M.M. asks from Tucson, AZ on July 15, 2011
Gifted and Talented School
My daughter tested above the 9th stanine on the GATES test and was invited to attend a new school. Liberty Talented and Gifted Elementary school. It will be a full time gifted school for kids who tested only in the 9th stanine or higher. She will have to be bused to this school from her old one.
Have any of you had children who have attended such a school? She will be in 3rd grade and has been in gifted classes since kindergarten.
Do you think its worth it at this young of an age (she will be 8 in August) ? She does really enjoy her gifted class which she was only getting to attend one day a week.
What are you experiences?
So What Happened?™
Thanks Everyone! I am deffinately leaning towards the GT school. Sounds like everyone has had positive experiences with it. My daughter would love to go and there will be other kids from her gt class to go too im sure.
She has been tested twice. Once in K and scored 98% 9th stanine and again in 2nd. Still te same. She IS globally gifted.
C.T. answers from Dallas on July 16, 2011
I was in GT as a child. Through 5th grade, they pulled me out once a week and bussed me to another school for enrichment. I enjoyed it and got a lot out of it. Then for middle school, they had a "school within the school" and all my classes were with other GT students. I LOVED it, and got so much out of it. We went into a lot of depth on the subjects, and were given great freedom in our explorations. I really think it was the best part of my schooling. I'm fairly certain that my oldest child will qualify for GT, as well, and if he does, I'll be sure to put him in the most involved program I can find.
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M.P. answers from Pittsburgh on July 16, 2011
I would totally do this if I were you-I wish that our district offered it. BEing in an environment with their intellectually equal peers is the best way to teach a gifted student. Out of necessity school districts almost always "teach to the middle". The advanced learners are almost always held back by this philosophy. I have seen this in my own son in the GATE program. He is capable of doing so MUCH more than what is currently being offered at our highly ranked public school. Who the 'No Child Left Behind' act has really hurt is these advanced learners. They sit there bored or with a worksheet while the teachers work at getting the rest of the students ready for the tests. If I had the chance to get him in an accelerated program I most definitely would do so.
Don't pay attention to the negative comments that you will get on GATE. I am just not sure how any parent in good concious could refuse their child accelerated/advanced learning if they would qualify for it. And intelligence is the only unnaceptable topic to discuss when it comes to children. Other parents, even our own parents, are extremely defensive when it comes to this. While everyone is ok hearing how good of an athlete or a dancer your child is NOBODY wants to hear that you have an intelligent child.
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C.C. answers from Flagstaff on July 16, 2011
Ladybug C. is very wrong...As a teacher of GT students, I can tell you that less than 3% of all students qualify for GT. In addition, the tests they use in Elementary School do not test intelligence, but rather they test the way a child thinks. I'm guessing the scores are from the Stanford 9. With your daughter's scores, she is in the top 1%. In other words, out of 100 students, she would test the highest or maybe second. (By the way, there is nothing higher than the 9th Stanine.)
There are definite academic advantages to a fully immersed GT program. Kids have so much more freedom in an immersion program, and quite often can learn at their own pace with more breadth of knowledge. At this age, the education you give her makes such a difference to her future. But what will happen when she "grows out" of the program? Does your school district offer another program at the Jr High and High School level?
There are also definite social disadvantages to such a program. When my daughter went to a school across town, she was shunned by those in the neighborhood. I found myself driving her across town to her new friends' houses and to attend activities with them. I was pleased that she had new friends, but the driving was definitely wearing. Also, when we moved to a new district that did not offer a similar program, she was mainstreamed again and has found jr high and high school boring and not very challenging.
Lots to consider. Feel free to email me if you have more questions about this.
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M.G. answers from Chicago on July 16, 2011
I was a student placed in gifted ed when I was going into second grade. My family moved a lot, so I was in districts where we attended a school like what you are describing, and I was also in districts that did not provide gifted education. I LOVED going to the separate school. I was bored to death when I was in a district that didn't have this. It is very beneficial to your daughter, both academically and socially. She will be with other students who are like her, which will help her to grow socially. Often gifted students have difficulty relating to peers because they are so advanced intellectually. This will be good for her.
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J.G. answers from Indianapolis on July 16, 2011
No one here can tell you your child is not gifted. Only you know her actual test scores. As for the advanced school, is there any specific reason NOT to send her? If you like the teachers and the curriculum then it will only challenge your child and allow her to work closer to her potential. If she is gifted, she will get bored in regular classes. (I was gifted and was extremely bored in regular public school. When I attended the "gifted" school I enjoyed it so much more.) If she is allowed to attend classes that will challenge her then she will enjoy school so much more. Just make sure it is not a high pressure environment. Make sure it allows for creativity and higher level thinking in a relaxed environment with understanding teachers. You could always let her try it out and see how you both like it. But in my experience and opinion, very bright/gifted kids tend to be bored in the regular classroom. Why keep them there if you have a choice?
