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    Joined: Jul 2011
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    BACKGROUND: Last week I had a meeting at school to talk about what the options were to meet my child's social and academic needs at school. In summary, school expressed social/emotional concerns about skipping and that no one ever heard of anyone skipping a grade in our high performing district ever, ever but principal would check in to policy. This week my child reported being given math worksheets 3-4 years out of his grade level on 2 different days.

    Then today I got an email saying that after discussions about policy and working with the Assist Super. they have decided to test my child with the end of 2nd and end of 3rd "local" testing as a "first step" in determining the best placement for him.

    I almost fell over. He is in Kindergarten. I'm thrilled... and stunned... surprised. We think he is somewhere around 3rd/4th in his math ability and know he reads on a 5th grade level. We ceilinged out a bit on testing and fell just below DYS levels.

    On the 2e side, we also think he is having a vision issue and are in the process of testing that out right now. We have a 2hr sensory motor testing visit with the developmental vision optometrist next week and then another testing visit after that. He is seeing things move and struggles with reversals, especially in math.

    I do not know why the drastic shift in response happened. I did share our test results from a couple years ago and linked the Psychologist to the Iowa Scale as well as an article here.

    He struggles with handwriting and I am not sure if his pencil/paper skills can stand up to testing. I expect he may have a few gaps in knowledge as well.

    I'm feeling really overwhelmed by the response... in a good way I think. I would truly love to have some of you who have done multi-year skips help me think through what I need to ask and advocate for my child with the testing. My concerns are that he has a definitely has a processing issue (is it visual or dysgraphia or both or something else??--we just don't know) and ADHD. I do not know the nature of how this testing will be conducted or when.

    I think they are really listening (WOW!!) and seem open to considering how out of level my child is. I want to be very sure not to negatively impact this shift towards what he needs but frankly the possibilities seem broader than I imagined and scare me a bit.

    I need to respond to the principal this weekend with my appreciation and questions. Wow. Still totally floored by this response. (Sorry for my rambling!)

    Last edited by HappilyMom; 05/06/13 04:40 AM.
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    It's fantastic that they have had such a turn around, my immediate thought though is that they may not necessarily be looking to skip him to the level they are testin at. I am guessing they're making a genuine attempt to find out how far off level he is, but it doesn't automatically follow they will do a full grade skip to that level.

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    How wonderful that they are testing him. That is awesome. I wonder if they will do whole grade acceleration or are looking at subject acceleration. Either way, at least they are doing something which is wonderful. Keep us posted. I don't have any experience with this since our school basically flat out told us to homeschool and that they would never do anything for her. frown


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    Homeschooling on a remote island at the edge of the world.
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    Ok. Thanks for the help of a much needed reality check. I realize now that it appears they might be trying to follow the advice in the IAS manual(!! smile ) Hence the 2-3 grade levels ahead achievement testing.

    Thanks for the input about not necessarily planning to skip him that far!

    Amazed, sorry you are not getting reasonable responses from school. I am floored to be getting such a great response. We talked about a few options but subject acceleration wasn't going to meet his social needs. He just doesn't fit very well with Kindy kids. I hope something changes in your life to make your school choices easier up ahead.

    I'm still trying to wrap my head around and brainstorm this. I guess my first questions for school are:

    * In what format will the testing will be administrated? (i.e. one-on-one, bubble sheet, computer, etc.)

    * What method(s) will be used to interpret his scores? (i.e. national, state, or district norms, pass/fail, tester's impression of mastery, etc)

    * How will his ADHD be accommodated during testing should that present a challenge to him completing testing as scheduled?

    * When would we (the parents) expect to receive his results?


    What am I missing? If they do an IAS on him, we have a WPPSI and WIAT already but they have mentioned the need to update. I completely agree that would be helpful. Too many ceiling issues for him on the old tests. I expect that new tests would increase our IAS score and might help with DYS application as well but I always fear getting poorer results from a tester that doesn't get gifted kiddos very often. Last time we went with an expert.

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    Originally Posted by MumOfThree
    It's fantastic that they have had such a turn around, my immediate thought though is that they may not necessarily be looking to skip him to the level they are testin at. I am guessing they're making a genuine attempt to find out how far off level he is, but it doesn't automatically follow they will do a full grade skip to that level.


    Yes, this.

    Though...

    on the other side of this, you may need to be prepared to advocate for additional levels up in evaluating ability/readiness if he hits ceilings on the tools that they've opted to use.

    This was our biggest error in skipping DD6 into 3rd-- in retrospect, that was probably not enough. But we, like MoN (and others) were just too shell-shocked to know what it meant that our barely-6-yo without any real "formal" education to speak of had just 99'ed across the board on an out-of-level full achievement battery, where her GREATEST frustration was with the glacial pace of the "correct" test administration (that is, me reading her the instructions, which she insisted she'd be happier reading TO HERSELF, and the choppy breaks between sections... oh, and the 'too short' reading selections).

    IN retrospect, we should have gone up another two grades and evaluated her again to see if we could get her down away from the ceilings in at least a few areas.

    Secondly, many of those batteries do NOT do a good job evaluating what is often a PG child's weakest area academically-- written output. This can lag into adolescence relative to academic peers, but it is really not a good idea to try to "hold" them at the level of the written output, as difficult as it is to accelerate with that situation.

