Academically Talented Kid. Should We Move to Different School District?

Updated on July 01, 2013
E.M. asks from Chicago, IL
43 answers

My son is entering first grade in the fall. He has tested in the gifted range for both reading and math. We live in a small suburb of Chicago with decent elementary and jr high schools. However, the AT program seems very limited and the high school is not well rated.

We are on the border at a very large, excellent school district (Naperville) and could move less than 2 miles away to be in their school district. Naperville's school district has a very good AT program and the neighborhood school in the area where we'd move actually has a magnet math and science AT program for the rest of the district.

Downside? We LOVE our house. We also have an amazing interest rate (2.75). We bought this place 6 yrs ago and paid a premium right before the real estate market crashed. We are not upside down on it, but probably wouldn't even break even. to decide what to do? Can I find enrichment programs to fill the gap in the school programs? What questions can I ask the school staff in order to accurately compare the districts? I'm really torn. My husband is pretty annoyed with the idea that we might need to move, but I believe our son is more than one grade level accelerated, and would benefit from some very challenging opportunities.

Advice from other parents of gifted kids, please! (Btw, I'm not going to home school or go the private school route.)

Edit: only reason I am including the high school in my thought process at the point is because I don't to move the kids when they are older and "set" with their friends, etc... I'd rather do it when they are still in grade school.

Edit: the Naperville school district does not allow non-residents. So that is not an option.

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So What Happened?

First of all, thanks to those of you that gave good, thoughtful advice. I will certainly be researching our options before my husband and I make any decisions.

I'm not sure why some thought that my question implied that my son isn't allowed to "be a kid", that we have labeled him, that we are in a rush, or that we would be "uprooting" our family by moving 2 miles away. (In fact, we would live in the same town we do now, but in an area that attends Naperville schools.) We never use the term "gifted" in front of him. We don't even tell him he's smart. Instead, we praise him for trying hard and for doing a good job, when actually does a good job. He has lots of buddies in the neighborhood, plays park district sports, goes to museums & playgrounds, and occasionally torments his little sister.

If we do move, we won't tell him that it was b/c his current schools aren't challenging enough for him. It also wouldn't happen for at least a year...probably more like 2 or 3. However, in my experience, selling/buying a home can be a lengthy process, so it seems realistic to start thinking about it now.

As far as whether or not things will "even out" for him academically, I have some evidence to the contrary. My son started reading at 3-1/2. His K teacher wrote a recommendation for him to enroll in a Center for Gifted program this summer. He started doing addition & subtraction in his head before being taught any math. My husband is highly intelligent and my son is following some of the patterns that he did. It just is what it is. We aren't pushing him.

Also, we can afford to break even on our house. It wouldn't be ideal, but it also wouldn't be a hardship. My husband is mainly annoyed at how much work it takes to move, which is funny b/c I would be the one arranging everything!

He is my first. I am new to this. Like any parent who has a kid that falls outside the norm, deciding what path to take is a process. Thank you to those in similar shoes who took time to answer me in a positive way.

Featured Answers



answers from Raleigh on

Formal testing and placement generally doesn't begin until 3rd grade.I would revisit this issue then, once he is formally assigned as gifted.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Don't worry about High School when child is entering first grade. Ask how they differentiate instruction, what can student do when they finish their assigned work, what programs are available.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Academically talented at age 6? Put him in afterschool activities to make him also talented in sports and thus a well-rounded kid. Stay put.

5 moms found this helpful

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answers from New York on

My daughter is highly intelligent. She also tested in the gifted range in 1st & 2nd grade. Emotionally she was less mature however. We discussed putting her into the gifted program at our school and decided against it. She's now going into 12th grade so I've seen all the kids around her as they progressed through middle school and high school - so I now have some perspective. At 17 my daughter isn't certain if she wants to go into engineering or physical/occupational therapy. Until she knows what she wants to do she will be going to the local community college to get her requirements done (english comp, history, etc.) Once she's more focused she'll apply to the schools she wants to attend. So her high school IB classes won't matter all that much by then.

No driven, focused, highly intelligent person was held back from their life goals and pursuits because their school district didn't have as good as a gifted program as their parents wished to have.

My advice - don't move your family from a nieghborhood and home you all love so your very intellignet child can get into a gifted program in a great school district. At this age he and you are still trying to figure out what his interests and skills are (heck at my age of 54 I'm still working on that). A really bright child will excel where ever he is. And if high school and college are your concern, he'd be more likely to get accepted to the college of his choice and get scholarships if he's one of a few really bright kids in a huge city school than one of many, many bright kids in a gifted program from a school district that's considered wonderful.

