School District "gifted" programs.

Cathrin - posted on 01/09/2009 ( 5 moms have responded )

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Happy New Year...my almost 9 year old daughter keeps me really hopping...well, all my kids do, but she is so advanced in her academic skills that it's hard to keep up. I want to make sure that she is always challenged and it's difficult.

Currently, I'm homeschooling her, but I'm considering putting her in our school district's "highly capable" program. Does anyone have experience with these programs? The parents and teachers of these programs that I've met seem to have an arrogance to them which I don't particularly like or admire (and I usually don't mind arrogance, but I guess it's arrogance with lack of respect for others that is the problem). Comments?

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Jennifer - posted on 01/16/2009

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Two of mine were in the "pull out" TAG program at our elementary (3rd - 5th). It was very helpful in that it kept them appropriately busy and challenged. Middle school has been difficult because the challenge just isn't there. They've had to be self-motivated in keeping themselves occupied. (My 6th grader hates school and complains of boredom constantly!) As for the arrogance...it really depends on the classmates and the teacher. I don't think we've had a problem, but I know others have.

Jody - posted on 01/16/2009

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My daughter will be 14 in February and has been in the gifted program at her school since we moved here in 4th grade. I recommend them highly because they are trained not only to motivate children and challenge them, they also do have the bit of arrogance that comes with knowledge (although truly gifted people don't display it quite so much).



It is important for children to be challenged and these programs are designed to do so. I home-schooled my oldest daughter, but knew my youngest would benefit from all the "extras" these gifted programs have. Many times, like in my daughter's case, they get to test for the SAT at a young age (my daughter was 12 and invited to take it with high school seniors) as well as being offered the opportunity to go to summer college programs.



People say a lot about Georgia schools and how they're behind, and I am from NY where they are much more advanced in regular classes, but they do not have the programs like they do here near Atlanta. My daughter has applied to a Magnet school (college prep school) that is integrated into our regular high school that will provide her with wonderful opportunities, challenges, and the ability to work independently at her own pace, which is usually much quicker than her counterparts.

Cathrin - posted on 01/16/2009

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Thanks to both of you for your insight. Well, she is taking the test (IBST) tomorrow. Our district has 3 schools that have these advanced classrooms, and they send the kids to whichever one is closest to where they live. (That's assuming they get in the 97th percentile on the test which they take at one grade level above their age). I've given my daughter the reading tests from the internet and she scores that she's reading at a 5th-8th grade level (she's in 3rd grade), and she easily does a 4th grade curriculum in math, so we'll see. I'm glad you are both enjoying your child's programs. I've noticed too that the moms can usually contain their bragging, but it tends to come out in the kids. Let's face it, we're proud to have extremely bright children. But I also find it terrifying in a way, that I won't be able to make sure she finds the right path for her. For example, my next daughter is 5 and she is clearly not as academically talented as first daughter. But does this mean, the younger one is less "gifted"? No way. Her gifts are that she has social grace and the ability to make others feel good that most people will never have, and she has an enthusiam for life and a sensitivity to art and music. And to think of a whole classroom filled with "the smart kids" and not with the sweet, enthusiastic, free sprited artistic kids (like my second daughter), I wonder, and I start to see why they put all the kids together and just pull some out for the "enrichment" activities while they have the social benefits of some of the "regular" kids' giftedness. Will one be able to have a better life than the other? I do not think so. I believe that they are both poised to make an equally amazing and successful life. I have seen lots of academically gifted people who end up miserable, so this is why I don't take it for granted that having a child like this is so great. I mean, they are higher maintenance in many ways, you know?

Kristin - posted on 01/16/2009

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My personal experience is that each school is different, even in the same district. My 10 year old is in the AIG (Academically & Intellectually Gifted) program at her elementary school. The students in this program are with the AIG teacher for 3 hours each day and are working on 6-7th grade level (sometimes higher) work. Most of the time she really likes it but sometimes the pace is a little quick for her. She likes to really have time to absorb each new subject or project. I like the class though and the teacher does a lot of "real-world" type projects that show students why they need to know the things they learn.

However, other schools in the same system and schools in other neighboring school systems have a different format to their advanced classes. Many of them only meet with the "advanced" teacher an hour a day or less.

I think you would really have to learn more about the specific program at the specific school that your daughter would attend. I have never tried homeschooling my children so i'm not sure what the transition would be like but I know my daughter's best friends are all kids from her AIG class. She relates very well to these kids and it's good for her to realize that, if she's struggling with something in class, they are too.

As for the arrogance issue. There are a few of the mothers that are like that but certainly not the majority. The teacher has workshops occasionally to explain what he's teaching our kids (he uses some lessons that are very different than what we were taught as children, especially in math) and the parents attend, ask questions and often need help understanding where he's coming from LOL.

Kelly - posted on 01/15/2009

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My 8 year old is in the "gifted" program at our public school. He rather enjoys it. They offer it for both reading and math. He is the youngest in 3rd grade yet he is reading at a 6th grade level and is doing 5th grade math right now. It keeps him challenged enough that he is no longer "bored" in school. Which was a problem considering his ADHD. I haven't noticed the arrogance around here. In fact, it seems that most of the moms choose not to talk too much about it. Nobody wants to make another mom feel bad.... we're all relatively good friends. I would recommend the programs. Especially if you are having a hard time keeping her challenged. Good luck!

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