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    Joined: Apr 2008
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    JBDad Offline OP
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    Well, my first meeting with the SD was a very positive one and after an hour we got a lot of good information on what to expect and what our options are. It was clear that we were being guided towards having our DS attend K (versus going directly to 1st, which we were talking about as a possible option).

    Today I did a lot of legwork and I spoke with the principal where DS would start if he went into first. At this point DW and I don't know what we want to do for DS. We're collecting information. This was a very disappointment meeting as the principal was very much against the idea. This was done over the phone, which I will never do again (in person meetings only). Based on a few things that the principal said, my impression was that the principal is used to seeing "flash card" parents or parents that push their bright kids. So the reaction that I received was one more of roadblocks than of wanting to discuss the individual situation of our DS. Lots of quoting about social development, and eventually quoting of regulations. I was told that skipping first would definitely not be an option (I can somewhat understand, but now that my parameters have been changed, my opinion on the current situation has changed). In general it feels like the one-size-fits-all model. We're asking for what our options are and we're being told very clearly we have just one. Not very happy about that.

    I'm going to vent here for a moment, but from what I was told in order to start 1st instead of K, our child would need to be evaluated for mental age, have a mental age of at least 7 (isn't 6yo the cutoff for first?), take the exit K school evaluation test and not pass it but have an "exceeds" grade/evaluation. Contrast this with friends of the family who are one school district away and it was essentially one face-to-face meeting and a call to the child's former nursery school. Ah to be in that district!

    Now I'm going to have to go find the actual SD regs, and learn them. Huff.

    We did decide that we're getting DS tested independently. We found a place that will do the WPPSI-III for a reasonable price.

    Alright. That was cathartic.

    JB

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    So it begins. I think in a lot of districts early entrance is an uphill battle. Enrolling our DS in K for a few months gave the school a chance to know him and see that he is not a "flash card" kid, as you (or possibly your principal?) put it. I think that helped them be more open to the trial of first grade. Still, I think they expected it to be a disaster and thought they would prove to us that skipping was not an option. Somehow, you have to get them to allow your DS to show his stuff. Just showing them numbers doesn't really seem to convince school administrators.

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    Ah, I'm sorry for the lousy experience. I wish I could say that you are alone, and that everyone here will be shocked at how the administration treated you, but you're not alone and no one here will be shocked, methinks. Sad, but true.

    I always say that I don't know who these pushy stage parents are, as I've never met one, but they certainly give the rest of us a bad name, don't they? mad frown

    So aside from finding out what the school district's rules for acceleration are and getting your child testing, what's your game plan? Any thoughts?

    On the bright side, I guess it's good that you found out early what won't work with your school: being undecided about what you want, phone meetings, etc. That's good learning to get out of the way early. (Power of positive thinking and all that...)

    I think one of the best bits of advocacy wisdom I've picked up from this forum is that you should never go into a meeting without knowing what you want out of it. It's too easy for administrators to say no to anything even remotely resembling wishy-washiness. Even if you're not sure, I think you have to SEEM sure. Fake it if you have to, but don't let them see you doubt. Do that in private.

    Anyway, I'm sorry it didn't go better. frown


    Kriston
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    We thought when we sent our DS, now 9, to pk, the teachers would quickly realize how smart he was and work with it. His school prides itself on differentiating.

    Well, the pk teacher thought he was really smart, and on her own initiative said we should get him tested, -- but she also said pk was a year to work on social skills.

    In K, the overworked teacher was dealing with all the kids in class who had as-yet unidentified LDs, separation issues, etc., and really had no clue about DS's abilities.

    By grade 1, DS had stopped raising his hand and the teacher noticed he was "struggling" in math because he wasn't finishing his assignments.

    My advice is start talking early about your child's needs -- don't expect the teachers or admins to notice them, no matter how HG the child. It's also good to focus on specific actions, rather than just saying gifted. For example, DS's 2nd grade teacher really responded to hearing that DS was a knowledge sponge and needed lots of information, and an opportunity to talk about it. She assigned everyone discussion buddies, so DS always got to answer questions (with his friend, if not in front of the class.)

    This year, armed with IQ and achievement test scores, I went in to talk to the new teacher, and realized I should have stuck with the second grade approach.

    good luck

    bk

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    Originally Posted by gratified3
    As my kids have spent more time in PS, I've found that there *are* oodles of parents in the suburb type districts convinced their kids are geniuses and the school district has encountered a lot more of those kids and parents than PG kids (just because of the relative rarity of such kids).

    This has been my experience too. Many, many parents are convinced their children are exceptionally smart so the school district has had to deal with this many more times than with actual PG kids. I guess it makes the schools somewhat jaded.


    Quote
    ...a full grade skip of K isn't the only way to handle an HG kid in schools. Some stay at grade level with good teachers who differentiate, and some have happy times in K and skip later, and some get decent subject acceleration or other methods (ALEKS for math on computer in the classroom) that all works out. Even if the school sees the numbers you expect, meets your kid and still says no, it doesn't mean it will be a disaster.

    I just wanted to agree with this. There are several others here with PG kids who have made public schools work great for them. So don't lose hope yet!!! smile

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    If you need a mental age, know that the mental age ceiling on the WPPSI looks like it's 7.2 (at least that is the mental age listed on my DS' score report for all three of his ceiling scores.) So if you're looking to get above 7, you may want to try a different test.

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    Originally Posted by Kriston
    Even if you're not sure, I think you have to SEEM sure. Fake it if you have to, but don't let them see you doubt.


    I don't know, this may not be a hard and fast rule. I opened a dialogue with our principal early in the school year about DS (while he was still in K) and talked to her about my concerns for him if he is not kept challenged. We talked about the pros and cons of grade skips, differentiation etc. I wanted her to know that I had really considered these things. I even voiced reservations about grade skipping. I didn't share his scores with her at that time.

