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    Joined: Sep 2011
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    doclori Offline OP
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    DS6 is in a 1st grade gifted class. They're doing plain old 1st grade level work. DS reads 4th-5th grade books and does 3rd grade math; they're learning "the cat sat on the mat" and "3+1." My son is SO unhappy and bored.

    A few weeks ago, I asked the teacher for a conference; she asked me to wait till after open house. After open house (2 weeks ago), we were able to secure a parent-teacher conference date for October 4. I have asked a few times since then if she might find a sooner time to meet, and she hasn't.

    Finally, DH and I wrote a letter to the teacher, detailing my son's educational strengths and learning style, and asking for a few specific accelerations: math on the computer at his own pace, a reading group at his reading level with other high readers in the class, more complex science assignments for him. I gave her the letter on Monday, and have heard nothing back from her.

    I can't speak to the teacher's teaching style per se, but she otherwise seems organized, and this is the first year that I haven't gotten complaints about DS's behavior. So I'm eager to keep her on our side if I can.

    Nonetheless, I'm getting no communication from this teacher, and DS complains bitterly every afternoon. At what point do I stop worrying about alienating the teacher, and just go to school administration?

    Joined: Mar 2011
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    I went through same thing last year.We ended up homeschooling him one day a week and I finally talked to principal in January and now I think I waited way too long.Nothing got accomplished some kind of IEP that what useless and my son loss interest in learning and started to have self esteem issues.

    This year we are homeschooling and he is so much happier.We got him tested indepently and he got inconclusive WISC but he's 6yo doing 4th grade math ,reading at 8.5 grade level.I still believe he is gifted.

    So for your situation don't wait too long because if she's like my son's teacher they promise lot of things and they don't do them.

    good luck

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    Since you do have a meeting set for October 4, and you're eager to keep her on your side, I'd think it would be helpful to wait to see what comes of your conference before going to the administration. Also, do you know that the administration will support your requests? Our administration can be wishy washy and leaves a lot up to individual teachers, so it can be a crapshoot going to them at our school.

    I've gotten more response than you from our 1st grade teacher, but no more action than you have - so I'm not convinced that quick responses mean much. Our teacher typically responds to emails about a week after I send them (as did our K teacher last year, who was a fantastic teacher). If you sent your email yesterday, your teacher may need more time to process your email, think about a course of action and get back to you.

    I've also let our teacher know I'm happy to talk to the administration if she prefers - phrased in a cooperative manner with her, but nonetheless making the point that I'm serious about our requests (my DS is supposed to be accelerated in math, dependent on schedules, and schedules are not working out, leaving us with the need for creative solutions that have not yet been forthcoming). That might be a tack worth taking if you hear resistance from your teacher at your Oct. 4 meeting.

    Whether my strategies so far will work out, I don't know - we're still sitting bored in 1st grade math 5 weeks into school - so take my experience for what it's worth, as someone in a similar situation with no success story to share as of yet.

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    This is a gifted class? I would think the other parents would be as dissatisfied as you are! Do you know any of them or have opportunities to discuss the curriculum with them?

    I am not suggesting that you "gang up" on the teacher, but if the whole class is supposed to be doing more advanced work, then she is really not doing her job here!

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    doclori Offline OP
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    Yes, this is a gifted class. I have asked the other parents . . . including the mother of my son's best friend, who is the highest reader in the class. They've all said something along the lines of, "Oh, well, he's pretty easygoing, so he doesn't mind the easy work."

    Meanwhile, DS is setting up challenges for himself -- refuses to use his book to take open-book tests; will only go to the fiction section of the library because "it's the only place I can learn anything new in this school."

    I think the administration will help us. The school is well-regarded for its gifted program, and they take pride in that. DS's kindergarten teacher described him to the principal last year as "probably profoundly gifted," so she might be aware that he may need more acceleration than the typical gifted student at the school.

    That's what I hope for anyway. After all, it make no sense to take a kid who raeds fifth grade books and make him do "the cat sat on the mat" all morning. And I'm still optimistic enough to think that the world should make sense.

    But to the poster who recommended waiting till Oct 4, you're probably right, especially since he only has 3 days of school next week because of the Jewish holiday.

    Thanks for the advice.

