep DS in the elementary building and just give him fifth grade reading curriculum in a fourth grade classroom, I have grave doubts he will get the instruction he needs / deserves because teachers do not have the time to spend with one child on a different curriculum than the other 25 students. It's not fair to DS or to the other kids.

The principal's other solution was to full grade accelerate and I am not sure DS is ready for that. DS actually told the psych he didn't want to leave his friends in 4th grade, so full acceleration is pretty much off the table as far as DS is concerned.

I was hoping someone had a child who had to switch buildings during the day and could share how their school handled it so we would be armed with solutions to combat the principals manufactured problem.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Subject Acceleration and Changing Buildings - 05/06/16 07:24 PM

Originally Posted By: Mr and Mrs P
The issue we wanted to have some ideas for is the fact that he would need to switch buildings during a school day.
Sorry, this was not clear in your initial post which seemed to indicate the school was offering only these two options:
- full time placement in building which houses 4th grade (providing 5th grade reading in 4th grade classroom)
- full time placement in building which houses 5th grade (being whole-grade accelerated)

It did not seem that the school was offering an option to spend part of the school day in each building. However I understood your post to indicate that you were somewhat uncomfortable with each of the two options offered by the school for various reasons and were seeking to create additional options, which would include splitting time between both buildings, with possible single subject acceleration in reading. And possible single subject acceleration in math?

Originally Posted By: Mr and Mrs P
switch buildings during a school day. Personally, I don't see how it would be such a large issue since the buildings are in close proximity, but that is not what the principal was indicating.
Some possible issues to consider may include: whether the class schedules are aligned/coordinated between the two school buildings, school liability for supervising child throughout the school day (child could not walk alone across football field), amount of time required to walk from school to school during pass time between classes may cause student to be routinely tardy. You may wish to ask the principal directly what his specific concerns are for the logistics.

Originally Posted By: Mr and Mrs P
The principal's idea last fall was to keep DS in the elementary building and just give him fifth grade reading curriculum in a fourth grade classroom, I have grave doubts he will get the instruction he needs / deserves because teachers do not have the time to spend with one child on a different curriculum than the other 25 students. It's not fair to DS or to the other kids.
Because "giving him fifth grade reading curriculum in a fourth grade classroom" is somewhat nebulous, did the principal specify that the classroom teacher would be instructing your child? And/or is the curriculum an online curriculum? And/or would a teacher aide be involved? And/or would the child receive curriculum and be expected to be largely auto-didactic? Would there be any other children also receiving this 5th grade reading curriculum in the fourth grade classroom? You may wish to learn more about what this option entails, prior to making a decision.

Originally Posted By: Mr and Mrs P
switch buildings during the day and could share how their school handled it
usually by school bus however schools were a greater distance apart
Posted by: ElizabethN

Re: Subject Acceleration and Changing Buildings - 05/06/16 10:32 PM

I cannot speak from personal experience. But my daughter is in 6th grade at a 6-12 school, where the middle school and the high school are on different schedules. I asked about this because she is accelerated in math, and she will "run out" of middle school math before she starts high school. I am told that the school has a couple of kids in this situation almost every year. The kids generally end up with a schedule where they attend most but not all of the geometry classes with a high school class, and spend a certain amount of time in the library when they don't have classes on either side. No one mentioned any problem with them getting from place to place, but it's just going two buildings over, and of course these kids are older to begin with.

I would push hard on the idea that he can walk across the football field without needing supervision. In most school districts, students who live closer than half a mile or a mile away do not get a school bus, and are expected to walk to school. Ask why it's ok for the schools to expect him to walk a mile to get to school, but once he's there, he can't walk 100 yards. What if you sign a waiver? And if they really have to be "supervising" him during this time, can't someone watch him out the window? How about if he calls you (or the school secretary) on his cell phone and talks to you while he is making the walk?

If none of that works, but there is a 5th grade classroom that's on the right schedule, can he Skype from one building to another for that time? Maybe there's an isolated computer somewhere in the k-4 building that he could go to participate remotely in a 5th grade class.
Posted by: puffin

Re: Subject Acceleration and Changing Buildings - 05/07/16 12:46 AM

Is there really such a thing as a 'fifth grade reading curriculum' that is different from a 'fourth grade reading curriculum'? My kids just went from learning to read to free reading. Good readers read harder books and more of them but that doesn't require the teacher to do anything.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Subject Acceleration and Changing Buildings - 05/07/16 02:05 AM

Originally Posted By: puffin
Is there really such a thing as a 'fifth grade reading curriculum' that is different from a 'fourth grade reading curriculum'?
Common Core Reading standards for grade 5,
Common Core Reading standards for grade 4.

