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    indigo Offline OP
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    Inspired by a TEDx talk, this thread was initiated to invite interested posters to contribute to building a collection of gifted ed success stories which parents could tap into and leverage as needed.

    The TEDx talk by social scientist Jeni Cross on the subject of Creating Change (
    )shares the strong positive influence of presenting societal norms which model the desired behavior, on impacting the results achieved when advocating for change.

    This suggests that parents interested in broadening pro-gifted education behavior and attitudes, may wish to find and focus on gifted ed success stories. When advocating, relevant selections from the collected success stories in this thread can be presented as social norms, examples of modeling the desired behavior.

    By sharing and referring to these success stories we may help model positive examples of effectively serving the gifted, and transform gifted ed.

    The information is out there! It may be scattered in many places; Gathering it together in one place may make it convenient to easily select the most pertinent examples, encouraging more parents to try this form of advocacy based on presenting a positive social norm.

    Here's an invitation to Teachers, Parents, Administrators... please share success stories on acceleration, compacting, cluster grouping, and more! Personal experience, anecdotal evidence, success demonstrated by polls & surveys, research studies, schools serving the gifted... all positive information is welcome.

    Before posting, please watch the TEDx talk by Jeni Cross, especially noticing the points she opens with at the beginning (00:54 - 01:46) and closes with at the end (16:00 - 17:14).

    PS: This thread is an offshoot of post http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/BB/ubbthreads.php/topics/169461.html#Post169461

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    indigo Offline OP
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    Some of these may be well-known to families who've traveled a bit on the road of gifted education... they are well worth passing along to others:

    Davidson Academy is a great example of individualized education and partnering with a university when kids have the readiness/ability for those courses.

    The Hoagies Gifted Education Page shares a listing of success stories: http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/success_stories.htm

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    I cannot take credit for this because I found the information on this board and several here were enormously supportive but I will post it here to make it easier for new people to find this sort of thing in a single thread. I apologize for the length of this post in advance.

    Here is our journey (so far):-

    1. DD really enjoyed pre-school and was extremely outgoing but sometimes intense, especially in handling disappointment - we put it down to a phase she was going through.

    2. We moved to a rural area (new district) and DD went into kindergarten there. Over that year we began to see a change in our DD - instead of improving, her sensitivities increased and she was no longer getting invited to other BD parties after a while.

    3. The next year, grade 1, was worse. Our DD's mind started to pull away from the pack to an alarming degree. While everyone else in her class was learning that the Moon wasn't really made of cheese, DD was building a presentation via Pressy on why Pluto isn't a planet anymore (she got really fascinated by this) and after she presented to her class she was rewarded for efforts with 'girl bullying' for having the temerity to have a brain.

    4. Grade 2 began badly as DD was already shutting down and her teacher decided that she wasn't really that bright after all. Unlike the prior year, there would be no 'pullouts'. At first, we were relieved because the pullout had got her bullied but over time we realized that holding her back was not going to work.

    5. I pored the library, bookstores and the web looking for clues and discovered that sometimes social isolation and over excitabilities (OEs) were associated with 'giftedness'. Both DW and I are considered 'bright' but until recently I have lived in denial thinking that 'bright' is normal - because to me it is. I really thought until recently that everyone is bright.

    6. Like a lot of dads my first reaction was to write off the 'giftedness' of being a social misfit as just American psycho babble. But I could see that my DD needed help and I was prepared to try anything, plus, having seen the 'apple', touched the 'apple' and smelled the 'apple' I just had to taste it. I searched around and found a reputable tester at the UMDNJ gifted child clinic. I called to find out more.

    7. Oh hollow mockery of Fate! Not only was testing going to be expensive, there was also an 18 month waiting list. Too long - DD appeared to be fading on a daily basis. Given that a parent's entire biological raison d'Ítre is to do their best for their child we tightened our belts and found the money.

    8. Importantly and luckily, I work from home most days and have very flexible working conditions so I opted for the 'short notice cancellation option' (my quotes). We had an appointment within 6 weeks. DD was confirmed as being pretty bright. Our worries were over!

    9. Wrong! They were just beginning - LOL. Once I had 'bitten into the apple', I discovered that, particularly with girls, giftedness can be 'self-suppressed' in order to fit in or the child can get really messed up by not being in a sufficiently stimulating intellectual environment. This caused a lot of sleeplessness and a feeling of being 'lost in the wilderness' because this country has become something of a gifted desert.

    10. We discovered this forum and the Hoagies pages. What a relief - there were others in similar boats! We approached the school with our DDs test results - approaching it as a problem that we needed to work as a team on - their results were good and bad. Good because they provided LA pullout into 4th grade and because her second grade teacher did a complete 180 becoming a full on advocate for our DD. Bad because DD's OEs had caused her to be labelled as socially immature. The school's guidance counsellor flat out refused to consider acceleration citing the much hackneyed 'whole child' objection.

    11. We applied filled out DDs DYS application (we needed to confirm that we weren't kidding ourselves about our DD being that bright) and she was accepted. This gave us more confidence as we now had two objective sources of confirmation the initial tester and the DYS program.

    12. We also learned about the IOWA Acceleration Scale. It's appeal to me was that it breaks the decision down into an objective assessment using multiple factors -relative birthday, IQ, Achievement, extracurriculars, comparative physical stature etc helping to alleviate concerns over single factors (e.g OEs). I made up some worksheets and punched in the numbers. I found that even with the school objecting in every possible way that DD was an excellent candidate. I also learned through reading that OEs are actually exacerbated by being completely out of intellectual sync with her classmates which further stiffened my resolve to go back to the school.

