Academically Highly Gifted?

Updated on October 04, 2010
L.M. asks from Seattle, WA
15 answers

Hey there!
I am wondering if any of you might be able to give me some suggestions or advice. We have four children in elementary school and one younger (grades K, 1, 2, and 4th). I received a letter from our school district saying that my son(1st grader now) tested as Academically Highly Gifted on his MAP testing last year. In this letter it goes on to say that there are programs he can enter for his gift but that they are at other specific schools. I think it is also saying that there may be some sort of program at his or other schools that will assist him in his higher learning if I don't choose to switch him for the next school year. The deadline for all of this is Oct. 14th, testing for enrollment and whatever else.
My problem is this, we have been at this school all last school year and really like it so again we chose this school this school year (were on the waiting list because we were not in the cluster area as they call it). My three girls (K, 2, and 3rd) all have some sort of learning delay (one with a new diagnosis of ADD) and this school so far seems to have good programs for that. My concern is that I don't know if they have a good program for highly gifted children. I am not sure if I would want my son to be at a different school all together. Are there any suggestions from moms who might have dealt with this before? I'm not even really sure what this means, his teacher last year never really told me anything. Allthough we all knew that he was really smart/understood things much quicker, could read anything he wanted, does math easily and all that. So, I will hopefully go early to pick the kids up and maybe talk to somebody about it. But I would like to know if anyone has advice on this, would it hurt him to switch to another school? would it hurt to just keep him in his same school? Oh yeah and he has a severe peanut allergy which our school is really good about/ No Nut Zone.
Thanks in advance Moms!

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So What Happened?

Thanks for everyones responses! I did get some mixed review, but I think I realize that he is special just as his sisters are special needs, and I wouldn't want to not help him just as I am helping them. I am going to talk to his school monday morning and see what they have as far as programs go, I'm still just kind of hung up about putting him in another school. It looks like the schools that have these special programs are in a different part of town, which I'm hesitant of. But I will look into things and I will find something that can suit him. Thank you so much!

More Answers



answers from Washington DC on

What does your school offer in gifted education? Is it a pullout program or an actual class where the gifted teacher comes to them? Or the whole class is gifted?
I would see what this school has to offer.
If he is truly highy gifted or profoundly gifted and gets along better with kids who are like him then he would do better in a school where they cluster those kids together. In those classes they will cater to the needs of the higher funtioning child. If he is a happy kid who is just brighter than the rest of the world and makes friends everywhere and your school of choice ihas a program then he will most likely be fine.
If I had this choice I would have moved my dauhgter. She can't really understand anyone who doesn't think like her though and really gets annoyed with the rest of the population, me included.
There are many choices as your son gets older. Start googling gifted programs now to be ready for 4th grade and up when he can start going to camps and taking achievement tests for scholarships and such.

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answers from San Francisco on

I used to work for a program at Stanford that does gifted education online for kids exactly like your son (EPGY). I worked in the writing program, but the program also has an excellent, extensive math program. The beauty of this is that your son can get supplemental instruction that is targeted exactly to his skill-level and he will be able to progress on his own. You can keep him in his current school, which seems like a good solution for your other family concerns.

You should check them out

BTW, I just went through a similar issue with my kids. We love the school that they are a, t but both are academically advanced and we were concerned that they were not being challenged enough. We seriously considerd transfering to an accelerated elementary program but ultimately stayed with our school. We really love the teachers and many other qualities. It is a small Catholic school that really focuses on character building and social justice and it is very important to us that our children develop on all levels, not just academically.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Find out what your current school can offer your child. If they don't have anything or much of anything, then he would be better served going to a school, (even if it is all new and all new friends), that is dedicated to working with gifted kids. Giftedness is not just being smart. It does not simply mean that he will thrive where he is and always make A's. It could backfire if he stays in a class where he is not challenged to his potential. That is the side you don't think about at first, as a parent of a gifted kid. They get bored and tune out. They get bored and get angry for wasting time. They get bored and disrupt class to make it more interesting. They get angry with other kids for slowing things down in class or not following along or following instructions. They get straight A's while the work is so easy, and when the requirement to actually study something comes along (later grades usually.. sometimes not until high school, or even college) they don't know how and give up or drop out and feel like real disappointments, because "how could they not succeed at that?".