A much bigger determining factor to a child's success in life is his parents and the support he gets from them. Setting up proper expectations, showing your child the honorable and honest way to do things, accepting him for who he is and alloiwng them to fail and pick themselves up and keep going are the better gifts you can give your child.

How wonderful that these are the problems we worry about. How nice that we aren't worrying about our child's next meal or shelter. We live a blessed life.

19 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I am sure your child is very gifted but keep in mind......he is entering first grade.

As an educator as well......MANY kids test highly early on and most of the time.... they all even out by 2nd-3rd grade.

So to be considering a move right now is a bit early in my opinion because by the time he reaches 3rd grade, he could very well be well in the mix with the other children in his class.

I wouldn't disrupt the stability of my family, finances, etc to make a move like this when the child is so young. There is plenty of time to make arrangements if and when he truly needs it at a later date. Most teachers will make sure that students don't get frustrated or bored in class.

If you go in to the school with the "gifted" attitude and he shows that attitude to others, you are setting yourself up. There are people who swear their children are the next Einstein and we have to deal with them respectively as adults but their poor children are ostracized by other children because some of them act so superior.

It is a fine balance.... please make sure he is balanced whatever you do so that he gets the full benefit of his education.

Best wishes.

17 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

You can get a very good education out of any public school in the nation provided that you are available to help at school and at home, you keep your child academically motivated, and you are involved in the district and the classroom.
If you expect the schools to do everything while you sit back and pay taxes, you won't have the results you want or expect. There are kids who are simply motivated who are in crappy school systems who have no help who do exceptionally well.
Now the gifted thing... There are very few people in the world who are truly gifted. GT programs aren't all they are cracked up to be... I kept both of my bright children out of the GT programs and both have done exceptionally well. Both have scholarships to college.
So -- I would stay put, get involved in the schools my children attend, supplement when necessary, and be available.
Just my 2 cents.

17 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

In the more exclusive public districts like Naperville, it's a lot harder to get into the AT programs. Friends of mine moved out of Naperville because their daughter wasn't getting the attention they thought she needed. She tested as gifted but there was a waiting list in her elementary because so many kids were advanced. They moved to a fine district in Indiana and their daughter is now a big fish in a small pond. She is in gifted programs, there's more attention paid to kids, and they are far happier.

Personally, I would not move. Academics are important, but they're only one piece of the puzzle. Besides, the district you're in is still a good one. It doesn't need to be the best because that doesn't guarantee your son the best education. To put it into perspective, I live in New Mexico. My daughters attend one of the best elementary schools in the state. But... There isn't a single school in all of New Mexico that ranks up there with ANY of the public schools near Naperville or Downers Grove. That means that your son already goes to a far better school than my kids, who also test as gifted (several grade levels advanced in math and creativity for one, several grades ahead in reading for the other). I don't have the option of moving districts and so I trust my girls will get a great education right where we are. I do enrichment activities at home and I advocate for them at school. My advice is to stay where your family is happy and don't jump at every opportunity to get the best of the best of the best for your son. It will only drive you crazy.

14 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I am an educator as well, and I must agree with TF Plano/Allen.

Good schools are not going to place a gifted label on a kindergarten student unless it is a highly unusual situation. It's just not a good practice. Formal testing should be done at a third grade level.

Until then, most schools will provide enrichment activities to:
a. keep your child engaged
b. help determine if the qualification process for gifted is necessary

So like most of the posters below, I agree that you should stay put. Let your awesome little guy be a boy and enjoy his childhood. Give him lots of outside activities that play to his interests and offer him lots of opportunities to read.

I love how NYMetromom phrased it: you do have a blessed life!

Good luck to you- please keep us posted of your decision!

11 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Are you aware how insignificant testing a grade or two ahead in kindergarten is? Because of this one marker you are going to go all in, moving, based on something that can equal out in a year or two. Then what will you do, move back?

I don't know, I am very smart, I have very smart kids, sorry I have been told calling it intellectual capabilities, referring to IQs is rude, so I am going with smart. So my kids could have gone into some program, so what, they are kids, there is so much more to being a kid than just school and learning.

Even if the "gifted" programs was going to be the path I took my kids down I sure wouldn't go all in in kindergarten. Third grade is pretty much where they separate the wheat from the chaff.

Still, four kids, two are adults now, very successful, never felt that bumper sticker was worth their childhood.
Lord, I had two kids read at that age and they weren't the smarter two. My boys are smarter than my girls and they didn't even talk till they were nearly three. My girls like to read with me, my boys wanted to discover the world.

If you don't understand your boy is only ahead at the moment because you read to him, worked with him. He will never achieve more than his intelligence determines and that is generally an unknown until around third grade.

We are just trying to help you understand there are still too many unknowns for you to be planning out your kids life.