    13. Still worried about the effects of an acceleration on my DD I scoured the library, the bookstores and the web for negative cases and did not find any that factors that applied to our DD.

    14. We presented our findings to the superintendent in a private meeting with him where we reviewed the test results, the results of the IOWA worksheets and some literature that we had found on the web including select excerpts from our state's report on giftedness, A Nation Deceived and others. We made our presentation purely data driven. It turned out that the superintendent was very pro-gifted (we were very lucky here) and with the data to support it he was convinced and agreed to take the skip to the school board for approval.

    15. One of the school's (we heard this via a roundabout route) concerns was that if they accelerated our DD that they would start an avalanche of requests for everyone's 'special snowflake'. We presented the IOWA scale as a means of being able to objectively measure future requests to alleviate accusations of favoritism and MORE IMPORTANTLY so that future kids would have a chance for acceleration using an objective measure. Having seen it, he was a such a fan of the IOWA scale that he agreed to bring up not just our DDs grade skip at the next board meeting (it had to be approved by the board) but also the IOWA scale as means a yardstick with which to determine appropriate differentiation for future kids.

    16. DD skipped into grade 4 this year. So far the difference is 'night and day'. She is giddy about school now and is just SO MUCH HAPPIER. God willing, long may it last...


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    Each year for DD8 has been the same battle but over different grounds, so...

    K: Our DD's kindergarten year at school was a disaster. The only differentiation offered came at the expense of social interaction, as she was sent off to a corner to work on separate work while the rest of the class did a group activity. DD started pretending not to know things so she could be part of the group. Advocacy eventually resulted in DD attending a 1st-grade class for ELA, also gained her access to library books above K-level. Boredom and frustration during the day was contained by behavior-perfectionist DD, then boiled over at home, with emotional outbursts escalating to self-harm.

    We argued for a grade skip, to no avail. The school offered DD screening for gifted, but to access the program at age 5, the bar was set very high: 99.5th percentile on test of cognitive ability. Failure to hit the mark would bar her from re-screening until after a full calendar year.

    Solution: Homeschooling.

    First: We had DD screened for the gifted program following her sixth birthday, when the bar is significantly lower, and she qualified easily (but validated our previous concerns, as she hit 99th percentile on cognitive ability) This included a pull-out for ELA and math, with the rest of her day on grade level... with some differentiation offered, which was very inconsistent. The pull-out was a mess, as the class was 1 first grader (DD), 1 2nd grader, and 6 3rd graders, all taught at the same level (the 3rd graders). DD felt torn between two worlds in which she did not belong... a homeroom in which she was too smart, and a GT pull-out in which she was too stupid.

    We renewed our push for a full-year acceleration, in addition to gifted services. We sought expert help from a psychologist, and from the district offices. Again, no avail. We encountered a district-wide culture strictly against the idea of acceleration.

    Solution: None. DD stuck it out with significant support from home. Emotional issues were less than the year before, and DD was committed to sticking it out for social reasons. Some improvement was noted mid-year, when the school hired another G/T teacher who did true differentiation, and assigned her the grade 1-3 class, so DD got to work on her level for part of the day.

    Second: G/T program was split between the two teachers, where DD had ELA with one, math with the other. Home room teacher refused to entertain any ideas of differentiation for DD. That part of her day was wildly inappropriate. Emotional deterioration similar to K-year was noted.

    Solution: Homeschool - with a twist. This time, we registered her with the state as a 3rd grader. DW caught her up on 2nd grade, then taught her the full 3rd grade curriculum. DW noted she had to slow DD down with multiple review segments and breaks to keep her from racing too far ahead of the goal. Near the end of the year, DD was administered the state achievement test for 3rd graders (iLEAP) and the SB-10 achievement test, and passed both with flying colors.

    Fourth: The school accepted DD and the grade skip with no arguments. The G/T pull-outs increased in minutes, but are otherwise similar. DD has more kids her own grade in the pull-outs now, so she fits in better, and there's more instruction at her level. She is being pushed to achieve there. The home room situation is still too slow and boring, but it's a smaller portion of her day.

    The one problem that did show up is that her pull-outs cause her to miss a lot of social studies and science instruction in the classroom. We arranged to have copies of the textbooks for home use, and we provide our own instruction, which seems to have solved that problem.

    DD has also been encouraged to let loose of her behavioral perfectionism, and she's now blowing off steam at school through goofing off with her peers, rather than boiling over at home.

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    Here are resources from the "Educators' Guild" section of the Davidson Institute website. They include presentation decks on proven strategies of acceleration for various grade ranges.

    http://www.davidsongifted.org/edguild/Article/Educators_Guild___Presentations_431.aspx


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    indigo Offline OP
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    I am beginning to see the difficulty inherent in collecting too much information in one place... without investing themselves in research some may wish to see a "menu" of options and rather than utilize the information for brainstorming what might be the best fit for their child, they may proceed to attempt to order everything from the menu!

    There is often a delicate balance between ability to optimally serve an individual student and optimally serve the student body as a whole. Reasonable compromise on both sides may not occur.

    As an analogy or metaphor I offer this article from a Starbucks blog dated Feb 15, 2012 discussing the price and value of a free drink at Starbucks. A customer wanted to maximize what he could receive for free (link-
    http://starbucksgossip.typepad.com/_/2012/02/does-the-most-expensive-starbucks-drink-cost-2360.html)

    Quote
    ... $23.60 drink consisted of:
    "one Java Chip Frappuccino in a Trenta cup,
    16 shots of espresso,
    a shot of soy milk,
    caramel flavoring,
    banana puree,
    strawberry puree,
    vanilla beans,
    Matcha powder,
    protein powder,
    and a drizzle of caramel and mocha."
    He said it tasted "tolerable but not good."


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