Thursday, May 21, 2009

"So, it's like a super grade?!??"

was Shaye's interpretation of the mixed grade level classroom where students will ideally be allowed to work at their own skill level for each subject over this year and next- instead of the kids being split by age and taught the traditional first and second grade curriculum separately- described to us at the meeting with our local public elementary school today. One such class has already started and-according to the principal- is working well. They have invited Shaye to join next Tuesday for the remainder of the year, when we will then decide if she could still be challenged in that setting next year or should just be jumped straight to third- where a "walk to reading, walk to math" program allows children of four grade levels to work at a level better suited for their skills versus their age-appropriate "grade" level. Sounds great in theory, but I must admit, I have a hard time trusting the principal who has made it clear he is 100% against grade-jumping, despite any academic need for it. For any child. He won't even be open-minded to it on an individual basis- the only reason he is even accommodating me now (he happily, and hastily, approved my homeschool petition last Fall rather than find a way to accommodate Shaye) is because I went above his head and brought my story to another principal in the school system, who in turn brought it to the attention of the superintendent. Who immediately was for testing Shaye and moving her anywhere her skills said she could be, rather than lose her for good (to homeschooling or to a private school system). I am willing to try it- and Shaye is excited to go anywhere that says they can teach her new things. I just hope she doesn't learn that sometimes things are not what they are said to be. Holding my breath... because this could be the start of something good for the public school system.

Dare I hope?


Ashley said...

Hope it goes well and they can see her true abilities. You've got some smart ones there and I think they get it from their mama.

Way to go not settling for what's easiest and seeking out what's best for your kids.

Tammy said...

This idea sounds really interesting. I'm anxious to hear how it goes for your daughter. Our public school systems around here offers nothing like this. If it works well, hopefully it will spread out to other school systems.

I think you've done an amazing job at making sure your girls get the best education possible.

Have a great weekend!

Jules said...

"a super-grade" I love it! :)

I hope it turns out to be all that she is hoping for - and that it will keep her challenged.

Keep us posted!

Anonymous said...

That's interesting. I think the elementary school I went to starting doing combined grades after I moved up to middle school. I hope it works out - that way your kiddo will be challenged at school and you don't have to pay for it!

Kat said...

That sounds encouraging. My kids' school combines grades for their expeditionary learning then breaks out for core subjects according to their needs. It definitely allows for some growth and is a major plus for us as that was one of the reasons we switched schools. My son had been bumped up a grade in math for 2 & 3rd grades then the principal decided that the school just 'couldn't' do that anymore. In fact she told me that it wasn't a good idea to accelerate kids in math because eventually they would run out of classes to take. I was dumbfounded. So despite my best efforts to work with the teacher and principal, he was in effect held back a grade in math during grade 4. His teacher promised to teach him at his level but had very poor follow through. It was such a breath of fresh air to get to a school with a whole different approach to teaching and learning. Does your school district have accelerated learning or 'gifted' (I hate that term--I think all kids have gifts) programs? Ours didn't start till 5th grade and while that was good, it didn't help the struggles up to that point. Sorry for the long winded comment. I am very passionate on this subject.

gina said...

Kat - which is why it's a little hard to trust them. The beginning of the school year started with them literally putting Shaye in a corner of the room with books and busy work (coloring) while they taught the class. So to think that wham-mo they will just keep going with her now is a little tough to swallow but since it's so close to the end of the year I will give it a try and if things don't continue as well in the Fall- well, there's always homeschooling or Catholic school. :)

Steph @ AnnoyinglyDomestic said...

Oooh, don't get me started on school systems. Being a mother in a town other than the one I grew up in has been a rude awakening for me. I went to a phenomenal public elementary (and middle) school with all sorts of learning/program options for those who needed a little bit more one way or another. My accelerated classes and the teachers who cared kept me loving school and thriving.

This is my oldest sons first year in school (Kinder) and he spent the first half of it in a public school where he went virtually unsupervised in a class of 30, learning about things that I don't want him learning until he's 35 years old. He's in a phenomenal private school now, which, fortunately, is very inexpensive because of the cost of living here (unlike the 18000/yr I used to pay for Montessori when he was 3). Our next option, if this didn't work out, was homeschooling, which I'm reluctant to do because I'm afraid I won't be able to provide them with what they need. Anyway, as you know, there are "good" public schools as well as "bad." You've learned how you'll have to deal with any issues that arise (skip the principal and go up the chain), and fortunately, you know and are comfortable with your options. You're in a good position! And if you do have to explain a change of events to her, she's a smart girl and you've been a great teacher so far - this won't be any different. Have faith (I think you already do, but it bears saying). :)

gina said...

NOTE: Massachusetts does not test for, recognize or accomadate in any extra way- gifted students.

elexisb said...

I've been wondering how things with schooling/unschooling were going to go this year and just searched your unschooling category for the update. big change of events in life for you huh?! you must've been prepared to be super-mom in a super-new house you're still working on and now you'll be all alone! hope this is the best choice for the girls AND you of course :)

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