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S.W. answers from Minneapolis on July 16, 2011
The academic opportunity seems like a positive. Kids that are challenged in school advance faster and further. I would be excited if my daughter (4th grade) had the opportunity to attend a full-time GT program. She is now in a GT enrichment class just a few hours a week and accelerated Math.
The social and family aspects seem important, too, in making this decision. What does your daughter think about switching schools? Does your daughter makes friends easily, and can she continue being friends with kids in your neighborhood after moving to a new school? How far away is the school and from what distance are kids bused? These will be her new friends, which could mean more driving for you for school events and friend gatherings.
How will it affect her siblings for her to go to a special school? I think this can be managed by how you handle it, but something to consider.
Congrats to your daughter!
L.C. answers from Washington DC on July 16, 2011
Don't take this the wrong way: Your child is bright. She is not gifted.
If you think that this is a good thing for her, then let her do it. I never allowed either of my children to be in the GT program. They are both bright - they are not gifted. Truly gifted children are few and far between.
My daughter is currently tutoring the GT math students... She was not in GT math. My daughter is currently taking Chemistry and Physics with the rest of the GT kids in high school - they don't have GT labeled classes there, just AP and Honors. She is just as bright, but didn't go to class with them in elementary and and middle school.
By the time they are in high school, it all evens out... There are kids that were GT in middle school when my son was that age who barely graduated from high school. He was top 3 in his graduating class... GT is not necessary... but - the choice, of course, is yours.
L.R. answers from Washington DC on July 16, 2011
Absolutely worth it. Our system uses different terms and tests than yours, but the basics are the same -- at the end of second grade, parents whose kids are eligible through testing for the Advanced Academic Program can choose whether to send their child in third grade and up to an AAP "center" school (with all advanced classes, all the time, with all other students in those classes being AAP students too) or whether to leave their child at their geographic base school (with once-weekly pull-out class for some academic challenge).
We chose to send my daughter to the AAP center, equivalent to your "talented and gifted elementary school." Best decision ever. though we liked the warmth and community of our base school; still I'm glad we made the change and she is too.
Your daughter would be among other students who operate on her academic level. The teachers can focus on developing work for these kids that is challenging to them and interesting to them (and the teachers don't have to spread themselves too thin trying to work with a classroom where the kids range widely from very academic to barely getting by, which is too often the case). All her subjects will be taught at a more challenging level -- and that will be more fun for her and she will not be bored as she likely would if she stays in her regular classroom. The pull-out weekly classes just cannot give academically what these kids get by being in classrooms that are geared all the time for AAP (or in your case, GT) learning.
Some parents say that if your kid isn't super-motivated and very driven she won't do well, but after two years in our school's AAP program, I see kids who are indeed more driven students and also those who are very mellow and not "scholars." Both types can thrive in these classrooms if the program recognizes that they're kids, have different learning styles and don't necessarily have to make all A's all the time as long as they are actually learning something interesting to them.
I would talk to her potential GT teacher or the GT school's counselor or principal and ask if they think that every kid has to be super-driven to enjoy and thrive at that school. Ask how the curriculum differs from what your daughter would get at her base school.
In our system and maybe in yours the deal is, if they test into advanced academics/GT at age 8, they are "in" for the rest of elementary school, and you could decline to send her to the GT school this year but send her the next year. Personally I would advise sending her this fall if you think she is going to go at all. Waiting only makes it harder on the child; going sooner helps the child forge friendships sooner and get used to the level of work. I knew a family that waited until sixth grade to put their daugher into the program and they really regretted that, because after five years of sailing through everything in a regular classrooom with no effort whatsoever, she suddenly had to work a little at school, whereas if she'd started in third grade, she'd have been used to being more challenged. Know that your child will be getting the same curriculum as other kids who are not in the GT school; the difference is that the curriculum in the GT school may go deeper, have more independent activities/projects, be more creative, etc.
Someone posted that you lose a lot socially by not going to the neighborhood school. But our school is just on the other side of our small community so my daughter has no social issues getting play dates etc. with her friends from her AAP school, and she keeps up with a few friends from the old school (our neighborhood school) because we make that effort. It hasn't been a social issue at all; only you know if it would be for your daughter, but frankly, I think getting the right school takes precedence over "I might lose the people who are my best buddies at age eight" or "I won't be at school with my next-door neighbor." Kids find new buddies pretty quickly at this age -- but it will be tougher if you wait to send her when she's older.
Anyway, our experience has been good. It does indeed depend on the child and I have friends who did not choose to send their kids to the AAP center school and are happy with that decision too. But for us, the challenge of the classes and the fun of being around kids who are very interested in school (and mostly who want to be there every day) has been good for my daughter.