Educational Options for Highly Gifted Students


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©2004 Mary Codd
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Private School

Was this private school specifically for the gifted?

private school for gifted?

In which grades did your child attend private school?
grades attended
Did the school have heterogeneous or homogeneous grouping in the classroom? Did the school offer any of the following options for your child?
program options

Key to Schooling Options Shown Above:
Hetero - Heterogeneous Grouping (children with widely varying ability levels)
Homo - Homogeneous Grouping (children with approximately the same ability level)
GIEP - Gifted Individualized Education Plan
Differentiated - Differentiated Instruction
Curric Comp - Curriculum Compacting
Ability Group - Ability Grouping
Subject Accel - Subject Acceleration
Grade Accel - Grade Acceleration
Dual Enroll - Dual Enrollment
AP - Advanced Placement Classes
IB - International Baccalaureate Program

Was this private school successful in addressing your child's academic needs?


Was this private school successful in addressing your child's academic needs?
Comments: [YES] [PARTIAL] [NO]

Comments from parents who checked YES:

  1. She had to make up at first for a horrible public school 2nd grade year, but then later on, she was allowed to skip 5th grade.
  2. Teacher for 2nd/3rd noted son's abilities and attempted to differentiate curriculum to accomodate him. Children were encouraged to seek challenge.
  3. He now receives spelling words he doesn't know, vocabulary in science and social studies are not already something he knows, he is actually learning and LOVING it! I actually had to explain to him that the idea behind studying is that if there is information you don't know, you read/review until you make mental connections that allow you to retain it. He had never needed to study so this is a first. He doesn't get upset by making Bs and Cs (so he still isn't studying except when mom insists) but when he does bring home an A he says it feels different because it means something.
  4. So far, they have met his needs in all academic areas, and have been very flexible moving him when one particular grouping is moving too slow. He still attends this school, and as far as we can tell, will stay thru 8th grade, the top class.
  5. It was a Montessori with fully differentiated instruction. There were 2 other highly gifted children in the class.
  6. Started phonics based (Slingerland) reading program with preK students. My dyslexic son (no dx at the time) learned to read because of this! Unfortunately, spelling still shows classic dyslexic patterns.
  7. Primary focus of private middle school, where "it's cool to be smart," is academics. Curriculum is generally 2-3 years ahead of local "exemplary" public schools and, as daughter says, the kids really care about learning more than at public school.
  8. My child moved at her own pace.
  9. Mostly... Math could be still a bit faster for him. But essentially he is very happy
  10. For he is a strong visual spatial learner, instruction does not always fit his needs. Else he is happy and socially adjusted
  11. It is not a perfect fit, but it is the best that I have been able to locate. The biggest plus is that the school has been willing to try anything that we suggest. The downside is that it becomes harder each year as he hits the end of their curriculum (K-6). This year we will be adding college math/science in and will be shuttling between the two schools. Block scheduling would be very helpful but I have not found that to be commonplace at the elementary level.
  12. The teacher did any grade levels that were needed
  13. They understand his WISC scores and they meet his needs.
  14. They have actually offered many of the options, including grade skipping, without us asking for anything (mainly because we were clueless about giftedness, and are still learning). They even subject skipped him in math last year without telling us. Now that we are becoming more aware, we are advocating for him when he says he is bored and they have been a bit reluctant, even we have been reluctant when we've heard that he is already: filling gaps from a grade skip, and completing 2 years of math simultaneously and he wants more! Well, his behavior at home became horrendous and that was a sure sign to us that he did indeed 'need more' so he is now getting a total of a 3 year skip in math and will receive individualized instruction. In general, the school has been very responsive and proactive I believe this is due to the head teacher's experience with teaching gifted students.
  15. They have allowed her to work ahead into yr. 2 math with individual instruction during her free time in school-this was done automatically without us advocating at all. She also has individual reading and writing achievement targets.
  16. One reason - TEACHER COMMITMENT. The school is a small one, and the teachers were extremely interested in Z - they sat with us over the summer after we returned from Denver and set up a comprehensive plan to teach Z the way the GDC recommended, even though much of it was quite new to them.
  17. Teacher willingness. Our older son went to the same school when he was small, so they were ready for younger son H. Even though the boys are quite different in many ways, the school was able to easily accept that a child COULD be "that smart". H is, in many ways, easier than our older son (no 2E issues, much more convergent thinker - often really striving for the *right* answer, etc.) So, since they'd already gotten over the mental hump of radical curriculum differentiation with the older boy, they were prepared to move quickly with H.
  18. We are currently using this private Montessori school. It contains grades 1-8 in one classroom, and allows our 8 year old to work at whatever level is appropriate. Socially she has been very successful, as the large range of ages seems to make the work level a non-issue among the kids. Every child is doing his or her own thing, and in fact some of them don't even recall their grade placement - I can't say enough about what this has done to help socially. And so far, they seem to be allowing her to work at her own pace in all subject areas.
  19. We were very disappointed that it did not offer grades past 1st at the time she was there.

