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    justinwilliams, Jessica D, Xtydell, lll, A WA parent
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    Joined: Apr 2010
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    Originally Posted by Loy58
    I have a question for those of you who have schools with gifted programs: is there differentiation WITHIN your school's gifted program?

    Yes.

    In our state, "gifted" is part of "special ed"--and is supposed to meet the individual needs of the child. You may want to read up on the regulations that apply where you are, and use those to leverage some help.

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    I actually called the State Dept. of Education at one point (there is a "gifted" division, or at least one person with that role!) and someone there gave me some advice and info about my particular district. It was a fascinating conversation. I had no idea, for instance, that I have a right to reject the curriculum and partial homeschool. The district wouldn't like it but it's within parents' rights to look at the curriculum and say it's not acceptable and their child will not be participating for that part of the school day (but not go the full homeschool route). Depending on how ridiculous things get with DS down the line I may very well exercise that right. So I echo what DeeDee says...if your district is unhelpful try getting advice/info from the State level. Even if the school isn't mandated to do anything with gifted ed and there is no one in that role, you could find out your other rights (like partial homeschooling).

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    Originally Posted by blackcat
    you could find out your other rights (like partial homeschooling).
    Unfortunately, you have to be prepared that this road might be closed at any time. My friend had her son partially home schooled last year, and was going to do this this year, but this option is no longer available - either you are a full-time homeschooler, or you are a full-time student. She was told that this has something to do with funding.
    As for the differentiation within GT classes - our district runs self-contained GT program in 2-5 grades. When kids start at 2 grade, their math is 3 grade math, and there in no differentiation at that level. If you finish your work earlier, you may read a book, that is it.
    Reading is better, they have separate reading groups according to their DRA level.

    Last edited by Porosenok96; 10/03/14 10:46 AM.
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    Originally Posted by DeeDee
    Originally Posted by Loy58
    I have a question for those of you who have schools with gifted programs: is there differentiation WITHIN your school's gifted program?

    Yes.

    In our state, "gifted" is part of "special ed"--and is supposed to meet the individual needs of the child. You may want to read up on the regulations that apply where you are, and use those to leverage some help.

    It's the same here in my state. However, I've seen no evidence that the children in a specific grade level receive differentiated work in the gifted classes. All gifted children are treated more or less the same.

    This is one of the reasons why we rejected the GT program as being sufficient by itself; DD needed a full year acceleration AND the gifted program.

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    Yes, in our stand-alone TAG school there is differentiation in each classroom.
    Math: students are tested and placed in math classes. Students who are high achievers in their math classes are given additional projects to do.
    Reading: all done on an individual basis. Students read, log what they have read and journal about it.
    Spelling: students are grouped. Lowest group in each room is usually two grade levels ahead of typical grade level classroom. Top spellers are given Latin and Greek so that they can learn root words.
    Science: Not that I have seen. It is mostly hands on work.
    Social Studies: Not that I have seen.

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    Originally Posted by Dude
    This is one of the reasons why we rejected the GT program as being sufficient by itself; DD needed a full year acceleration AND the gifted program.

    I'd count acceleration as a form of differentiation. And yes, it was utterly essential for us too.

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    Very interesting - it sounds like approaches differ. It seems that what happens with P.S. is largely determined by what state you live in - we DON'T live in one of the states that mandates or funds G&T education. So, that being said, we do feel lucky to have G&T programming at all.

    We haven't pushed for acceleration at this point, largely because both of my DC are on the young-end of their respective grades already.

    A recent glimmer of hope for DD: one of her teachers actually took the initiative to assign her language arts work that is 2-grades ahead (while the other students were completing their grade-level work). DD said it was easy, but sent this completed work to this teacher. Hopefully, it will lead to more better-leveled work. Fingers-crossed!


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    It's pretty much the same as what daytripper has for us. DS8 is in a full-time HG classroom. It seems to be a fairly rigorous program; one of his friends who is also a DYS recently moved to a regular classroom as he couldn't keep up with the demands. I don't know whether the material was too quick or whether he also had an LD that hasn't been identified or whatever else may have slowed him down. DS8 has handwriting issues and a low processing speed, and this class seems to work pretty well for him so far but there are areas that could certainly be more intense.

    There is also a GATE pull-out program in the school for students who are not quite in the 99.9th percentile.

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    In States which do have laws to mandate and/or fund some level of gifted education, this has occurred due to parental organization and legislative advocacy. Parents may wish to gather other interested parents (and professionals such as psychologists, OTs, teachers, administrators, and the local NAGC State affiliate), organize an outreach, compose compelling impact statements, research legislation from other States, and contact legislators with statements describing how legislation would benefit the residents of your State.

    That said, many parents have described "gifted programs" which consist of curriculum one grade level advanced, which does not present an authentic learning opportunity for many gifted kiddos.

    To encourage parents that the effort is worth it, whether helping to craft legislation, or advocating for gifted services which match the program to the child rather than matching the child to the program... I'll share this article from the Davidson Database, titled Gifted children: Youth mental health update, by Julia Osborn, 1996.

    There is a section about midway through the article subtitled Special Needs of Gifted Children, which describes these four needs in detail:
    A. Need for a challenging education.
    B. Need for "true peers."
    C. The need for responsive parenting.
    D. The need for adult empathy.
    In the clinical experience of the author, a range of behavioral problems (from daydreaming to school refusal) have resulted when the school curriculum was not sufficiently challenging.

    The next section of the article, subtitled Giftedness and Self-esteem, highlights findings of a study by Miraca Gross:
    In her study of exceptionally gifted children, Gross has reported that the self-esteem of exceptionally gifted students tends to be significantly lower than the self-esteem of average students, especially when the school is unwilling or unable to allow them access to other children who share their levels of intellectual, oral and psychosocial development. Thus the gifted child is placed in the forced dilemma of choosing to minimize intellectual interests and passions for the sake of sustaining peer relations or of pursuing intellectual interests at the cost of becoming socially isolated in the classroom. As Gross poignantly added "The gifted must be one of the few remaining groups in our society who are compelled, by the constraints of the educative and social system within which they operate, to choose which of two basic psychological needs should be fulfilled."

    While I fully understand the OP's question, at the same time I want to point out that differentiation can be a meaningless buzzword which only indicates something is different... it does not imply that curriculum, placement, pacing, etc are better suited to the child or are in the child's zone of proximal development (ZPD).

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    NOTE: The article "Gifted children: Youth mental health update" by Julia Osborn, 1996, published by Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Schneider Children's Hospital, is backed up on WayBack Machine, Internet archive.
    Links:
    1) article -
    https://web.archive.org/web/20200112034938/http://www.davidsongifted.org/search-database/entry/a10170
    2) list of archive dates/times -
    https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.davidsongifted.org/search-database/entry/a10170

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    I'm familiar with G&T in 3 districts:

    In the first, students are leveled for math placement by testing them during the first week of the school year. They are placed between 1 and 3 levels up for math--in this case, they're expected to be at least 1 year advanced, which was a little rough for some kids, actually. Otherwise, very little differentiation.

    In the 2nd, all students worked 1 grade level up in all subjects, no differentiation.

    In our new district, the program itself is less regimented and classes are split 4-5-6th grades all in 1 room, so definitely expected to be a range of abilities. Used to be lots of project-based learning and math was independent & at-your-own-pace.

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