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 What do we do?

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souptooth



Posts : 15
Join date : 2009-01-30

PostSubject: What do we do?   Fri 30 Jan 2009, 1:44 pm

I have heard thought the grapevine that Zoller is going to have a new principal next year.......

We were thinking of moving our son there so he could have a fresh start with new kids. He is having a hard time due to a grade skip.... little to nothing is being done about it. They put him a grade ahead and washed there hands of him, cutting him off from any support group he had in place. Believe or not, it can be very difficult on a kid to be the smartest kid in the class, or school. Many kids (and parents and teachers for that matter) don't realize he didn't choose this, nobody sat him in a chair and made him look at flash cards..... he came out smart. We have a saying in our house "smarter isn't better, it's just smarter". We value him as much as we value family members who are mentally retarded. Both are integral parts of our family and we wouldn't change a thing about any of them.

It's not fun being different, but it is something he will have to deal with for the rest of his days. I am really tired of hearing people tell me "just let him be a kid". I want to answer "Great, you educate him to the level of his ability and I'll let him be a kid." I don't want him to become and very smart underachiever. He is headed down that road and his current education situation is pushing him along. We have tried and tried to work with his current school and while the teachers are great.... no educational plan has ever been put in place. We were told flat out, "For an IEP, he'll need to have a diagnoses." What should we have him diagnosed with.... smartness?

If he goes to a new school no one would know he was "the smart kid who got skipped a grade", unless he choose to tell them. So we looked at other school first private, they are either too expensive and are not willing to teach him to his level or they are just too expensive.

I have tried to look at other schools (Zoller and Howe) within the district that he could go to and either people don't return my phone calls, or tell me to wait till August. I have contacted the director of gifted education and while I know he wants to be helpful ..... he has sent me great links and has tried to maintain a ongoing dialog. I believe, he like every other person in this district is overworked and underpaid. My son is not yet in a grade that qualifies for young scholars. He will qualify grade-wise next year. However, he already qualifies by the scores on the SCAT test. While the young scholars program looks nice, honestly...... it isn't enough. There should be a self contained program for gifted kids at a younger level. The high school program is great, but that is if you can keep your child interested in school until they are able to age into it.

The district tests all the kids when they come to school so they know in kindergarten which ones are potentially gifted right off the bat. Why not go further, why not figure out which ones are extremely or profoundly gifted and cull them out for a self contained classes that can work at there advanced pace. I know that there are parents in this district that will scream elitism..... but there has been study after study.... You can point to the state of Pennsylvania, they surpass NYS in gifted education by leaps and bonds. It's not like there isn't any documentation out there to support this, the science is behind this.

Statistically, there has to be enough kids to start a gifted k-8 elementary. You could have some kids who are only gifted in one area come and take classes there. It could be attached to a regular elementary, so if the kid is way ahead only in math, he could just take the advance math class and then go back to the normal school for the rest of the day. Kids like my son would stay for most of the day, only leaving for specials (Art and music...etc.) Maybe if you really felt like being progressive you could include talented kids. So a kid that is talented in art could take an advanced art class, and then go to the normal school for the rest of the day.

Of course all this sounds great on paper and in reality it seems like a pipe dream. Maybe someday Schenectady will catch up with the rest of the country. But it comes down to, what do we do right now?
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Linda



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PostSubject: Seriously?   Sat 31 Jan 2009, 7:00 am

Maybe you should get a bunch of parents of gifted kids in the district together and hire a lawyer to try to make this happen.
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moab



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PostSubject: Re: What do we do?   Sat 31 Jan 2009, 10:45 am

charter school? Parents need to get together and push. It could be an international/gifted combination:)
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souptooth



Posts : 15
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PostSubject: Re: What do we do?   Sat 31 Jan 2009, 11:03 am

wow.... what an interesting idea!

combine the international idea with a gifted school

I have been thinking of starting a AGATE chapter. I know that Scotia Glenville just started a self contained class for gifted kids, also Niskayuna I believe has one.......

