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#1 xahm

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 09:44 PM

I've got my kindergartener in a public immersion school. She's very bright and advanced and bored. I've spoken with the teachers and the assistant principal (not going over their heads; I asked him some questions after a meeting), and they've assured me she's being challenged and they are "differentiating," but I've seen no evidence of this. Then again, I've seen little evidence that they aren't. We get a daily report of our child's behavior, but nothing academic has been reported. Before, I thought a weekly or at least monthly newsletter to the class was typical. I got a stack of old papers showing they'd been going over colors and color words, and they get a weekly homework packet I can do with my three year old, but that's it. Is that normal? The teachers seem willing to communicate via e mail, but there are two classes of kids, so they each see over 40 kids a day. I don't want to be unreasonable. We have real concerns about whether the school is set up in a way that will allow my child to be challenged at upper grades, and it seems the assistant principal is the one in charge of that kind of thing. How much can I ask before I become "that parent"? So far I feel like I'm just being told to trust the system, but frankly, I don't. I don't hate the system, but when I get no information, it bothers me. I don't want to interfere with how the teacher runs her class, but I would like a general idea of what, if anything, my kid is doing for 6 hours a day. We can pull and homeschool if we need, but I'd love to be able to go back to work some day, so if we can make this work, I really want to.
Please be gentle, but please help me know what reasonable expectations are.

#2 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 09:56 PM

Any chance you could volunteer a couple of hours or so a week in the classroom?  It might give you a better idea of what is actually going on.  FWIW, when my kids were in kindergarten the school and teacher really didn't have much specific communication set up for details about academics.  If a parent asked they were more than willing to go over some generalities but they honestly just expected parents to be pretty hands off and "trust the system" as you say.  And probably 90% of the parents did just that.  

 

I ended up volunteering in the classroom and even substitute taught a few times.  It was much more effective for seeing how the classroom worked and what my child was actually doing.


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#3 Arcadia

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 10:51 PM

When my oldest was in kindergarten, every child gets a weekly class newsletter to bring home which list what would be covered and any special events coming up. For academic progress, we have to schedule an appointment with the teacher after school to discuss. My oldest needs accommodations so I get more feedback than I need. So for the kids who don’t need more help, you usually won’t hear anything from the teacher other than during the parent teacher conferences. My kid was a kid that didn’t have a 504 plan but get treated like one.

What happens in the upper grades is so fluid. When my oldest entered kindergarten, the GATE program starts in 2nd and his K teacher already said he will qualify. However GATE was scrapped mostly due to parents having tantrums over their kids not getting in and I saw some hot arguments while picking up my puking oldest from general office.

#4 kiwik

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 04:27 AM

Sounds typical. Except the behavoir report which is unusual in my experience. Most parent trust the system and assume the teachers are the experts. It seems a number wish they hadn't later.

Edited by kiwik, 14 October 2017 - 04:28 AM.


#5 Laura Corin

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 04:28 AM

I think it's normal.  When my son was that age, I received a note in his reading book sometimes, but otherwise it was a report every six weeks.  I used to volunteer in class, so I would see what was going on a bit.



#6 Earthmerlin

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 05:20 AM

I got weekly e-mails about the class goings-on. She also had regular homework so It was obvious what she was doing & how she fared. I would not hesitate contacting the teacher but was reasonable in doing so.

Does your child speak L2 at home? Can you fold that into light (advanced) academics at home?

I keep a close eye on my daughter's public education. It's not because I'm skeptical of 'the system'. It's simply because I have my own standards & beliefs and I want those reflected in a broad and well-rounded education.