I just don't think you get, those of us who actually have raised truly gifted kids never put them in the programs.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I think you are jumping the gun; it's first grade. Supplement at home or get a tutor.

As he gets older and you see where he truly is academically, what happens if you would like a different school for him rather than the Naperville district? What if he got accepted to IMSA or you may want to look into the Learning Vine (you should check this out!!!) or any other challenging school/program, then the move would be meaningless.

Don't put all your eggs in one basket, he's way too young to make such a big decision....that's quite the load you're putting on a 7 yr olds shoulders.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

If your child were entering middle school maybe. If your child were entering high school, definitely. I would NOT move for first grade testing as "gifted." At this age "gifted" is subjective. In middle school and high school, it's far more defined. They also won't offer accelerated programs until middle school.

What you'll need to do is supplement his education at home, which should be done whether he's gifted or not. It should be done whether he's a talented student or a mediocre student.

I have a gifted child that's 12 years old. She's in several accelerated programs. She was able to remain in mainstream classes during elementary school while still receiving work that was suited to her and her talents were fostered.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

He is entering first grade. The whole "gifted" thing might just even out and he will be on par with the other kids as the year goes on. If you have a crystal ball, and know the the schools where you want to move to, will be the same in 10 years go ahead and move. I personally would not uproot everyone because your five year old tested well. You may regret it. I mean if you have a child prodigy, which is different than a smart kid, that is a whole different ball game. I would stay put, but I am a very realistic person.
He may not test smart in another district. Happened to a friend of mine.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

My kids are gifted, if that's the requirement for answering this question. Two of the three tested as such, and I'm not sure if the third did, but she got almost straight A's, so she's at least pretty smart.

I think you don't need to move yet. He's only in first grade, and you might discover that his school provides him with a good education, no matter how it's "rated." I can't speak for your state, but many schools' ratings are ultimately based on their demographics, and that doesn't mean that the schools don't have talented and wonderful teachers.

Any school is only as good as its teachers. Your child's teacher will change from year to year. Even in a "bad" school, there are wonderful teachers, and in a "good" school, there are mediocre or bad teachers. If your child is lucky enough to get a great teacher this year, that's all that matters.

I wouldn't necessarily move to a magnet math and science school until I knew for certain that those were my child's strengths. What if your child is gifted, but his passions are in the arts?

You are putting the cart before the horse if you move at this point in time. Unless he is bored in school, he will learn all he needs to know, and then some. He is only in first grade, and they aren't learning rocket science at that level. Give him extracurricular stuff at home, if you're worried.

Try this school out, before you move. You can also look to see if there are any charter schools in your area. Charter schools are public schools.

Education is the lighting of a fire, not the filling of a pail. If your current school lights your son's fire, that's what really counts.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I don't ever put our "I have a kid that gets better grades than yours" bumper stickers on our car. ( doesn't really say that but in essence that is what it says.)

I sure as heck wouldn't move to be in a better school if our school is already good. Let your son excel and thrive where he is at. It will boost your son's self confidence to be top of his class.

It makes no sense to me to go against your husband's wishes, leave your very stable financial set up with your lovely home and uproot simply because your son tested high in Reading and Math coming out of kindergarten. Our son was the same in Kindergarten. He was allowed to move up to the next grade level's Math and Reading time then come back to Kindergarten for the remainder of the day. Now(heading into 8th grade) he takes Honor's courses and lots of extra curricular activities.

Cool down your enriching activities at home. Nurture his inner love for reading and learning. Don't burn him out so soon with the academic rigors of extra worksheets and such. Let him explore the world around him, stimulate his inner drive to be inquisitive and teach him to work hard.

I know plenty of people that were in the "gifted" program, they knew they were smart, their parents knew they were smart...but that is all they had on their smarts.

Some of our most intelligent entrepreneurs never graduated from college...but they had incredible drive, ambition, people skills and imagination. You don't take an AP course in all comes from life experiences. I wouldn't focus so much on this one time testing in the gifted range.

Provide a loving and nurturing home, encourage hard work and please don't focus too much on his test scores. Test scores are overrated!!

So, I am on your husband's side..a little annoyed at the thought of you leaving your awesome set up...simply because of a kindergarten gifted range score. One grade level accelerated isn't much at all up against kids 2-3 grade level accelerated and that is what he would be up against if you get him into special programs/school. Let him be the star in his class...let him shine where he is.

