Tuesday, January 27, 2015
My husband and I spoke after your phone call this morning and I had a chance to speak with Carolyn after school. This conversation seems to have created more questions than answers at this time. You effectively side-stepped the question of why the level for Carolyn’s RazKids was reset in the fall when she came to school having completed the initial level. I looked at it just now and not only was it reset, but the current level is in fact lower than where she started the year. For a child that scored 14 points below the 3rd grade qualifying score for the gifted program as a 1st grader, I am dumbfounded as to why she would be held back from progressing. Once her level was reset, she lost all interest in reading on there. And I can’t disagree with her, what’s the point of doing the work if the teacher is going to arbitrarily set your level anyway? Your solution of giving her an assignment to compare 3 digit numbers since she knows her doubles seems pointless. She was able to compare such numbers in kindergarten. Will she at any point this year get anything that is even slightly challenging for math? Something has been misunderstood as well – I was informed this morning that we don’t use centimeters to measure for science in the US. I am praying that was a misunderstanding since it as far from the truth as one could get.
Can you provide evidence of why you say Carolyn is struggling to ask and answer appropriate questions for reading group? She explained exactly what “thick” and “thin” questions are to me in 1 minute, then provided an example. She did complain that the room is very loud and that her group does not answer any of the questions they write. But you have told her over and over again that it’s more important to listen to others, so she’s letting them decide what to do. She has a very strong sense of right and wrong and I can tell that you have beat her down this year so she no longer wants to intervene in anything. This deeply saddens me and makes me angry that your influence over my daughter has changed who she is. We need you to stop trying to change her social abilities, your methods are not productive.
It seems from the conversation that you don’t really know my daughter. I don’t understand how you can spend 5 months in a classroom with her and yet know so little about her true abilities. We sat just this weekend and discussed who the hero in Frozen is and why. It was an amazing conversation where we came up with 3 different possibilities. But apparently that type of interaction is not being had in the classroom – because you have emphasized so much that she no longer feels comfortable to share.
I have a hard time believing the “promises” that were offered to my husband, since very few things have so far been followed through on this school year. In October at conferences we were told that a book list would be sent home shortly. It’s nearly February and had I not spent my own time looking, Carolyn would have had no upper level picture books at home. We reached out and were ignored. Also at conferences we were promised that there would be opportunities for enrichment throughout the year. When we look at the first 5 months, that has yet to happen once. When my husband brought it up today he says you were confused by the discussion. Instead of sending home work on math facts that she has already clearly shown proficiency in, send home something with facts she still needs to work on. Since she already knows how to write how to books (they spent 6 months in kindergarten doing so), let her do something else, or make sure she’s spelling every word right.
I cannot believe how disappointing of an experience this has been so far with district 34. I grew up in Glenview and we moved here for the schools. Yet we have had to fight every step of the way for Carolyn to receive anything. We were promised last year that the gifted teacher would be working with the first grade during reading time. Yet there is no evidence of this happening. I have tried to work with the teachers, but we’re getting no response. Every time we ask questions we’re told “this is how we do it.” I am mad that I spent the money to move to this town and pay taxes when the school won’t provide a proper education for my child. The district website states that gifted children need just as many resources as those struggling. But not a single resource has been extended to a child that has scored in the 99.9% for reading on a nationally normed test and in the 96% for math. I don’t know where we go from here. But if we don’t start to get some sort of movement from the school with proof of how our child is properly being serviced, we will start to move up the ranks. I know that other elementary schools in the district are providing for their students. Do we have to petition to have her moved schools so she can get what she needs? What is it she needs to show that you aren’t seeing? Can I send information about dealing with gifted students? They think differently, they act differently, they respond differently.