Of course, all of those things probably won't be the case with your child. Maybe none of them will. But it is more common than you might think, that kids that are gifted don't always do well, because they are under-challenged and bored. And sometimes they can have social problems as a result as well. They can become known as the "smart kid" (with a mean connotation). They can look down on their peers who have to actually work to learn the material and end up thinking they are "better than" their friends. And if they are highly gifted (as your school says your child is) it is not uncommon for them just to operate on a different wavelength than the other kids. I was in a gifted program. I know who the "highly gifted" kids in my (gifted) class were, because they were always a little "weird". I don't mean that in a bad way... they were just very different. Motivated differently, interested in odd things, usually very very inwardly focused. Not selfish or self-important, just always thinking and quiet and not very outgoing or able to share what was going on in their heads. Maybe they knew they were a little different and so didn't share. Who knows. I was gifted (I guess still am?) but not at the level a couple of the kids in my class were. If your child is at that level, he NEEDS to be in a great gifted program.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Whether or not you put him in the other school,
after you talk to the school people,
you might want to talk to the local Mensa people.
They may have activities/opportunities for very bright children.
About the peanuts . . . . . if your current school, that you like,
has various opportunities for your son to be challenged
in ways outside of the regular, 2nd grade curriculum,
it's probably a good idea to keep him there.
I like the thought of all the children being in the same school.
If the alternative school opportunity has protection from peanuts
and clearly superior academic opportunities,
maybe you could see if there's a shuttle bus program
for children who live out of the area.
Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Go Go Go! At least TRY it for a year. I was invited (full scholarship) into many gifted schools (we moved every 2 years. 1st year, neighborhood school, invited into program or sep school for 2nd year, over and over and over)... but my parents always turned them down because my sibs didn't also get in.

I eventually ended up flunking out of Highschool (with near perfect SATs), and joining the military. School was just BORING. Why bother? Added problem, of course, was that I'm adhd so boring is the kiss of death. (ADHD and gifted USUALLY go together, btw.)

Now... I LOVE my life, but I often wonder... how would it have been different if I'd actually been in a program that was good for ME, instead of one that was lousy for ME but good for my SIBS?

I'm currently working on a quad-degree (nursing + 5th year in trauma, fine art, anthropology -to lead toward an MS in archeology-, & psych) for my undergrad. I love *learning*, but man oh man... did I hate/despise/loathe "school".

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

My son is also Academically Gifted and was a long way ahead of his class in Kindergarten and First Grade. It's a tough decision! And such a big one! He's now in 4th and I'm thankful we didn't pull him out or send him to a different class. Things even out somewhat by the time your child is in third grade. Two different schools would be a real pain in the neck, and for one child to be labeled as "special" would change the attitudes of his other siblings and your son's awareness of himself.

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answers from Seattle on

I taught 7 years at a school for gifted young children and had gifted children of my own so I speak from experience here.

Gifted children are, in their own way, children with special needs, and you need to seek programs for them. You can not expect the regular classroom to meet all their needs. (This is not to down play what the teachers in regular classrooms do--they just cannot do it all.) So, you need to seek out programs for your son.

There are a number of reasons to put your child in a gifted program. Academics is only one. There are also social reasons. Gifted children like to be around other children who think like they think. They brainstorm together, have more interesting ideas, laugh at the same kind of jokes, and reinforce each other's unique view of the world. I cannot emphasize enough how important gifted programs are to the gifted child. They are just as important as other special needs.

Your first step should be to talk to the counselor/principal in your school about this letter and find out about the programs available and where they are. Don't delay--there may be a size limit to the class. You don't want to be last in line. Then go to that school and observe the classroom and talk to the teacher.

This is a good thing and grab it like gold. I want to emphasize what a good thing this is for your. It doesn't happen that often, it is like the brass ring. And it needs to be nourished early in life. Your son and family is lucky that is has been recognized.