Good luck and best wishes!!!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

You'll be fine staying where you are.
Gifted programs (at least where we are) are pretty watered down through elementary and middle school.
You'll do much better if you don't rely on them - don't let the school limit what your child learns - because SO MUCH is lost because schools pretty much teach specifically toward SOL tests.
No Child Left Behind has been a disaster for gifted students - they are not allowed to get ahead.
If your child has an interest - pursue it at home after school and on your own.
Sure he'll have to slog through the boring classroom stuff/homework and endless repetitions due to the class (any class) traveling at the pace of the slowest student.
But if he has something to look forward to - a museum trip, an at home science project/experiment, science camp, an aquarium/zoo trip, etc - he'll much better be able to stay engaged (and enthusiastic) about learning - and that's what really makes a difference in the long run.
You don't have to move to another district to make the most of his education - you can do that right where you are.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

There is no rush. If you would rather live in a different school district for later school years, it isn't going to be that big of a deal to wait until your child is in 3rd grade or even later. I would simply try to make the move before middle school (and not later than that) if you decide you do want to move.

Perhaps housing will rebound somewhat over the next few years and it won't be a loss/break even event to sell at that time. And it will give you another couple of years to really consider it. You may even find that in a few more years, your perfect home isn't really what suits you and your family anymore. That happens sometimes. You may decide you want more or less yard, to add or no longer have a pet, to add family members (babies or elder care situations), etc..
You have time. No rush.

You really do have to balance your family, not just focus solely on your child's education. Kids are so much more than just their education. What kind of childhood do you want for your child(ren)? How does that play out depending upon your housing situation? Not just the school district (all that comes into play), but access to outside activities, changes in expenses and how that affects your budget expenditures for other activities, etc. Look at the whole picture, the whole child. Not just the schools.


Oh, for what it's worth: My daughter is in the G/T program also. She was in private schools for K4-2nd grade, which had no "special" programs. She was tested and put into a gifted/talented pull out program in 3rd grade, which she participated in for 3rd and 4th grades. For 5th grade we tried out virtual school online (still public school curriculum, but done at home online). Last year, she moved up into middle school (6th grade) back in brick/mortar classes where she was grouped with other G/T kids in core classes designed for them (the language and math classes).

Where we live, all the schools feed into one high school for the entire county. Her public elementary school was not the greatest, but it didn't matter. She had one excellent teacher there, and one that was retiring, but also had phenomenal G/T pull out program teachers and opportunities.

We have always supplemented with outside activities (martial arts, piano, etc) and encouraged her to try new things when the opportunity presents itself (taking a Latin course online, learning Japanese from a hand-me-down Mp3 player her aunt was using to learn it so she could communicate better with her in-laws, summer bridge workbooks of her own choosing, game shows on TV like Jeopardy or Lingo, crossword puzzles, sudoku, and on and on).
She is going into 7th grade in the fall and plays in the school band, and is planning to try out for jazz band on the piano also.
There are tons of things you can help your child experience, and if you don't provide prompting, your child will prompt you.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

IMO, kindergarten/1st grade is too soon to make a major decision like moving based on your son's test scores. Most school districts don't make decisions about GT until at least 2nd grade. I have found that GT programs are often over rated. My boys benefitted from them in elementary school, but the district pretty much drops the ball on GT in middle school. There are, however, a lot of opportunities for AP and Honors classes in HS. We happen to live in a very good public school district. However, I have found that education is a lot of what the child and the parents put into it. When you say the HS isn't very good, have you looked into what Honors and AP programs they offer? What were the ratings based on? If you love your house and area and would take a financial hit on moving I would stay put, at least for now, and work with the school, the district and look for other enrichment opportunities for your son. Things can really change over the years too. Middle school is VERY different from elementary school and has a host of new challenges, both socially and academically. Many kids who breeze through elementary school find middle school to be a different situation. I have two "gifted" kids and one breezed through middle school and one is finding it more challenging, for a variety of reasons.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Is there any reason in particular that you aren't interested in a private school? Is it because of religious affiliation? If so, there is a great secular private school off Maple in Downers Grove (I am guessing you might be in Lisle or Woordridge), called Avery Coonley. I think my kid is smart, but I don't think he's smart enough for Avery Coonley.

If your reasons against private school are more social, as in private school kids might have a tendency to be snobbish, I can assure you that you will find at least that much snobbishness in the Naperville schools.

ETA: If you have the slightest interest in a private, Catholic school, I know of 3 great ones in the area. My son's school, Ss. Peter & Paul in Naperville and St. Joan of Arc in Lisle are both recent Blue Ribbon recipients. All Saint's in Naperville is also excellent. Just thought I'd throw those out there.

Another thing to consider--although your house has lost value, so have Naperville houses. But, that is starting to change. We've been searching for a Naperville or Lisle home and have noticed the prices are trending higher. One place that seems will give you a lot for your money is the new Arbor Trails development that is coming to Lisle, off of Maple & Benedictine Pkwy. That's our target area for new construction that will put us in D203 (which we plan to use for high school.)