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    Originally Posted by Coll
    I've also let our teacher know I'm happy to talk to the administration if she prefers - phrased in a cooperative manner with her, but nonetheless making the point that I'm serious about our requests ...That might be a tack worth taking if you hear resistance from your teacher at your Oct. 4 meeting.
    Good luck Coll, excellent suggestion!
    I'm glad that Oct 4 is rolling around finally - and maybe the meeting will go well, but there is such a thing as 'LOG' or 'levels of giftedness'

    It may well be that no teacher in the world would be able to met your son's needs in a first grade room, because (it's possible) that even amoung a gifted class, his educational needs are profoundly beyond the other kids in his class. That doesn't mean that the other kids aren't 'really gifted' - just that there is as much vaiation in the range of gifted as there is in the range of Developmentally Disabled.

    I would send an email to the kindy teacher and ask if she wouldn't mind 'just happening to bump into' the first grade teacher and asking after your son. She likely can do it in an inoffensive way. If she can do it before the October meeting then you are likely to get more done, since you won't be in the position of convinsing the teacher that your child 'really, really' has unusual needs.

    BTW - it's great that your child is behaving. It may be that the misbehavior is directly related to the lack of academic fit in the classroom. Maybe not. There is a lot not to know when a child is an outlier, and it sounds like your child is - even in this classroom devoted to gifted kids. I just wanted to let you know that this is quite possible. I also wanted to steer you away from thinking what I would have though when I was in your shoes. It isn't that the other families are 'bad' because they are content for their children to become lazy and unchallenged at school. It isn't that you are odd for wanting what no one else seems to care about. It's that your child might be different in LOG and in personality to the point where the gulf between what is being taught and what he NEEDS to do is much much larger than for the other children.

    My hunch is that you'll need to be asking the First Grade Teacher's blessing to take this up with the administration, because (maybe) your child has very different needs than the other children -even though they are all gifted by someone's definition - in the room. So if there is a gifted 2nd or 3rd grade classroom, that may be were your child needs to spend some or all of his day.

    The best way to know is to sit and observe the classrooms. Maybe you can get permission to do that while you wait for October 4.

    Also - make some notes about how your son's distress expresses itself. Painting the social-emotional dimensions of the problem explains why you are so worried and upset in language that school folks who haven't lived with a child like yours need to hear.

    Good luck, Let us know, Happy New Year!
    Grinity


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    Joined: Sep 2011
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    doclori Offline OP
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    Thanks, Grinity.

    DS is definitely an unusual kid, and just requires a whole lot of intensity. Having read all the data on the advantages of whole-grade acceleration, I'm still not sold -- he's very small for his age, and immature. He'd have to skip two grades, I think, to improve his life, and that's a hard thing to swallow, socially speaking, as he does have at least one very close friend in the class.

    I suspect there's an ADHD component here too. BTW, he's not exactly behaving -- I think this is just the first teacher not to complain. DS tells me he's out of his chair every few minutes at school, as he is at home; I think the teacher just knows how to manage it -- a rare find, in my experience!

    I think you all are right -- wait for October 4th meeting with the teacher, then set up an appointment with administration, with the goal of amending the IEP.

    In the meantime, he's added "plasma" to his science report on states of matter (solid, liquid, gas). And I've allowed him to move forward in math at home, since he's bored anyway. He sees the math as a treat. Go fig.

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    doclori Offline OP
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    Update . . .

    Turns out, the teacher is leaving for England tomorrow for a week to take her daughter to Cambridge (guess she probably knows what it's like living with a smart kid).

    So I took her aside at pick-up and asked if she'd read our letter. She said that she had, and she's passed it along to administration to get the ball rolling on whatever we need to do, so I should expect a call from them in a day or two.

    She also said that she thought a grade-skip would be the best choice. I need to look and see if there's research about skipping really short kids -- should that make a difference?

    Anyway, we have things starting, and something should happen, hopefully!

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    Congrats on having responsive school personnel!

    I don't know if there is any research out there regarding skipping really short kids, but I can offer anecdotal evidence from my perspective.

    My parents denied me two grade skips that were offered (I later found out that school personnel begged them to let me skip) because they didn't want me to be the shortest in the class. I was always the shortest in my class anyway. I'm currently in my mid-30s, and I'm 4'9"; they would have had to retain me in grade at least a couple times for me NOT to be the shortest in the class. Although height may be something you want to consider in a grade skip, I think that making that a primary criterion (in absence of other considerations such as school sports) may sometimes not be the best choice. For me, at least, it was not helpful, as I desperately needed and wanted something other than what I was getting with agemates.

    Last edited by CynthiaL; 09/21/11 12:11 PM.
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    If you haven't looked into the Iowa Acceleration Scale, you should. Physical characteristics are included in the evaluation, but so are lots of other things.


    It's nice to hear that the teacher was aware and working behind the scenes and that she suggested the skip. Having support from the school goes a long way. The communication thing, though, appears to be a work in progress!


    Prissy
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