Rebekah - posted on 10/24/2010 ( 1 mom has responded )
We have a conference with our son's teachers scheduled for later this week. I've been thinking a lot about what I should say and how to address our concerns. Wondered if others could weigh in with their success stories or strategies. Here's our situation:
My son has started a new school this year which claims to have differentiated learning paths for their students. His current classroom is Montessori-based, so he is able to choose his own work. However, all the materials are much below his ability level. He finds things to do and keeps himself busy, so, as far as I know, he hasn't been much of a problem for them. At the beginning of the school year I met with his teacher and told her that he enjoys math and what sort of work he's able to do and she essentially told me that she would have him work on his penmanship since she didn't have any math materials that would challenge him. I almost got the impression that she didn't believe me. Of course, this is my son's biggest complaint. He tells us he would like to do more interesting things.
I plan to tell her that he has mentioned this to us and again ask if there is any way for him to work on something harder when he's at school. I think I will suggest that I can supply some worksheets for him, or perhaps buy some Montessori materials for the classroom as a gesture of our willingness to help.
I guess my main issue is that ever since the beginning of school I have felt that she just doesn't "get" it. I tried to explain it to her by giving examples of his interests, but not out and out saying: he is profoundly gifted and this is what he needs. Previously we've had better success with letting the teachers get to know him and realize his abilities mostly on their own.
Our other issue is that the re-enrollment deadline for this school is in early December, so we need to decide if we want to keep him there next year. I'd like to get some sort of conversation started with the school regarding some possibilities for next year (he wouldn't be in a Montessori setting anymore) and acceleration or other options but it seems odd to do so when his teacher has barely acknowledged that he's even very smart. They have clearly laid out that their process involves identifying gifted and they have their own protocol. I don't want to ruffle a lot of feathers by not following their steps, but I also don't want my son to spin his wheels while they figure it out. Nor do I want to be locked into tuition and then find out that the school can't/won't meet his needs.
Thanks for any help or suggestions you can give. I'm not the most extroverted person, so I sometimes get flustered in these meetings and like to have a bit of a plan.