I am not really in love with the whole charter thing.... I would much rather work with the district, but i guess if they are not willing to even talk about the idea, then what is the choice?

Moving to the self contained model is a trend that is happening all over the country, Schenectady will probably eventually have to get on board.

here is a link to AGATE, http://www.agateny.com/
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Fitzmama2



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PostSubject: Re: What do we do?   Sat 31 Jan 2009, 11:59 pm

If you are interested in Howe, it is a magnet school so whomever told you to wait until August is wrong.
You need to fill out an magnet school application if you are even thinking of trying to get him in there. My kids go there and it is a great school. If you have more questions, just message me.
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Admin
Admin


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Join date : 2008-10-29

PostSubject: Re: What do we do?   Sun 01 Feb 2009, 10:33 am

souptooth wrote:
I have heard thought the grapevine that Zoller is going to have a new principal next year.......

We were thinking of moving our son there so he could have a fresh start with new kids. He is having a hard time due to a grade skip.... little to nothing is being done about it. They put him a grade ahead and washed there hands of him, cutting him off from any support group he had in place. Believe or not, it can be very difficult on a kid to be the smartest kid in the class, or school. Many kids (and parents and teachers for that matter) don't realize he didn't choose this, nobody sat him in a chair and made him look at flash cards..... he came out smart. We have a saying in our house "smarter isn't better, it's just smarter". We value him as much as we value family members who are mentally retarded. Both are integral parts of our family and we wouldn't change a thing about any of them.

It's not fun being different, but it is something he will have to deal with for the rest of his days. I am really tired of hearing people tell me "just let him be a kid". I want to answer "Great, you educate him to the level of his ability and I'll let him be a kid." I don't want him to become and very smart underachiever. He is headed down that road and his current education situation is pushing him along. We have tried and tried to work with his current school and while the teachers are great.... no educational plan has ever been put in place. We were told flat out, "For an IEP, he'll need to have a diagnoses." What should we have him diagnosed with.... smartness?

If he goes to a new school no one would know he was "the smart kid who got skipped a grade", unless he choose to tell them. So we looked at other school first private, they are either too expensive and are not willing to teach him to his level or they are just too expensive.

I have tried to look at other schools (Zoller and Howe) within the district that he could go to and either people don't return my phone calls, or tell me to wait till August. I have contacted the director of gifted education and while I know he wants to be helpful ..... he has sent me great links and has tried to maintain a ongoing dialog. I believe, he like every other person in this district is overworked and underpaid. My son is not yet in a grade that qualifies for young scholars. He will qualify grade-wise next year. However, he already qualifies by the scores on the SCAT test. While the young scholars program looks nice, honestly...... it isn't enough. There should be a self contained program for gifted kids at a younger level. The high school program is great, but that is if you can keep your child interested in school until they are able to age into it.

The district tests all the kids when they come to school so they know in kindergarten which ones are potentially gifted right off the bat. Why not go further, why not figure out which ones are extremely or profoundly gifted and cull them out for a self contained classes that can work at there advanced pace. I know that there are parents in this district that will scream elitism..... but there has been study after study.... You can point to the state of Pennsylvania, they surpass NYS in gifted education by leaps and bonds. It's not like there isn't any documentation out there to support this, the science is behind this.

Statistically, there has to be enough kids to start a gifted k-8 elementary. You could have some kids who are only gifted in one area come and take classes there. It could be attached to a regular elementary, so if the kid is way ahead only in math, he could just take the advance math class and then go back to the normal school for the rest of the day. Kids like my son would stay for most of the day, only leaving for specials (Art and music...etc.) Maybe if you really felt like being progressive you could include talented kids. So a kid that is talented in art could take an advanced art class, and then go to the normal school for the rest of the day.

Of course all this sounds great on paper and in reality it seems like a pipe dream. Maybe someday Schenectady will catch up with the rest of the country. But it comes down to, what do we do right now?