    We've tried to keep things so that the written output level was-- at worst-- about "low average for grade" and know that she'll rapidly acclimate to the demands. She has.

    It's fantastic that your school is seeing that your child is the real deal! VERY encouraging in terms of building a working partnership with them. laugh



    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.
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    This board is the best place I've found to communicate with others who have been down this road. I am incredibly grateful for your responses and experiences. I have lots of questions...

    I thought to look at the learning standards for the grade levels they are testing him with... I am seeing Language Arts standards regarding punctuation usage and terms like adverb and pronoun that he has no knowledge of. I also see Social Studies standards about things like government that he won't know. Although if you asked him to identify presidents or facts about them or all the nations of Africa and where they were located within that continent he would ace that. Looking at Science standards, he has mastered all elementary and some middle and high school ones.

    So is/was it an issue to have those types of gaps?? Would learning new stuff in language arts or social studies be enough new info to challenge?

    I'm most interested in his best fit and it does scare me to "lose" years of his life. Though I'd rather lose years than lose his beautiful little spark and joy. I've seen that before in our school experiences and I know he needs to face challenge academically. I was personally very checked out by the time school got around to attempting to challenge me.

    HK I had always feared they wouldn't address his other needs because handwriting and output is a big issue for him. He's listed as R/O Disorder of Written Expression in his diagnoses from our Neuro Psychiatrist. They haven't once mentioned his writing to me. They seem fine with him at this school whereas the last 2 thought it was a major issue, as did our original tester. For writing, his age placement is about correct as I see it.

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    We did a multi-grade skip and it has worked well, but it is not the best solution due to the pace of the classes DD10 is in is still the same old slow as molasses pace (according to her).

    My advice would be as follows:

    If the results come back and it looks like a skip would be recommended express that you are very excited about this option and that perhaps the school could allow it to happen on a trial basis, (the length of which could be the first marking period, or half of that depending on how long a marking period is at the school) let them know that you understand that while it may look on paper like the skip will be a good fit, you would appreciate them giving your child an option to change out of the multi-grade skip if it proves to be too much.
    My reasoning here is that the school that approved DD's multi-grade skip was convinced that it wasn't going to work and that they wanted to be sure that they gave DD enough time to show that it was a bad idea. In reality, I was fine with giving progress report time (5 weeks) as a trial period, because I knew it was going to fit due to Mommy intuition, and saw that if I got upset about their insistence of calling the time a trial they would refuse all together, so maybe if you bring up the idea as being "for a trial period of x weeks" they would be more willing to let it happen. It gives them, and quite frankly you, a way out if it turns out not to work for whatever reason.
    If you are successful getting the skip, I would put together a summary of your son's traits and behavior's along with a list of websites, like Hoagies, and the educator's guild Davidson and a short summary of "typical" gifted kid traits your son has and then make an appointment to see all of his teachers and share it with them. While I had 1 teacher get mad at me for doing this (she thought I was insinuating that she didn't know anything - which she doesn't- about gifted rather than seeing it as a way to better understand DD), all of her other teachers were thrilled to have basically a list of what to expect from 9 year old in 7th/8th grade.
    I put things like:
    1)Please do not think that she will already know everything you are going to be teaching - she will be in your class to learn something she doesn't know yet. It is typically the pace at which she learns that becomes an issue, not that she knows the entire subject already.
    2) When she is "in her learning zone" she hums - if it is distracting to others please remind her to hum inside her head
    3) She will make seemingly unrelated links between what you are teaching and other topics - before telling her that her link is incorrect let her explain it - it maybe wrong, but most of the time it is correct. Her links are usually not the ones you would think of, but are usually correct.
    4) Although intellectually she is at least a middle schooler, she is also still just 9, so please understand that her penmanship and other executive functioning skills will not be at the level of other in class.
    5)DD also happens to have an incredible amount of empathy for others, and may react more strongly to things than you would expect, it is not because of her age, but rather her "excitability". If you notice that she is quiet or looks upset, please let me know so that I can talk with her and find out what it is that bothered her - often times she will not know right away and needs time to process what the trigger was.

    etc.

    There were a few times when the empathy and humming were noticed by teachers and I was informed about both - the empathy so I could help figure out what was up and the humming because something was at the appropriate level.

    Sorry this was so long, hope it is helpful.
    Good Luck

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    Kerry, long is good! Thank you so much for sharing in such detail. I am excited to see when testing will begin and how it goes. My son's learning is such a moving target. By the time they test he could easily have expanded his knowledge base into several new areas.

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    Got another question... how did you handle questions from other parents about next year once a decision to skip was made?

    We are in a neighborhood school so classmates live all around us and frequently are seen outside of school.

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    Originally Posted by HappilyMom
    Got another question... how did you handle questions from other parents about next year once a decision to skip was made?

    We are in a neighborhood school so classmates live all around us and frequently are seen outside of school.

    Most people either didn't notice or when they realized DS had skipped responded with "yeah, that makes sense." When others pressed me for details, I just said that the principal said we had to. Those were indeed his words. I leave out the part where he then clarified that of course it was our choice and that the school would support his learning either way.

    The hardest to respond to were "so what curriculum were you using at home?" and "what's so wrong with my kid if we're not being told she has to skip?" Since my gut reaction in both cases was sarcasm, I didn't say much to either question, which was probably best.

    Last edited by geofizz; 05/06/13 05:28 AM.
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