#7 xahm

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 09:20 AM

Thanks for the input, advice, and perspective. Volunteering is very tricky due to a one year old and the year old. Well, really just due to the one year old.
We do about twenty of math on her level at home, plus reading on her level.
They've scraped the pull out gifted program in this school, just putting a couple of teachers in each grade level through a gifted certification class, then making sure that all kids with the label are in the classroom with a certified teacher for at least the state required minimum number of minutes a week. They operate under the assumption that any time a gifted child is in proximity to a certified teacher, they are receiving gifted instruction. I asked what the benefit is to the child to be labeled gifted and was told it just helps them get the advanced track in middle school.
Ugh. That last bit isn't relevant to what I was asking, just relevant to my frustration with it all.

Edited by xahm, 14 October 2017 - 09:20 AM.


#8 Pen

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 10:13 AM

How is it for her socially and is she happy or unhappy there? (at her age this would be my number 1 item in deciding if she should continue or not)

 

The start of K is often a lot about getting kids used to school, and not so much  academics -- sometimes it picks up speed a lot later in the year.  Sometimes they are also trying to bring everyone up to around the same level, since some kids may not yet know various things that other kids know.

 

What does she say she is doing?

 

Is there any open house or teacher conference where asking questions would be expected and not being "that parent"?

 

Can you see some of what the kids do in older grades to help you understand better?

 

Would she be able to move up to first grade, or would that be either too advanced in L2, or kids too much older socially?

 

Could she spend some school time working on more advanced materials independently?

 

eta: 

I think if you confirm that she is bored, but also happy in general with the social and other aspects of the class, then it is fine to email or otherwise communicate your concerns.

 

Alternatively if she is already a reader, possibly she could just take an interesting book at her level and read it when she is bored. And you could send an email to let them know you are doing that, with a statement that you know they are busy and you don't want to impose on their time for extra attention, but that she is very bored so you have decided to send her with a book until something else can be worked out.  Possibly if she is seen with a book she will get "in trouble," but also possibly if she is seen reading something way beyond what would be done in K there, it will help them to understand the problem.

 

Does your area have a school for gifted children where she might fit better?


Edited by Pen, 14 October 2017 - 10:26 AM.


#9 Nart

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 11:01 AM

My son could read chapter books going into kindergarten. At his high performing school so could 2 or 3 more students in his class. They could have grouped the kids and advanced their reading but there is absolutely no incentive for the teachers to have the achievement gap grow wider. Instead they concentrate on the lowest performing students so they could get up to grade level. This is how it works at most schools. At least your child is in an immersion school and will learn another language.
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#10 Pen

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 11:07 AM

Adding:

 

In our area there are 3 or 4 immersion schools. The Japanese program has the reputation of being very intense and advanced. The others not so much. Perhaps in your area there would be another immersion that would be a better fit for your dd.



#11 Sandwalker

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 11:14 AM

I pulled my daughter out of kindergarten (many years ago) when the first newsletter came home to the parents a month after school began. It congratulated "one of our students (dd name)" who has already met the all goals for the school year! Counts to 100, knows all her letters (she
was READING !) colors, and can write her name.

I asked the teacher what dd was to do the rest of the year. She actually said that dd was a bit "ACTIVE" in the classroom and may benefit from a "doctor visit" to help her "settle down". I asked if she could be given different class work, because the stuff she was given, we had done when she was 3. The teacher said no, that dd would have to "learn how to act in school". I pulled her out that day and enrolled her in a Christian school, then began hs in 3rd grade along with younger ds.

Edited by Sandwalker, 14 October 2017 - 11:18 AM.

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#12 Heigh Ho

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 11:22 AM

The reasonable expectations is the grade level objectives are met. Nothing else will happen. If it was going to happen, you would know by now - your dc would be learning material new to her.

