Jump to content

Menu

Please help: which school?


Ingeborg
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hello everyone,

 

I am so confused and conflicted lately, can you please share your thoughts? Apologies in advance for being too verbose.

 

We have a very bright almost 11yo daughter. Very strong academically, former successful competitive athlete, precocious , intellectually curious, very extraverted, easy going, well-liked by teachers and peers etc.

 

This is her second year in gifted program. Last year, probably in comparison with the “old†school, she was ecstatic about everything school-related: she liked new school, teachers, peers, the program, what and how they learn. This year it’s different. While she’s overall still happy-go-lucky, the intellectual challenge and the joy of learning is no longer there. She consistently gets 4 and 4+. She comes up with more difficult tasks to make the assignments more challenging and interesting. The program is too simple for her and it’s admitted by teachers, too.  There’s not much else they can do, her program is considered as much enrichment as you can get in the public system.  It’s been a while we discussed anything notable she learned at the school. She still loves – no, LOVES - her classmates and clearly feels she’s in the company of like-minded.

 

She attends a variety of extra-curricular activities where she’s challenged more, but the logistics is taking toll on the family (we both work full-time and have no extra help), especially now that our younger one, 4yo, is starting some extra-curr activities, too.

 

There is an option to move her to a private school. Strong academics (1-2 years acceleration in most subjects), many more enrichment activities and possibilities such as contests, a choir and a band, field trips, in-house extra-curriculars such as robotics, science experiments, French club etc., with subject teachers (in contrast with public system, where arts and science and English and PhysEd are taught by the same person), with smaller classes and very close parent-teacher communication (not common in the public system).  One of her best friends is in this school. Her little brother will be in this school next year. Attending this school will allow her (and us!) to drop some extra activities. Negatives – it is not formally gifted, and she would have to part with her peers.

 

Please help me access what’s important! I know how precious it is to have an understanding and supportive peer group. At the same time I  am just not sure that this should be more important than nurturing her curiosity and help her grow intellectually! ...  and at the same time keeping the family sane and still have family dinners at least every other day, as opposite to constantly dropping off and picking up.

 

WWYD?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd be hesitant to move an 11 year old away from friends.

 

Another option might be to take some of the money that would be spent on private school and hire some household help and a driver to get her to extracurriculars.

Edited by maize
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can you really dig in and find out exactly what the difference would be regarding academics between the two schools?  Are you certain that the private school would be advanced enough for her?

 

It does sound like logistically it would work much better if she were at the private school.  How deeply have you researched this?  Have you had experience with this private school before?  Or had an in depth conversation with someone else that has kids at that school with similar level of ability?  If not, I would do the research to see just exactly what the private school can offer before pulling her away from her friends.  Get some significant details and see if there is a way to talk to the teacher to see how things are actually implemented in the classroom, not just what administration says over a phone call.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd be hesitant to move an 11 year old away from friends.

 

Another option might be to take some of the money that would be spent on private school and hire some household help and a driver to get her to extracurriculars.

Good point.  If she is really attached to her friends (and especially if you find that the private school would not provide what she needs academically any better than the public school) then it might make more sense to use the money you would have spent on private school to hire a driver or do something along those lines to deal with the extracurriculars without pulling her away from friends.  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you maize and OneStepAtATime.

 

I know this private school fairly well. She used to go there prior to Grade1 and was begging us to move her back for three years after - until she got to the gifted stream. Unfortunately, we could not at that time.

 

As my husband put it, two years in that school were probably her best studying years - she flourished there. That said, it was kindergarten, not grade school.

 

I spoke with three parents of Grade5 kids from this school and the feedback was raving. That said, none of these kids are as advanced as our child.

 

I had 1.5 hr  meeting with the registrar, the questions he could not answer he wrote down and is organizing a separate meeting for me with several teachers after the winter break.

 

This is my fear - that this will still be not challenging enough for her or too much of busywork and she will be uprooted from the company she likes. Hiring the help to drive her around is definitely an option we consider - the problem is it becomes much more difficult to coordinate all these activities time-wise, timeslots conflict and overlap, and it's tiring for the us and her to always be on the run....

 

Thank you once again!

 

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Forgot to add: despite 4 and 4+ grades and very positive feedback from the teacher, her school report card is quite average. This itself does not bother me - rather, the public system looks to me as a game we play with no clear understanding of the objective or the rules. It does bother our daughter though and I'm starting to see the glimpses of "whatever" attitude, which is very not like her.

 

Sorry, i know i sound bitter...