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

There are a lot of things you can do to enrich him at this point...... I would wait until you see what the school district really has to offer him...... maybe after a year, either your school district will start offering more GT programs, or the real-estate market will have improved enough to make the move more attractive to your hubby.

As far as enrichment programs, just look to see what activities you can enroll him in... don't push him at this point. Find out his interests and encourage that. Also, be sure to let him be a kid, too!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

My son has tested at 5th grade level for language comprehension, math and reading, HOWEVER being that he's only in 2nd grade I would never move. You might want to look and see if the school offers a GIfted program for young kids, my sons school does not, and we supplement his learning at home. Don't move right now, elementary is so varied in where kids place. Heck half the kids in his 1st grade class would be considered gifted by your standard. Half the class read at least 2 grade levels higher and 1-2 levels in math.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Stay put. You really want to uproot the whole family because your gifted program isn't as good as the other district's? He's still so young; there's plenty of time to label him.

If you really feel that the school is not meeting his needs academically, then there are always ways you can supplement that at home. I'm not saying "home school"....but surely there are websites that can offer suggestions of how to challenge a gifted child.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

I think I would begin by talking to people at your son's school. What kinds of programs do they have and do they recommend. I would explore the options you have that don't involve moving.

For the most part, children will succeed if their parents believe education (and learning) is important. Children will succeed in the lowest rated schools, if there is a desire to succeed. And children will fail in the best schools if they do not have the desire to succeed.

Test scores and school ratings reflect the population of the school as well as the quality of the program. If most of the students are motivated, the school will have a high rating. If most of the students are not motivated, the school will have a low rating.

Naperville has a great school district, no doubt about that. But there are many reasons for that. Naperville has a very large percentage of people who are highly educated and want that for their kids and are willing to pay for tutors and extra programs to ensure their children's academic success. Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't necessarily mean that your school district is any better or worse than Naperville. My point is, don't rely on test scores alone to determine what's best for your child. You are the biggest influence or whether or not your child succeeds.

We live in a very good school district. But it's not a school district that gets much attention. There are two other school districts in our area that get the bulk of the attention. One of them is huge, and "everyone" wants to live there because it's the best. I used to work in that community, and one of my co-workers used to work at the high school. It's a good school district, and the parents are very highly educated and want the best for their kids. But neither of us want our kids to be in that school district. It's just too big, and the arrogance is definitely not what we want for our kids. She lives in the other "great" school district, which is much quieter and still very, very good. We live in the lesser known, but just a good, school district. We are all very happy with our decisions.

I think if it were my son, I would stay put ... at least for now. Give this other school district some time and see what enrichment options you have in your area. If you ultimately decide he just isn't being challenged, then consider moving. But I think there's still time to see how good this school district is.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I don't give school ratings much credit.

I really don't care how well all the kids in the school do on some state standardized test.. I only care about my child.

My kids are in a top rated school district.. but my son is still bored and not at all challenged.. because even in a top district... they have a range of students and in the early grades they have to teach to the middle of the range of abilities..

I know once they get to high school there will be advanced placement classes for my kids. but in kinder and first.. all the kids do the same work.

I would probably not move.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I read the answers below and it seems to me that you've gotten some good feedback already. I especially liked the suggestions of 'enrichment' activities at home or through camps. You don't have to be a teacher to pull this off, by the way, or full-on homeschool. I do these with my son regularly.

One other thing I haven't seen mentioned, but which did cross my mind: were I in a similar situation as you are, I would be wanting to consider the affect of moving on my whole family. Prepping a house for sale, listing it, showing it.... all for what is more or less a maybe? I can empathize with your husband's point of view-- this could be a lot of work and more debt --and you could still end up feeling that your son isn't being 'met' academically. Try to keep in mind what's best for your whole family. Personally, I would also want to keep my child in connection with his kindergarten buddies-- for many kids this age, that's what going to school is about: seeing their friends.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

Have you explored how much it would cost to send him to Naperville and live in your current house? A friend of mine looked into that here but ultimately decided not to. You could call the district office and ask them how much it would cost.

But if you live in a very good school district, and he's in first grade, I would give it some time. First grade is about so much more than academics. Right now, he needs to socialize with his peers. That's a huge part of the early years. If in a couple of years he seems to be bored or not really challenged, then I would consider other options.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Get on the phone and see if any of the private schools (with better ratings) have a scholarship program. He will have to test in and perform well, but it is worth a chance!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

Find out more about what both schools offer G/T kids before you decide. Don't assume a better district is better for you.