#13 xahm

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 11:54 AM

We are on the waiting list for a different immersion school, one that seems to expect the kids to be advanced if not gifted (and consequently tends bit to be a poor fit for struggling students or those with lds). I'm hoping and praying we get in there at Christmas. There are no other public schools within a reasonable drive that we would switch to for Kindergarten. There's a high achievers school that starts in 4th that we would strongly consider. Private is out of reach, especially with younger siblings likely being the same eventually.
I'll go in for a parent teacher conference soon. My daughter is reasonably happy. She would be thrilled if I didn't make her go, but she has friends and is learning French pretty well.
The school seemed very opposed to full skips. They said that visiting other classrooms for a subject or two was possible, theoretically, but I would like to see either experience in or enthusiasm for helping all children experience growth, and I'm not getting that vibe. Her French teacher has built this immersion program from the ground, very much building it from scratch. She has passion for that, but understandably had her focus on that. Her English teacher is hard to read. She's much more reserved, so I don't know if she's thinking "these parents need to get out of the way and let the experts work" or "talking to all these people is draining and I'm exhausted," but her facial expressions when talking with parents at PTA and such give the impression that it's one of those.

Sorry for edits and typos. My phone isn't as smart as it thinks it is.

Edited by xahm, 14 October 2017 - 11:56 AM.

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#14 Pen

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 12:36 PM

suggest you talk with principal of other immersion school--    realize there is a waiting list, but it might help to talk in advance ...    also in case someone there is not happy b/c it is going too fast and some trade of that person taking your dd's spot and vice versa   also so if it has a different language, maybe she could be working on that in meantime



#15 xahm

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 04:05 PM

I've talked with the admissions administrator. There's a really good chance some people will leave at Christmas, so there's a decent chance we can get or daughter in, but it's a charter that could get revoked of they didn't follow their stated policy, so we have to wait in line. If she gets in, it will be interesting to see which language she gets; they have French, Spanish, and Mandarin. She's requested a switch to Spanish (because she says she's already learned French now, haha), but Chinese would be more of a challenge.
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#16 xahm

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 04:29 PM

And the possibility, but not surety, of getting into this other school pays into my thinking when I want to pull her and homeschool. School A to school B would be much less of a transition than homeschooling in the middle.
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#17 ReadingMama1214

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 05:48 PM

My daughter is in an immersion school. Public charter. Her school also tends to pull in advanced kiddos. They also provide gifted testing for the entire school. It’s a reputable test as well. So that tells the population a bit. They tend to use advanced curriculum as well.

Dd isn’t bored, but we don’t speak Spanish at home so learning the vocabulary is a good challenge for her. Although I just learned that at the beginning of the year she’d say “oh that’s easy I already know how to do that because I can read”. But the class material seems challenging enough.

We get a newsletter once a week that says what they’re working on and tells us what to work on at home.

They haven’t started differentiation yet but will for reading in the spring.

Other than the newsletter, I know nothing of what goes on. No idea of DDs behavior. We just had conferences and that was the first time I sat down with DDs teacher about academics.

We do reading and math at home on DDs level

Edited to add: is her school full immersion? DDs is 100% in Spanish for all instruction. Only specials such as PE and Art are offered in English. DDs math, science, literacy, etc. are all in the immersion language. So even though the material may be below her level in English, it’s challenging because it’s in Spanish. She doesn’t get any English language arts until 3rd grade!

Edited by ReadingMama1214, 14 October 2017 - 05:53 PM.

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#18 ReadingMama1214

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 05:49 PM

How is it for her socially and is she happy or unhappy there? (at her age this would be my number 1 item in deciding if she should continue or not)

The start of K is often a lot about getting kids used to school, and not so much academics -- sometimes it picks up speed a lot later in the year. Sometimes they are also trying to bring everyone up to around the same level, since some kids may not yet know various things that other kids know.

What does she say she is doing?

Is there any open house or teacher conference where asking questions would be expected and not being "that parent"?

Can you see some of what the kids do in older grades to help you understand better?

Would she be able to move up to first grade, or would that be either too advanced in L2, or kids too much older socially?

Could she spend some school time working on more advanced materials independently?

eta:
I think if you confirm that she is bored, but also happy in general with the social and other aspects of the class, then it is fine to email or otherwise communicate your concerns.