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I understand correctly, your daughter has only been in the current school for a year and a half, so it's not like the kids there are lifelong friends.  She will make friends just as fast in a new school.

 

Here's my experience.  My kids go to Lutheran school.  Every year we have a few kids move from / to the public schools:  in general, high achievers join, low achievers drop out.  By middle school, about a third of their class is classified as "gifted" (and that doesn't include the gifted kids who did not pass the rough criteria and haven't been individually tested).  They do have a gifted program, which is a pull-out one day a week; but my kids are not in it.  They have plenty of social time with many bright, imaginative kids - but are also not isolated from "average" kids.

 

The "regular" educational program is somewhat accelerated / more rigorous than public school.  Everyone studies a foreign language from KG.  Band starts in 4th grade.  A lot of independent reading is encouraged.  (Plus of course they have a religion curriculum in addition to what everyone else studies.)  So though it's not a "gifted program," it's reasonably stimulating even for a bright kid.

 

I really like that they are now at the age when several after-school extracurriculars are open to them.  Sports, chess club, youth group, theater.  (They also have a girl scout troop there, but we prefer AHG.)  After their activity, they can go to aftercare until 6pm.  We still do some outside extracurriculars, but we dropped several of them in favor of the school options.  It does take some strain off (though it means they need a ride home instead of taking the bus those afternoons).  I also feel it is beneficial for them to spend the additional social time with their school "family" at this age.

 

So I am positive on your private school option.  Can your daughter do a shadow day?

Edited by SKL
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Forgot to add: despite 4 and 4+ grades and very positive feedback from the teacher, her school report card is quite average. This itself does not bother me - rather, the public system looks to me as a game we play with no clear understanding of the objective or the rules. It does bother our daughter though and I'm starting to see the glimpses of "whatever" attitude, which is very not like her.

 

Sorry, i know i sound bitter...

 

I don't understand what you mean here.  Is 4 and 4+ the top grade, and if so, how is the report card "average"?  Just trying to get a feel for your situation.  My kids usually aren't straight-A students, and usually it's for reasons other than understanding.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't understand what you mean here.  Is 4 and 4+ the top grade, and if so, how is the report card "average"?  Just trying to get a feel for your situation.  My kids usually aren't straight-A students, and usually it's for reasons other than understanding.

 

 

The report card in November does not have the letter grades - only qualitative assessments. She's marked as average across all subjects, except French, in which she's above average (well... duh, she's fluent), and "independent work", in which she's satisfactory, because she's distracting other kids when she's done with her work and they are not.

 

Does this make any sense? Not to me...

Edited by Ingeborg
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The report card in November does not have the letter grades - only qualitative assessments. She's marked as average across all subjects, except French, in which she's above average (well... duh, she's fluent), and "independent work", in which she's satisfactory, because she's distracting other kids when she's done with her work and they are not.

 

Does this make any sense? Not to me...

 

I would take that to mean "average for a gifted student."

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a just turned 12 yr old, and one thing I've realized is just how important social is at this age. I would be very reluctant to move an 11 yr old  and disrupt good social relationships unless it is for a very clear academic benefit. And I mean like "close to an ideal fit" (and mind you, we seriously considered and DD applied at a school that was 2000 miles from home to try to find that "close to ideal fit" with a good social situation). 

 

Having said that-what grade is she this year? If she would be changing schools next year for middle school anyway, that will tend to disrupt friendships regardless, and would be a good time to change schools.

 

Also, as far as extracurriculars, is there any option for her to take public transit or carpool to get there? At DD's cheer/tumbling gym, it is very common for girls to come straight from school, even if their class/practice isn't for an hour or more-they do homework, hang out with friends, or do open gym time. DD has started pressuring me to get there early so she can participate in the social stuff :). That was the case at her gymnastics gym, too, starting at about 6th grade.

 

 

 

Edited by dmmetler
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I understand correctly, your daughter has only been in the current school for a year and a half, so it's not like the kids there are lifelong friends.  She will make friends just as fast in a new school.

 

Here's my experience.  My kids go to Lutheran school.  Every year we have a few kids move from / to the public schools:  in general, high achievers join, low achievers drop out.  By middle school, about a third of their class is classified as "gifted" (and that doesn't include the gifted kids who did not pass the rough criteria and haven't been individually tested).  They do have a gifted program, which is a pull-out one day a week; but my kids are not in it.  They have plenty of social time with many bright, imaginative kids - but are also not isolated from "average" kids.

 

The "regular" educational program is somewhat accelerated / more rigorous than public school.  Everyone studies a foreign language from KG.  Band starts in 4th grade.  A lot of independent reading is encouraged.  (Plus of course they have a religion curriculum in addition to what everyone else studies.)  So though it's not a "gifted program," it's reasonably stimulating even for a bright kid.