Both my kids are identified G/T. We are in a large urban district that is looked down on by the more privileged suburban districts and many people leave our school for the burbs so their kids will have a better education. But I just went to a county wide meeting for parents of gifted kids - I was shocked to hear how terrible the programming is for G/T in those more wealthy districts. We get better pull outs, there are more G/T kids (about 5-10 per class compared to 1 or 2 in their schools). Our school has over 125 schools, so we have a lot of programming available for G/T kids -- There are alternative magnet programs for 4/5 grade specifically for G/T kids (my daughter just graduated from one), there are middle and high schools specifically for math and science, the arts, international studies, foreign languages, alternative education. Kids can split their time between two high schools (arts in the morning, traditional in the afternoon). They can earn college credits and have internships for credit. And you should absolutely be looking forward to high schools right now. Yes, we're in a crappy district, but we have far more opportunities for our G/T kids than we would in the burbs. I am SO glad we decided to stay put - we love our trendy, urban neighborhood and we've decided to build on to our house rather than move. But those "excellent" districts may not be what's best for your family and may not be all they seem.

ETA: I just wanted to say, one reason people think the suburban schools are better is because they have higher test scores. But the fact is, just like GT, our district provides better special needs services, too, so a lot of people with special needs stay in our district to get those services and those test scores count. And there is far more diversity here than in the burbs in terms of race, socio-economic level, education of the parents, work background. That's really valuable to us, too.

ETA: I just noticed Becky is from Columbus as well. Her description of when G/T starts is what I'm talking about -- I don't know what district you're in Becky, but we're in Columbus City and our G/T pull outs start in first grade for reading and my son's second grade class had clusters for reading, math, social studies, and science (he tested into all but math). And my daughter is now identified in vocal music as well as the academic areas and she participated in the city wide honors choir as a 5th grader. Large districts service more people, so they have more funding to work with, a higher cluster of G/T kids, and more flexibility.

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answers from New York on

I would look at this differently - whether your child is gifted or not, are you content with a not well rated HS someday? Even a "decent" junior high? That can be such a turning point for kids. My kids aren't necessarily gifted but I've questioned sending them to our HS some day bc up until recently, it scored poorly and to be honest, the friends our neighbor brought home didn't look like the types of kids I was dying for my girls to date. And no way to our junior high. I want them to go to a very good school... And do you have other kids to consider? EIther way, very good schools are typically a goal for all parents so stop and think whether this town is where you want to be in general. I wouldn't worry about needing to move right now for your son as I've seen lots of "gifted" or just super smart kids get extra work. K at our school is a very very poor measure of how challenging things are going to be in the later grades. K is easy for 90% of the kids but things get harder. But i agree if you don't have to wait to make all new friends, moving earlier is better. You have a year or two though before it'll be notably harder on your son to make new friends.

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answers from New York on

Okay. I'm going to disagree with just about everybody on this thread. Move.

As a parent whose child is between 2 and 5 grade levels ahead of his chronological age, I can tell you right now that gifted kids need enriching work at a young age. Without it, best-case scenario is that they'll become overconfident and develop a poor work ethic. Many get so bored and frustrated that they act out and get labeled as troublemakers. They often suffer social isolation because their inner lives are so different from those of the kids around them.

And, if you're going to move, move now so your son can establish a friendship network while the getting's good.

And yes, I understand the thing about the house. But there are fewer regrets with a good education than the other way 'round.

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answers from Los Angeles on

We live in Naperville, and my daughter just finished first grade in a District 203 school. I must say that I am quite pleased with her elementary school experience so far. She is an excellent reader, so she was put in a special group for reading enrichment. She is horrible at math though, so she has been given extra help with that. They are also very proactive with bullying issues and food allergy issues.

I would say that if you ultimately want your son to end up in a high school with better resources and higher test scores, you probably should look into moving within the next few years. Interest rates might not stay low for much longer. The Naperville housing market is very hot right now.

I would much rather go through the pain of selling/buying a house now than five years from now. If you think you can see yourself living in your current house (and school district) for the next 10-15 years, then just stay. I'm sure you can find resources to enrich your son's academic experience. Otherwise, maybe you should just talk to a few real estate agents to see what they think you could get for your house and how much a new house would cost. Good luck!

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answers from Chicago on

I don't know if you're looking at district 203 or 204, but district 203 doesn't pull kids out for "enriched" classes until 4th grade (or late 3rd grade at the earliest, after the 3rd grade cognitive abilities test is evaluated). Very, very few kids are routed into the magnet program. I think that when my daughter was evaluated, one kid out of the hundred 3rd graders in her school was selected. Most of the advanced kids get placed into Project Idea (enriched language arts) and/or honors math. They were pretty good programs at the elementary level, but the quality of instruction varied a lot in Jr. High, at least in our school. I'd guess that the magnet program was better, but they only select the top one percent of kids from the district.