A: I share you concern about a lack of a system-wide advanced academic program available to children who need the stimulation and stretching the you are talking about. We have excellent programs at the high school for these students but little in the lower grades except some world language instruction, some accelerated math and classroom enrichment done by teachers in their classrooms if they have the time to devote. That time is hard to come by sometimes. In my proposal, I have committed an administrator to exploring the Early Years and Middle Years International Baccalaureate program for future implementation throughout the district. Also, we are in the middle of developing a five year strategic plan for our district and one task force is studying something we refer to as "Targeted Academic Programs" that are designed to meet the needs of all learners. We are aware of this need in our school system and we are taking steps to close that gap as quickly as we can.
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tdrparent



Posts : 22
Join date : 2009-01-23

PostSubject: Souptooth - do consider Howe   Sun 01 Feb 2009, 11:01 am

Hi Souptooth - it can't hurt to put your child into the lottery for Howe. It's a small enough community that, in the absense of a formal program, they will do their best to work out a customized program for your child. Several really really bright kids have found a good fit there over the years.
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souptooth



Posts : 15
Join date : 2009-01-30

PostSubject: Re: What do we do?   Sun 01 Feb 2009, 12:14 pm

I share you concern about a lack of a system-wide advanced academic program available to children who need the stimulation and stretching the you are talking about. We have excellent programs at the high school for these students but little in the lower grades except some world language instruction, some accelerated math and classroom enrichment done by teachers in their classrooms if they have the time to devote. That time is hard to come by sometimes. In my proposal, I have committed an administrator to exploring the Early Years and Middle Years International Baccalaureate program for future implementation throughout the district. Also, we are in the middle of developing a five year strategic plan for our district and one task force is studying something we refer to as "Targeted Academic Programs" that are designed to meet the needs of all learners. We are aware of this need in our school system and we are taking steps to close that gap as quickly as we can.

THIS SOUNDS WONDERFUL! Wow I am thrilled to hear about this! I would GLADLY volunteer to give a parents perspective on this........ but That brings us back to the question..... What do I do now? This coming year? Howe is going into a transition, and frankly I'm not sure putting my son into the middle of that would benefit him. Not to mention the fact, that it's based on a lottery. What do we do if we plan on Howe, and then his name isn't picked for it? He currently attends one of the other Magnets. He needs a change of setting, he is known as the "smart kid" and has been chastised for it.

Can we petition the district to have him take on-line classes from CTY (Johns Hopkins) in math, ELA, writing, Science and foreign language. He then could be placed into a class of his age peers, he would do much of his school work on-line but have classes like art, PE and music at an appropriate level. He has taken the SCAT test and scored well. He qualifies for pretty much any class in there program for 5th graders. But we can't afford them. While they offer financial aid, he would be limited to one class a year. Is this in the realm of possibility?
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Sandra



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Join date : 2008-12-19

PostSubject: Re: What do we do?   Sun 01 Feb 2009, 7:40 pm

I read about the online course request and wanted to wish you luck, but there are so many inequities. At the high school, there is one house that has not been able to go on a single college visit this year even though studies show that kids who visit a college in person are more likely to attend and the other three houses have done numerous trips. If there is any fumes in the budget somewhere, I do hope the administration decides to at least provide equial opportunities at the high school level.
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souptooth



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PostSubject: Re: What do we do?   Mon 02 Feb 2009, 2:25 am

hey Sandra... All this talk of high school has me a little confused, my son is in elementary school.... not high school yet.... give him two or three years of years. Of course I am kidding, it may take him 4 years to get into high school. *Tap tap tap.... is this thing on?*

Seriously though, my son already saved the district tons of money... he skipped a grade, that is one less year they will have to spend on him. If they invest in the on-line education, which is self paced, he could be through with high school before this 14th birthday.... That would save the district a boat load of money.

By the way, there is a college in walking distance from the school. Union College, the kids would just have to walk about five block up Knot St. It's a great school. I am sure if you spoke to the house principal you could arrange something.
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