Alternatively if she is already a reader, possibly she could just take an interesting book at her level and read it when she is bored. And you could send an email to let them know you are doing that, with a statement that you know they are busy and you don't want to impose on their time for extra attention, but that she is very bored so you have decided to send her with a book until something else can be worked out. Possibly if she is seen with a book she will get "in trouble," but also possibly if she is seen reading something way beyond what would be done in K there, it will help them to understand the problem.

Does your area have a school for gifted children where she might fit better?


I agree with the book to help with boredom. DDs class has a quiet time where kids can read or do a quiet activity. Dd brings a chapter book to read during this time.
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#19 Pen

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 06:50 PM

I've talked with the admissions administrator. There's a really good chance some people will leave at Christmas, so there's a decent chance we can get or daughter in, but it's a charter that could get revoked of they didn't follow their stated policy, so we have to wait in line. If she gets in, it will be interesting to see which language she gets; they have French, Spanish, and Mandarin. She's requested a switch to Spanish (because she says she's already learned French now, haha), but Chinese would be more of a challenge.

 

 

In our nearest city where the immersion BMS are, my impression is that not only are the Asian languages themselves harder, but also some aspect of the culture as being more driven and focussed is part of the experience (maybe because of the teachers who teach in the languages bringing their own more tiger-teacher orientation along, while the romance language schools are more laid back.


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#20 xahm

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 07:23 PM

I'll try the book again. She brought one at the beginning of the school year, but it never left her backpack. She's a major rule-follower, though, so she won't take it out except with explicit permission from the teacher. I think she's under the impression that kindergartners are only allowed to have picture books at school. Maybe if I send in a harder picture book...

#21 xahm

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 07:28 PM

Her school is 50-50, and split so that language arts and social studies are always in English and math and science are always in French. It's not how I would do it, but oh well. It will be interesting to see how the program changed in the coming years. It really is still in its infancy. There are certain state regulations, though, so I don't think they could get away with waiting until 3rd for reading in English.

My daughter is in an immersion school. Public charter. Her school also tends to pull in advanced kiddos. They also provide gifted testing for the entire school. It’s a reputable test as well. So that tells the population a bit. They tend to use advanced curriculum as well.

Dd isn’t bored, but we don’t speak Spanish at home so learning the vocabulary is a good challenge for her. Although I just learned that at the beginning of the year she’d say “oh that’s easy I already know how to do that because I can read”. But the class material seems challenging enough.

We get a newsletter once a week that says what they’re working on and tells us what to work on at home.

They haven’t started differentiation yet but will for reading in the spring.

Other than the newsletter, I know nothing of what goes on. No idea of DDs behavior. We just had conferences and that was the first time I sat down with DDs teacher about academics.

We do reading and math at home on DDs level

Edited to add: is her school full immersion? DDs is 100% in Spanish for all instruction. Only specials such as PE and Art are offered in English. DDs math, science, literacy, etc. are all in the immersion language. So even though the material may be below her level in English, it’s challenging because it’s in Spanish. She doesn’t get any English language arts until 3rd grade!



#22 ReadingMama1214

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 08:41 PM

Her school is 50-50, and split so that language arts and social studies are always in English and math and science are always in French. It's not how I would do it, but oh well. It will be interesting to see how the program changed in the coming years. It really is still in its infancy. There are certain state regulations, though, so I don't think they could get away with waiting until 3rd for reading in English.


DDs school is 10 years old. They do still do state testing in 3rd grade. The students do still seem to test higher, but their LA does lag. So the tests in 3rd are not an accurate assessment of the students ability.

Our state does not provide tests in any language other than English. I do know that they’re working on it though.

But I agree with others that K is much more than academics. Socially it’s been great for DD. You can always hit academics at home as well. She may like the one on one attention and instruction.

#23 Pen

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 05:40 PM

The Little Prince as a harder picture book?  In both English and French? 