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Comments from parents who checked PARTIAL:

  1. He is surrounded by peers and has teachers who are, for the most part, willing to take him as far as he can go and further. If he were tutored one on one I'm sure he could go faster and farther, but I'm not sure there would be any advantage to that. Certain subject areas, such as music, will never be up to his level. There is no perfect school, but this has served him well. Stimulating, fun, somewhat challenging,great math and humanities.
  2. A parent who tried three private schools said no to the first private school, and yes two the 2nd and 3rd schools: Second and third worked well with the child to address the child's individual learning needs.
  3. The first school was successful some years, and not others, depending greatly on the teachers in the classroom - since there was no formal plan for gifted/bright/advanced students, it was up to the teachers to either make accommodations or not. The k-1 teachers were great at providing some level of advanced/accelerated work for my son, but the 2nd grade teachers insisted that all the 2nd graders be grouped together, even though several of them had done most, if not all, of the 2nd grade curriculum the previous year with their 1st grade teacher. The school my son attended last year was very successful in meeting his needs. He was allowed to progress at a rapid rate where he was able, and was given interesting, ability-level work across the board. Even in subjects where there was no "formal" acceleration (history and english, for example where he was participating in grade-level instruction), he was given alternative supplementary materials (higher level novels, etc) to hold his interest and meet his academic needs.
  4. My son was working closely with the kindergarten students at age 3 and 4, but the year he turned 5 he was the only reader and had no academic peers. He was given challenging work but felt isolated and unhappy. After 3 months of k, we pulled him out to homeschool.
  5. It was Waldorf and there were no academics so it completely met our needs for a wonderful kindy experience...fairies, poems, stry teling, art, games etc.
  6. Teacher's didn't want to get out of sync with his "peers". He finished elementary curriculum. He didn't like his peers.
  7. Child was accelerated 2 grades and not requried to complete assingments where he demonstrated mastery. The 2 years skip was not enough in most areas. He still did not learn from school. He could teach himself and I could teach him.
  8. A parent whose child attended a residential school for gifted children said: She was the very youngest child there, and there were social disadvantages to that, though the major problem was the scheduled sleep deprivation the second year - she withdrew at Christmas.
  9. It became obvious in 5th grade that he was achieving so far beyond the academic curriculum that all of his needs could not begin to be met even with pull outs and accelerated approaches.
  10. While my child was extremely accelerated in reading, and the school worked with her where she was at (entered 1st reading a 4/5th gr. level) allowed to read typical HS books and Shakespeare in Gr. 6; they did not pick up that she was advanced in Math also. (She hated the subject.) One teacher pushed her, but since no one in her class was at her level, she wasn't allowed to continue at that pace the following year. "There may be gaps."
  11. I say partially only because no school could ever address all of my daughter's academic interests. Both private schools we have been involved with have been exceptionally flexible. The first let my kindergartener go to 1st grade for math several days a week and made sure there were books available for her to read. After kindergarten, they put her in 2nd grade on a trial basis in a 1st/2nd grade class. Before the first marking period was over, they had acknowledged that the trial placement was the best one for her. The second has allowed her subject acceleration in math -- as a 4th grader, she's currently about 1/3 of the way through the 7th grade math textbook. In 3rd grade, her from-heaven teacher did customized spelling lists for each child based on what that child misspelled the previous week. If the child had not misspelled the # of words needed for the list, the child selected other words. If they had misspelled more, they got to choose. The kids paired up to give each other the spelling tests. In addition, 3rd grade social studies was a very open-ended inquiry based program studying our local area. It was based on 10 questions about the area, with each question culminating in a written summary about a paragraph long(most questions involved a field trip or guest speaker, etc.). There seemed to be enough room in this on-going project for kids of all abilities to really enjoy it. The third grade teacher also read and responded to each of the kid's daily journal entries, resulting in on-going written conversations with my daughter. In 4th grade, the teacher has offered weekly class spelling bees (on spelling bee-level words, not the spelling list), weekly math tournaments (one-on-one races doing long division or multi-digit multiplication) and helped the kid organize a classroom library group that publishes a weekly newsletter. The teacher has had to do outside study to try to keep up with my daughter and math. The principal and 5th grade teacher have agreed that my daughter will continue doing above level math, pre-testing and working what is needed. They have Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II available for her, even though the school only goes to 8th grade. One of the best things about her current school is all the specials: art, music, drama, computers, PE, Spanish, religion, and chapel. The inclusion of these in school gives us more free time after school for her other interests.
  12. They have tried... but it is difficult. This is his 3rd year... and I have to say this has been by far the best. He has had a fabulous teacher.
  13. It worked throught the 1st grade, then became increasingly difficult, especially socially.
  14. He was accelerated one grade level for math and reading but was performing at least 3 years ahead in those areas. He was only partially accelerated rather than full grade skip due to "social immaturity" when in fact that silliness was due to boredom. He shows maturity and concentration when he is engaged in something meaningful and interesting to him.
  15. Gifted school: very small, nobody at high school level w/ an ed background, nobody at entire school w/ gifted ed background, so had problems w/ curriculum. But very flexible, did allow grade skip and subject acceleration. Did provide a peer group so he had friends for first time! Current school: not as flexible or willing to work "outside the box." Fewer peers, less understanding of what it means to be profoundly gifted. Well-designed curriculum, but nobody w/ background in gifted ed.
  16. I am not sure any school can fully address the academic needs of a PG child. The gifted school did not deal well with his intensities, but did recognize his need to be accelerated (even in that environment) and provided some peers. At his current school, his teacher is incredibly flexible and bends over backward to provide differentiation. Even so, the pace of the math and the content level of language arts, science and social studies are aimed too low. He has no real intellectual peers. The only person in the class who really "gets" him is the teacher. Still, the school has been very willing to work with us and try suggestions. We are still trying to find the best compromises to make.
  17. It is not clear that even with a grade skip they will be able to provide the academic level he needs, and they would not be willing to consider a double skip at this time. The school has a strong "whole-child" philosophy, but many profoundly gifted children are so asynchronous that trying to find a classroom that matches their social, emotional, behavioral, physical and intellectual developmental level is not possible.
  18. The first year was excellent, probably because it was a change of pace for her. The second year we encountered resistance to requests for additional foreign language and a jump within the math classroom grouping. The school was growing, and there was teacher turnover. She also attended a second private school for approximately 3 months. It was a total disaster. The school insisted she fit the mold, play sports, etc. She was accelerated 1 grade in foreign language after much insistance on our part, but they refused to do the same in math, requiring her to work at a level at least 2-3 years below her capability. The school insisted she was no different than their other students. We saw a rapid decline in her spirit, attitude and general demeanor, so we hauled her right out of there!
  19. We're still working on it with private school #2 and expect subject and grade accelleration. School #1 K& 1st did not ever really challenge her enough but neither did I push enough (20/20 hind site, not the schools view probably...)