To provide grades for Reading, there may be writing assignments (such as book reports, essays to compare/contrast two or more books or authors) and vocabulary tests, etc, for which a child may need or benefit from some amount of guidance, coaching, or instruction.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Subject Acceleration and Changing Buildings - 05/07/16 02:17 AM

Originally Posted By: ElizabethN
I would push hard on the idea that he can walk across the football field without needing supervision.
It is possible the EF issues may come into play? That said, there may still be room to successfully negotiate for the child to walk between buildings. The waiver, window, and cell phone are all creative approaches. What about having the child accompanied by an aide (especially if that would be part of the EF IEP/504)?

Originally Posted By: ElizabethN
In most school districts, students who live closer than half a mile or a mile away do not get a school bus, and are expected to walk to school. Ask why it's ok for the schools to expect him to walk a mile to get to school, but once he's there, he can't walk 100 yards.
It is great to ask and have the school articulate their position, as then parents can work on overcoming objections. In the meanwhile, it may be safe to anticipate an answer along the lines that the school is not responsible for how a child arrives (car, bicycle, walking, etc) but is responsible for the child on school property, while school is in session.
Posted by: blackcat

Re: Subject Acceleration and Changing Buildings - 05/07/16 03:57 AM

Isn't there an educational assistant in the school that can spend 10 min. walking w/ him across the football field length space?
Posted by: geofizz

Re: Subject Acceleration and Changing Buildings - 05/07/16 05:04 AM

Originally Posted By: indigo

Originally Posted By: ElizabethN
In most school districts, students who live closer than half a mile or a mile away do not get a school bus, and are expected to walk to school. Ask why it's ok for the schools to expect him to walk a mile to get to school, but once he's there, he can't walk 100 yards.
It is great to ask and have the school articulate their position, as then parents can work on overcoming objections. In the meanwhile, it may be safe to anticipate an answer along the lines that the school is not responsible for how a child arrives (car, bicycle, walking, etc) but is responsible for the child on school property, while school is in session.


Our elementary school also is exactly one track/football field from the middle school. You can see the math classroom from the elementary principal's office.

The solution is that DS (and DD before him) take a full sized yellow bus. The kid and the bus driver are the only occupants of the bus. It's the most rediculous thing to watch.

Can't they walk themselves? No, the school is responsible for them and can't let them out on public streets alone. What if something were to happen (this has got to be the safest community there is. We have theft from car issues because no one will lock their cars....)

Can't they walk with an aide? The answer gets weird here. I hear about bad weather, scheduling, availability, etc.

So they take a bus.

My guess on the bus vs the aide is that it came down to one of two things: their don't want to have to ask an aide to walk half a mile (round trip) if it's raining or cold OR the money for the bus comes out of a different budget than the aides. I'm actually partial to the latter reason.
Posted by: aeh

Re: Subject Acceleration and Changing Buildings - 05/07/16 12:38 PM

Yup. Money for aides is instructional money (principal's budget). Money for buses is transportation money (district budget).

In addition, the district would be assuming huge liability to allow a single adult to walk with a single child, unsupervised. (This is both for the protection of the child and the protection of the adult.) So the principal would actually have to budget two adults to accompany a single child to and fro. (You would think this would come up in the case of a bus driver, too, but at least you can time the departure and arrival of the bus, and have more confidence that there was insufficient time for anything untoward to occur.)
Posted by: Loy58

Re: Subject Acceleration and Changing Buildings - 05/07/16 01:31 PM

This is a big problem with our schools, as well. Each school houses a small number of grades and the schools are NOT located near one another. Right now, I have one DYS working on above-grade material in one subject in the regular grade (most of the time by himself, without a dedicated teacher), because I suspect that it is simply a logistical nightmare to figure out how to get him to the correct grade building. Next year, he will probably just be allowed to walk to the next grade for this subject because he will be in the next level building. In the extraordinarily rare occasion that subject acceleration has been allowed, it is my understanding that the parent agreed to transport the child. We may face this issue in the future. Honestly, arranging for transportation would be far less expensive than changing schools, so we'd be willing to do it in order to make it work.

Meanwhile, we have family in a neighboring town with a similar issue. Their children were transported at district cost to and from the next building for one subject a day.
Posted by: bluemagic

Re: Subject Acceleration and Changing Buildings - 05/07/16 04:13 PM

In my son's schools if you are math accelerated for than 2 years, which happens for an average of 1 kid a year. Once they hit math not taught at their school they must go to another school to get instruction. I've known a few of these kids and they arrange to have them take math 1st period at the middle or high school, and then they must be transported BY A PARENT. (They must be singed in by a responsible adult). This defiantly discourages some parents.

In fact for YEARS & YEARS (over 20) the 8th graders who took Geometry had take it at the High School 1st period. The schedules were not the same, the schools were a mile away. It was a PITA but they would BUS them back to the junior high since there were enough of them. FINALLY the year before this was to affect my DS they changed the system where they moved a H.S. teacher to the Junior High instead.

I would think if the schools were catty corner it would be possible to have the kid walk from one to the other with your permission. He would not be the first kid to do this kind of arrangement. Suggest that if they can schedule this class at the beginning or end of the day their responsibility for the transportation will be less.