    A few months later, I talked to her again to let her know that trying to do differentiation wasn't working very well because it was too much of a demand on the teacher. I told her I was leaning toward requesting a grade skip for him. She gave me her objections, but I came back the next week with some information and his scores to back me up.

    I think using this approach sort of let her get used to the idea of grade skipping him. Of course, I know her since my DD has been at that school for three years already. I know that if I just show up and demand something she really digs in her heels.

    I don't know if any of my experience can help you...so much depends on the personalities of the people involved.

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    Originally Posted by Cathy A
    I think using this approach sort of let her get used to the idea of grade skipping him. Of course, I know her since my DD has been at that school for three years already. I know that if I just show up and demand something she really digs in her heels.

    I don't know if any of my experience can help you...so much depends on the personalities of the people involved.


    True. Every situation and personality is different. I don't mean to overgeneralize.

    But I do think that a show of confidence--not being demanding, which is rarely a good move!--is always a good idea. Administrators in general have every reason to say no, and tend to be unlikely to say yes (and yes, that's a BIG generalization which will certainly not always hold true...). If you don't stick up for your child, who will?

    I used to work for a company whose IT guy was Mr. Negativity. If you asked him for anything, he said no. Every time.

    I always accepted his no's and found workarounds for the problems. Then one day it hit me that he wasn't saying "no, it is impossible," he was saying "no" because it made less work for him if I just went away. So for once I stood my ground, and his "no, absolutely not!" became a "yeah, we can probably do that for you." It was like magic! I think he figured that if he said no and you didn't go away, then you really needed what you were requesting. It was some sort of twisted screening process.

    I see the same thing happening in the schools. If they say no, it's more work for you to get your child what s/he needs and no work for the administration. If they say yes to you, then they have paperwork to fill out, hassles to create for themselves...all for a kid who, in their minds, might not merit the effort. (Especially given all the fallacies out there about grade-skipping and GT kids in general.) So if you'll accept a "no," they'll happily give it! Some of that is just human nature, I think.

    I guess what I'm saying is that while I agree with you completely that being demanding isn't good, I do think you have to argue your case persuasively, and I don't think you have to be a demanding shrew to make such a stand. I guess I figure that if you don't know what you want out of the situation, and/or you can't state what you want for your child clearly and decisively, you are sure to not get what your child needs.

    (Of course, compromise may be necessary, but that doesn't mean you can be wishy-washy and uncertain going in. Compromise is a choice, so you have know what you want in order to know what points you can give in on.)

    ...

    But then again, what do I know? I freely admit that there's a reason I am not in the school advocating right now: it is SOOOOO not my forte'! :p


    Kriston
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    JBDad Offline OP
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    Originally Posted by Kriston
    So aside from finding out what the school district's rules for acceleration are and getting your child testing, what's your game plan? Any thoughts?
    • Get a good nights sleep because that works wonders! (done)
    • Get DS tested on our own. We need to know where he fits on the scale. (trying to find the right test facility for use. Found one but it's the WPPSI)
    • Schedule a meeting the K Principal. (Tried one before, but we'll try again. Busy time of year for them.)
    • DW is going to follow up herself with Elementary Principal. And she's going to do it in person. She has some follow up questions and will use it as an opportunity to re-iterate our points.
    • Fall-back plan as proposed by my DW is that the worse case we will home school in the afternoons after K. That would solve next school year, but then we'd have new/different problems the following year. (I'm starting to warm up to this idea but I worry that DW will go insane.)

    Brick walls are there for a reason. (Randy Pausch)

    JB

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    Originally Posted by gratified3
    The school hasn't had a chance to meet your kid and figure this out for themselves and you've had no testing.

    Totally agree. We want them to meet DS and we do want to get him tested. We haven't done it up to this point because it is part of the process of identification. However since this is a long process, we've decided to get him tested this summer on our own.

    Originally Posted by gratified3
    I strongly recommend avoiding the WPPSI. It is a test designed for kids up to 7 and GT kids in the upper ages will hit so many ceilings that the test doesn't yield much helpful info. Did the SD request or require that test? If not, the SBV can be used in the K age group, otherwise, the WISCIV can be used only after 6 yo. There are massive ceiling issues on the SBV and WISCIV for the HG crowd that leads to problems anyway, but the WPPSI will magnify that and potentially mess up your results.

    This was just the testing that I was able find. I've got quotes from $350 up to nearly $2k. If we submit the written request for early admissions, they'd perform their own test. We're trying to find out what they'd test so that we don't overlap. I suspect--but don't know--that he'd run into ceilings on WPPSI.

    Originally Posted by gratified3
    I sometimes think that we are forced to argue so hard for our kids that we end up talking ourselves into things trying to get our point across. Not saying you are heading there, but full grade skip of K isn't the only way to handle an HG kid in schools. Some stay at grade level with good teachers who differentiate, and some have happy times in K and skip later, and some get decent subject acceleration or other methods (ALEKS for math on computer in the classroom) that all works out. Even if the school sees the numbers you expect, meets your kid and still says no, it doesn't mean it will be a disaster.

    Both DW and I agree completely. What was a little frustration on our end was the pat answer and very hard push back from the principal (who, incidentally had already talked to the assistance superintendent our us by the time I called). Compared with the director we met with who clearly expressed her recommendation and opinion but we still considered that meeting a positive one.

    So, I understand where they are coming from and until either we provide them with more evidence we'll get standard answers. We'll just need to be persistent. They way that I left it was the principal was that we may request early admissions so that we start the process of testing, but we may still elect not to.

    JB

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