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Comments from parents who checked NO:

  1. They were a small school and were pretty locked in to their curriculum. Other than accelerations, they didn't have anything else to offer.
  2. Bored bored bored. Teased. And tortured.
  3. Classrooms 1-2 grade levels above current year were at capacity+ so accelleration wasn't possible. Teacher was unwilling to provide differentiation or accelleration within the classroom.
  4. My daughter attended two private schools. In neither school was she able to learn at an appropriate or challenging pace. (She was also teased by peers in school #1 because she read too much.)
  5. Too much emphasis on competition... did not adequately address my son's "issues" ...did not accelerate him "enough" because of his age
  6. Completely refused to allow our son to "place out" (i.e., take a test to confirm that he was performing at the level he demonstrated in the WIAT and Woodcock-Johnson, so that he could be placed in a higher class). We had reports from two different educational psychologists that were objective and argued strongly for subject acceleration in mathematics and English, which the private school refused to do. We were not interested in grade skipping (my son is happy with age peers) but this was flatly ruled out at the beginning just in case we were thinking about it! No "personal" reason specific to the child (i.e. my child's behavior in classrooms) was ever given for this policy. We were always told that it was not the school's policy to do any kind of acceleration--didn't seem to be anything to do with our kid.
  7. The school frowned upon skipping a grade and although they were aware of our son's test scores and abilities; they didn't offer any challenging work. Our son continued to complain about the fact that his assignments consisted of coloring, cutting and pasting. However, at home he worked advanced multiplication and division problems.
  8. "whole child" garbage - can't be accelerated because handwriting / athletics / size inappropriate. We left after six weeks. Actually, there were TWO private schools. The first one was specifically a gifted school, and he attended in first grade only. They did not offer any of the "options" except for a small amount of differentiated instruction and ability grouping, no more than you would hope to find in any class.
  9. Our child was coping with undiagnosed CAPD and dyslexia at the time. So while he was ready to do square roots in math (something the teacher was actually angry about) he was not ahead in reading (something the teacher was angry about). No one at the school picked up that a learning difference may be the cause and choose to view his lack of reading progress as a behavior issue.
  10. This school was a highly selective boys' prep school with no desire to encourage or accomodate performance exceeding the educational goals of the curriculum offered.
  11. K teacher was somewhat flexible. 1st teacher was rigid in expectations/differentiation possibilities. 2nd/3rd teacher was extremely rigid, toxic, verbally abusive. Child was pulled out in beginning of 3rd grade.
  12. Did not accelerate him enough in areas of strengths. Did OK with accommodations, but teacher dependent. Also, he went to a private kindergarten, but that was not for gifted. We pulled out in 2nd grade.
  13. No. Not enough differentiation for our daughter in 1st grade & she started developing social problems (comparison to others, getting shunned). We pulled her out mid year & she went into a very eclectic private school where as a 6 year old she joined a 2nd-6th grade classroom. She loves it!! Now she works at a challenging level, but doesn't feel self conscious because everyone is different in that class.
  14. Didn't see his struggles as dual exceptionality, labelled him "lazy," although further testing, initiated by his parents, found that he had severe SI dysfunction, dysgraphia, processing speed issues, vision issues. Writing made him literally sweat with effort.
  15. It was far too structured and inflexible.

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