 

I really like that they are now at the age when several after-school extracurriculars are open to them.  Sports, chess club, youth group, theater.  (They also have a girl scout troop there, but we prefer AHG.)  After their activity, they can go to aftercare until 6pm.  We still do some outside extracurriculars, but we dropped several of them in favor of the school options.  It does take some strain off (though it means they need a ride home instead of taking the bus those afternoons).  I also feel it is beneficial for them to spend the additional social time with their school "family" at this age.

 

So I am positive on your private school option.  Can your daughter do a shadow day?

 

I think you're practically describing the private school option we consider. Many enrichment activities, more rigorous academic program, time well spent in after-school, either with the class or on athletics or organized activities. Even getting there/back is the same: we'd have to drive her, as opposite to her walking to and from the school bus.

 

Yes, you are correct, she's been with this company for a year and a half, and being a social butterfly as she is I think she probably has higher chances of making new friends in new school.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would take that to mean "average for a gifted student."

 

I initially thought so, too, but then the teacher in the gifted class said in the interview that she almost never gives 4 and 4+ (that was when she was telling me how strong my daughter is).

 

As i said, I do not understand how the system works...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a just turned 12 yr old, and one thing I've realized is just how important social is at this age. I would be very reluctant to move an 11 yr old  and disrupt good social relationships unless it is for a very clear academic benefit. And I mean like "close to an ideal fit" (and mind you, we seriously considered and DD applied at a school that was 2000 miles from home to try to find that "close to ideal fit" with a good social situation). 

 

Having said that-what grade is she this year? If she would be changing schools next year for middle school anyway, that will tend to disrupt friendships regardless, and would be a good time to change schools.

 

Also, as far as extracurriculars, is there any option for her to take public transit or carpool to get there? At DD's cheer/tumbling gym, it is very common for girls to come straight from school, even if their class/practice isn't for an hour or more-they do homework, hang out with friends, or do open gym time. DD has started pressuring me to get there early so she can participate in the social stuff :). That was the case at her gymnastics gym, too, starting at about 6th grade.

 

Thank you for your perspective! May i ask how social your daughter is? does she connect / make friends easily? would this at all influence your decision?

 

No, she's not changing the school, the classes composition may change next year, but the same 40+ gifted kids will remain in the grade, either in the form of two gifted classes or one full class and two splits, as this year.

 

No carpooling options, unfortunately. Public transit - yes, for some,  but technically she's considered too young for that and the school will definitely not allow her to leave unsupervised for another year or so.

 

I think the issue may be a bit deeper than logistics. It's also how much family time she and we spend trying to compensate for what she's not getting in school.

 

You know, I spent two years as full-time working mom of a professional athlete. Seriously, I've become a master of logistics and planning. It was very tough. I am hoping there is a better alternative.... 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Math?  All my kids attend school and we've done a bit of school switching, charters and private.  My very first thought on this question is to find out what the math track is at the private school and how well the math options there would fit your daughter.  And, of course, compare that to the middle school math track where she currently is and how likely she can get what she needs.  The middle school math track determines what will be possible in high school.  Sure, you can afterschool math, but in middle school, afterschooling is extra-challenging from a perspective of time, energy and cooperation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Math?  All my kids attend school and we've done a bit of school switching, charters and private.  My very first thought on this question is to find out what the math track is at the private school and how well the math options there would fit your daughter.  And, of course, compare that to the middle school math track where she currently is and how likely she can get what she needs.  The middle school math track determines what will be possible in high school.  Sure, you can afterschool math, but in middle school, afterschooling is extra-challenging from a perspective of time, energy and cooperation.

 

Two years ahead. Her friend in the private school, who's also in grade 5, is working through grade 7 workbook. The math in the current school is a joke for her.

 

Both private and public schools participate in external math competitions. The public does not help to prep. Not sure about private - good question to ask.

 

Private school organizes regular internal math challenges / contests too. Both individual and team. 

 

DD currently does two math classes after school. If she goes into private, she'll drop one, but most likely keep AoPS. just because she loves it, on so many levels :) 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How about High School? Are you considering this private school for HS? What I have seen locally is that there are a lot of very high achieving and very gifted kids in the local private schools - mostly because of a lack of gifted program funding for public schools in my area. The private schools provide enrichment in many non academic areas - debate, chess, maker space, robotics, sports, computer programming, dance, service projects etc etc. This, combined with the fact that subject matter experts teach science, math etc, and a 2-3 year acceleration in academics seems to satisfy a lot of the gifted kids who are looking for meaningful ways to spend their time at school and keeps the local parents happy. Also, as kids approach middle school, homework becomes more open ended - writing an essay or report on a book or topic, real world math problems to solve, science projects to work on, computer programs to code etc. So, there is as much challenge as the child needs in such open ended assigments.