Don't worry about the No Nut Zone thing. It can be implemented in the new school too.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

If your son has to take some sort of assessment test, then you may have a while longer than you realize to make this decision. Most children do NOT pass these test the first time around. The test are typically offered 1 to 2 times a year. I say let him take the test and then start looking at your options after he passes, you can then base your decision on his scores. My son assessed for the TAG (Talented and Gifted) program while in elementary school, even though he qualified, he stated he did not want to participate, we let him make that decision. He is now in 7th grade with good grades and no apparent issues with staying in main stream schooling.



answers from Portland on

I haven't dealt with it but when I was in third grade I tested high too - so in 4th they moved me to a school with a program and there were many pluses and minus for me. It turned out I was just a good test take - not really super smart - so being in a class with some really really smart kids for 3 years really took a toll on me (always trying to be as good as they were, blah blah). It wasn't until high school / collage I finally realized this and it was really difficult by then to give up being hard on myself.
Ok, on the plus side. My parents didn't have a lot of money for extra programs or after school activities, etc. This program introduced me to A LOT of stuff my parents could not have. The teachers were terrific and there was little distraction for them (kids that needed extra attention).
You can make whatever you want out of this... I turned out just fine and all - but if I had it to do over again and decide myself I would probably say that my parents might have been able to do just as well with me at the old school but just expose me to extras... BUT that was because like I said, I was just a good studier and test taker. If you feel like your kid really does absorb and excel and would thrive in that environment with other kids it might be worth a shot. But don't beat yourself up over the final decision.



answers from Portland on

You have already answered your own question. You said his teacher last year did nothing special for him I am willing to bet that she didn't give him challenging work to maintain his interest either. Eventually he will become disenchanted and bored with school if he is not being challenged. Transfer him. I was gifted in school and bored and would have loved a challenge. Unfortunately if you remain bored for a long time you get real lazy about school. I came to hate it. Luckily as an adult i came to lovei saw someone advised you to stay because it is extra work for the extra work it will be worth it. Education IS about lighting a flame but you must also keepthat flame going.



answers from Portland on

I want to echo the mom who said to find out what the program entails. My son tested academically gifted at the age of 5. It was recommended that he start 1st grade instead of going into kindergarten. We did that and he still surpassed the other students. The problem with his school was that their answer was to give him extra work. He still had to do the "stupid stuff" as he called it, then spend extra time doing the work that was more at his level. That type of program only frustrated him and he started developing lazy habits. He also didn't like being pulled from his regular class. It made him uncomfortable and he felt like it drew too much attention towards him. I ended up pulling him and homeschooling starting in 4th grade. That way he could do work at his academic level without wasting time on the other work or being singled out. Have you asked him what he thinks? Being a parent is not always convenient. If I had the option of sending him to a school that specialized in gifted students (not just pulling them out of class to give them extra work) I may have chosen that option.



answers from San Francisco on

Is he happy and enthusiastic about his current school? Then keep him there. It will be a real pain in the @$$ to have your kids at different schools.

Remember, education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire.



answers from Dallas on

Sorry, it is not an answer to your question. I was just wandering... my son (4th grade now) always scored above 95% on all tests like MAP, etc. And I can see he is bright, and intelligent. But I have never received a letter suggesting alternative programs, or schools. Does it mean that there are no such schools around (we live in Coppell, TX, Dallas sub)? Or no one care to tell me about those? Or my son is not gifted enough?



answers from Seattle on

Your might be too young to make this decision, but what does he think about it?



answers from Portland on

Most school districts have a TAG (talented and gifted) program or something equivalent. There are all types of ways in which to meet his academic needs. There are pull out programs, after school programs, blended classrooms, and the list goes on. In Tigard, each school has a TAG Representative that is shared between two schools. I was told that they will often do a pull out reading program for kinder students that can read so they won't fall behind. I know in Portland they had enrichment classes that you could enroll your child in and were free up to a limit. You could pay beyond that limit.

Don't forget, though, that it isn't all about academics, social, emotional, and physical needs also need to be met. If he has a strong group of friends in his current school, try to work around that, too. You need to try to meet his needs in order to make him well rounded and not just book smart. Find the alternatives that will help to do this.

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