#24 Have kids -- will travel

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 08:02 PM

A school that is just starting isn't generally well-prepared to assist children who need more, whether that is extra learning support or learning beyond the curriculum. A new school will often be opposed to acceleration, as there won't have been previous parents paving a way and creating success stories.

 

Definitely consider moving schools if the option arises. Be aware that if your daughter switches languages now and doesn't continue with French, she will retain no fluency in French. Many friends of mine have done immersion or local schooling abroad for a few years in elementary and cannot speak anything but the most rudimentary phrases in the languages. Three months of K will definitely not be retained.

 

I'd give up trying to send in books or push for harder work unless your daughter was having problems in the classroom. My preK'er is reading chapter books and doing proficient first grade math, but he has a great day at school playing with cars, making masks, and playing outside. If she's enjoying school and not complaining, don't worry about it not being at her level. My kids continue learning outside school and read plenty of books on their level, so enjoying regular, preschool picture books during school is fine (and my preK'er is of course the only one actually reading those books anyways).



#25 kiwik

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 01:42 AM

A school that is just starting isn't generally well-prepared to assist children who need more, whether that is extra learning support or learning beyond the curriculum. A new school will often be opposed to acceleration, as there won't have been previous parents paving a way and creating success stories.

Definitely consider moving schools if the option arises. Be aware that if your daughter switches languages now and doesn't continue with French, she will retain no fluency in French. Many friends of mine have done immersion or local schooling abroad for a few years in elementary and cannot speak anything but the most rudimentary phrases in the languages. Three months of K will definitely not be retained.

I'd give up trying to send in books or push for harder work unless your daughter was having problems in the classroom. My preK'er is reading chapter books and doing proficient first grade math, but he has a great day at school playing with cars, making masks, and playing outside. If she's enjoying school and not complaining, don't worry about it not being at her level. My kids continue learning outside school and read plenty of books on their level, so enjoying regular, preschool picture books during school is fine (and my preK'er is of course the only one actually reading those books anyways).


But he probably wouldn't have a great time if he had to spend the day learning numbers and letters.
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#26 xahm

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 07:18 AM

Yeah, pre K is easier to deal with than k. She's spending a lot of time "learning" letter sounds right now. The math objective for French for the year is learning to count to 100 in French. Dd could learn that in about 20 minutes, but I haven't pushed it. If the teacher says that she can move on after she learns that, then we'll sit down and do it.
She reasonably happy. They have specials, and she's started to try to read in French. If she becomes very unhappy we will certainly pull her. I'm trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, but the school isn't looking like a long term fit.
By the way, the school is pretty old; just the language immersion part is 4 years old.

#27 Have kids -- will travel

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 06:40 PM

Yeah, pre K is easier to deal with than k. She's spending a lot of time "learning" letter sounds right now. The math objective for French for the year is learning to count to 100 in French. Dd could learn that in about 20 minutes, but I haven't pushed it. If the teacher says that she can move on after she learns that, then we'll sit down and do it.
She reasonably happy. They have specials, and she's started to try to read in French. If she becomes very unhappy we will certainly pull her. I'm trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, but the school isn't looking like a long term fit.
By the way, the school is pretty old; just the language immersion part is 4 years old.

 

My first grader did K last year, equally advanced, and had a great year learning to write stories and measure objects. My oldest has learned his letter sounds in school three times, once in preschool, once in preK, and once for his second language. Each time he enjoyed it.

 

The point is that if your child isn't having any problems, she may indeed be enjoying the learning, even though she already knows it. If it's brought in a fun, exciting way that's age appropriate, it can still be enjoyable for children (does she ever watch the same TV shows over and over and over again?). If she's having issues in the classroom, by all means be that mom at the school. Just because she's doing work that is under her level, doesn't mean you have to do that now.

 

I've stopped looking at the minimum objectives for the end of the year. Those are a mismatch for my child. I've starting looking at the areas in which my child grows during the school year (resilience, writing, automatization) and how my child feels about school.


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