 I think that if the private school you are considering has similar offerings and if you plan to stay there for the long term (HS), then it is worth considering. You did say that one of her best friends attends the private school, so it is a lot better than going to a new school knowing no one. Encourage your daughter to attend a shadow day. Take a tour of the private school yourself to see how you feel about the classes and how the teachers interact with the children. That should help you make an informed decision. Good luck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Two years ahead. Her friend in the private school, who's also in grade 5, is working through grade 7 workbook. The math in the current school is a joke for her.

 

This math track difference would be enough for me to seriously consider the private school.  Also look toward planning for high school though it's easy to switch to some other option starting in 9th.

 

FWIW, my dd15's closest friends were on math team in 6th grade at her private middle school, even though I don't think any of them ever discuss math LOL.

 

Have her do a shadow day at the private school.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How about High School? Are you considering this private school for HS? What I have seen locally is that there are a lot of very high achieving and very gifted kids in the local private schools - mostly because of a lack of gifted program funding for public schools in my area. The private schools provide enrichment in many non academic areas - debate, chess, maker space, robotics, sports, computer programming, dance, service projects etc etc. This, combined with the fact that subject matter experts teach science, math etc, and a 2-3 year acceleration in academics seems to satisfy a lot of the gifted kids who are looking for meaningful ways to spend their time at school and keeps the local parents happy. Also, as kids approach middle school, homework becomes more open ended - writing an essay or report on a book or topic, real world math problems to solve, science projects to work on, computer programs to code etc. So, there is as much challenge as the child needs in such open ended assigments.

 I think that if the private school you are considering has similar offerings and if you plan to stay there for the long term (HS), then it is worth considering. You did say that one of her best friends attends the private school, so it is a lot better than going to a new school knowing no one. Encourage your daughter to attend a shadow day. Take a tour of the private school yourself to see how you feel about the classes and how the teachers interact with the children. That should help you make an informed decision. Good luck.

 

No, this school is JK-Gr8. all public schools and many private schools around here are like that. So for HS she's have to switch regardless. To a certain extent it's a bit easier with HS (or so it seems now...). There are more public options for HS: AP, IB, specialized math, science, computer science, arts schools; whereas for elementary they are fairly limited (fwiw, we're not in the US).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The report card in November does not have the letter grades - only qualitative assessments. She's marked as average across all subjects, except French, in which she's above average (well... duh, she's fluent), and "independent work", in which she's satisfactory, because she's distracting other kids when she's done with her work and they are not.

 

Does this make any sense? Not to me...

 

In a lot of districts, teachers are graded on how much their students improve over the course of the year. The only way for a student to "improve" is for them to start out average or below average. Unsurprisingly, because these evaluations can be tied to raises and promotions, many teachers game the system by not giving terribly good grades at the beginning and middle of the year. Is it possible that this is what is happening here?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In a lot of districts, teachers are graded on how much their students improve over the course of the year. The only way for a student to "improve" is for them to start out average or below average. Unsurprisingly, because these evaluations can be tied to raises and promotions, many teachers game the system by not giving terribly good grades at the beginning and middle of the year. Is it possible that this is what is happening here?

 

This looks like a plausible explanation... just not a fair one.. or motivational, for what it's worth. As i mentioned, DD is "inventing" the challenges for herself because she sees very few, what improvement can she show if she's doing this and getting great marks already? :( sorry, rhetorical question, I know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Two years ahead. Her friend in the private school, who's also in grade 5, is working through grade 7 workbook. The math in the current school is a joke for her.

 

Both private and public schools participate in external math competitions. The public does not help to prep. Not sure about private - good question to ask.

 

Private school organizes regular internal math challenges / contests too. Both individual and team. 

 

DD currently does two math classes after school. If she goes into private, she'll drop one, but most likely keep AoPS. just because she loves it, on so many levels :)

 

If she is good at math, I would strongly favor the switch.  Advanced math is something that is not easy to supplement at home.  Reading and writing are leisure activities, but math at home will seem like she's doing extra work while other kids are having leisure time - i.e., punished for being smart.  (Just speaking from experience here.)  Plus, that's one more thing you'll have to find time for.  Or just let slide, which doesn't seem to be satisfying to her.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...