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answers from Washington DC on

If your son has tested gifted, they may allow an district transfer since you are soo close to the "border" - so even though they do not allow non-residents - they may see his potential and approve the request.

it's great to love your house and have a great interest rate! If you can afford to move and it will give your child an opportunity at a better education that will challenge him and he will LOVE to learn? GO FOR IT...

What's hard? is that your child is still VERY YOUNG....his aptitude may change...test differently, etc. What do the teachers say? What does the school counselor say? Have you talked with them - at either school district?

I would talk with them as well.

However...if you can afford to move to a better district? Do it. Especially since you are not willing to go the private school route. I take it there aren't any really good private schools out there?

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answers from Washington DC on

Look around and see what other houses are in the area. We based our choice of home on the school district to begin with. Now is the time to move before your child makes friends and has a hard time leaving.

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answers from Washington DC on

Truly, this is not a question for a forum unless it's local to your area! You need to be talking with teachers (yes, teachers; cultivate teachers at your son's school so you can really talk with them) and parents of older kids in both your current school district and the one you are eyeing as a possibility. No one posting on here can really advise you without knowing those specific schools very well. Some folks posting on here seem to have some knowledge of the schools there, which is great, but I would focus my time on getting to know parents and teachers who can advise you in detail. Seek them out. I did it, when we were considering whether to move our child from our local school to another one with an advanced academic center. (All public schools, FYI, and yes, we moved schools and are very pleased, but did not have to move our home.) Don't be afraid to ask parents with older kids to sit down and talk with you. And remember to take everything everyone says with a grain of salt and with consideration for their own issues or biases. That's why you need a lot more input but you need that input to be from locals.

I would not move right now for sure; however, I disagree with those who say that you shouldn't worry much about academics or future schools like MS and HS right now. It is not wrong of you to be thinking ahead. But you do have some time to do your research and get the best information possible. Also, at what grade do students begin "academically advanced" or "gifted and talented" programs in your current school district? Many districts/systems don't start those programs until students are third grade or older, so you may have time there.

As a parent in a system with a very intense and competitive AAP (advanced academics program) for elementary and MS, I want to warn you that you will encounter some parents who are rabidly focused on insisting their kids are super-gifted-geniuses and should be in any program before your merely smart kid gets in. And you will encounter some parents who are just as rabidly against anything that gives bright kids their own more challenging programs, and who behave as if even the mention of different services for some smart kids is evil (the "Gifted doesn't really exist, you're a snob, kids should all be in the same classrooms forever!" crowd). We have plenty of both ends of the spectrum here. Do not be influenced or made to feel guilty by either. Do what is best for your child.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I suggest that you find out what your state law entitles you to. I'm in PA, and we have quite specific laws that the school district must follow in regards to gifted testing, developing a gifted IEP, and implementing that GIEP in the school.

Also, have you met with the principal and whomever is in charge of the gifted program in your district? I had a lot of questions at first too, but I found that the school principal was really willing to do whatever it took to help my child to be challenged. Don't convince yourself in advance that the school won't meet your child's needs. Go to them and talk to the principal and then decide.

Also, are there other kids with whom he can learn? If there is a small group of other gifted kids in his grade, the school can do more in terms of enrichment while at the same time making sure your child has a peer group.

FWIW, my child was formally IQ tested in K and qualified for the gifted program. The school accomodated him by teaching him both the K and 1st grade math curriculum while he was in K. And this past year when he was in 1st grade, he went to a 2nd grade classroom for math. There are several other kids who are gifted in reading in his grade, so they meet with the gifted teacher for the reading period and she gives them assignments that are challenging for them.

Finally, don't depend on the school district to do it all. Local colleges often have summer camps for gifted elementary kids that are designed to challenge kids in math and science. And to me, reading is the easiest subject to enrich at home - if you are reading to your child every night at a high level, you've got it pretty well covered. I've found that the Hardy Boys mysteries are great right now - the reading level is high for elementary, but the content is ok for a 1st grader (this is a challenge with reading at home - finding challenging vocab and storylines that don't have teen/adult themes).

Good luck!

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answers from New Orleans on

I have a gifted daughter - academically, artistically, and linguistically. We moved around to several schools within our district (even trying a private school for one year - never again) before we found a school that will challenge. In the meantime, I did a lot of on-line research for enrichment programs and toys at home that were challenging and kept her engaged. We also got an IED (Individualized Education Plan) from the school district. Public schools are legally bound to challenge the child (part of the no child left behind law - it includes gifted kids although most are not aware of that). Most schools however will put such a program in place until the child is in middle school believing that it is too much stress on the child (and parts of me agreed while parts were very frustrated)- we did a lot of things on the computer and on our own - for example if she wanted a pet (lizard, snake, etc.) she would do all the research on caring for it and on it's environment and needs. She would then do a little presentation (I think she got that from a commercial) but it was really educational and challenging for her. We also have a wonderful zoo that provides a lot of programs all of which were educational and kept her engaged and wanting to learn. I refused to allow anyone to accelerate her by skipping a grade - even though it is hard for her to relate intellectually to kids her own age sometimes, emotionally she is right there with them. Programs are available for your child you just need to search for them, lastly talk to the two districts and see if they would allow a waiver for attendance so you don't have to move. FYI - I live in New Orleans so finding a good and challenging public school was a major chore. Good Luck!

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answers from Columbus on

First you need to figure out if each district *serves* those identified as gifted. For instance, our district only serves those id'd for gifted math starting in 3rd grade, and gifted reading in 7th grade. There might be a difference in they way they handle grade level acceleration, too. Do they have a pull-out program, or are they willing to let him skip a grade entirely. Some districts might be very resistant to letting you skip a grade.

In our elementary school, all the gifted math students are taught by the same "gifted intervention specialist". So our child was taught by the same math teacher the past 3 years since she is assigned to our building. If you don't like the teacher, you're out of luck....

See if there are any parent advocacy groups in each district for the gifted program.

As far as enrichment, if your district doesn't offer much, your districts gifted ed office should be able to give you a list of local organizations, colleges, businesses, etc. that offer special programs or activities for gifted kids.

Check out this site for lots of good info:

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answers from Philadelphia on

I would stay put. Your son is intelligent and should do well wherever he is. My oldest daughter is "gifted" also. In 3rd grade her reading ability tested between 9.8 th grade and 11.7 th grade depending on the test. (She had many different test) Although we live in a highly rated school district, I have always felt the program fell short. In HS however she is in honors classes and will be taking her first AP / college level class as a sophomore.
My point is although the school may not be rated the best, as long as your son can take AP classes in high school I would not be overly concerned. I always felt it was my responsibility as a parent to provide enrichment activities for my children any way.
Did your son have formal IQ testing? We didn't officially find out until 3 rd grade my daughter was "gifted".

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answers from Cleveland on

Why not see if that district has open enrollment and just drive your child to that school if not very far away? This way you keel your home and your child will get good education



answers from Houston on

Could you just transfer to that district without moving? That option is available in our area, if the district has room. Some districts ask you to pay and you have to provide transportation. They also ask you to reapply for the transfer every year. I would look into that.



answers from Dallas on

I think in some conditions you can get permission from the school to attend even if it is not your home's area school. It may be worth contacting them and finding out if it's possible. You would have to find the way to get him there, but it may be worth it. Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

I'm not sure about where you are, but our district doesn't start offering additional programming for gifted (GATE) students until third grade. Up until then, everyone does the same stuff all the time. Beginning in third, they can be in a gate cluster and get pulled out regularly (I think only once or twice a week) for their advanced activities. Starting in fourth grade, they have a separate class for students that are gifted and/or excellent critical thinkers and problem solvers to move above and beyond the curriculum taught in the regular classes.

I guess my point is that I don't think you need to do anything yet, since there probably won't be much difference in his education for at least a couple of years. You might discover that, even though the reading and math being taught may be at a lower level than where he is, he gets a lot out of the other subjects like science, social studies, music and art. So he might not be bored because there will be enough other things to engage his mind.

My son is also going into first grade and, had he been tested, would have tested into gifted programming as well. However, he was never bored in kindergarten because he really liked all of the other stuff they did. He loved science and social studies and it was new for him. His teacher gave me ideas for how to expand his reading and writing skills and challenge him above what they were able to offer in the classroom. Hopefully your son will find other challenges.

I'd wait a couple of years before making the decision to move, though in the end, I probably would recommend it. Not because your son is gifted, but because the schools are better overall and you said that your current high school isn't rated very highly. We moved from Los Angeles to a suburb, taking us from a mediocre school district to one of the top districts nationwide.



answers from Chicago on

I am in the same situation! Our school district is horrible! There are no gifted programs until 3rd grade. My daughter was tested in kindergarten and we were told she was gifted. She will be entering 2nd grade a year ahead of the age requirement. She has been bored so far in class and the teacher doesn't challenge her. There are too many students in the class and the plans are designed around those on the bottom of the spectrum. Can't move without a major financial loss...we bought at the height of the market for other reasons. So....after her 2minute homework, I have been using Scholastic books a grade above hers to challenge her. During the summer, I have found some summer camps designed for gifted kids that she is attending. Google Center for Gifted Kids. Alot of museum and planetarium trips in Chicago. Even going for piano lessons after school or language lessons can help to inspire and keep the brain moving forward and not stationary. We can't do anything until the market picks up a bit, but even then, we might not be able to afford a better school district... I understand your frustration, hang in there. Just keep your son busy.

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