Monday, May 16, 2011
In a previous post, I mentioned that I was going to talk to the principal at Caitlin's school about possibly moving her into the 4th grade next year, thus skipping 3rd, due to the material not being challenging enough to keep her from being bored.
Well, I did have a meeting with the principal back in mid-April and I addressed my concerns to her. Turns out, she had been aware of Caitlin's academic progress and had a feeling that I would be coming in to discuss acceleration. We sat down and she informed me of how the process works and also the options that we have for Caitlin. I was relieved to see that the school does have a method for dealing with acceleration requests and also has other options available if acceleration is determined not to be the best fit for the child.
The process is pretty grueling, surprisingly. First, Caitlin would be tested using practical intelligence testing methods to determine where she was academically (problem solving and reasoning being a big component). These tests were broken down over a few weeks as to not overwhelm Caitlin nor to make her miss too much classroom instruction. Caitlin said that most of the questions were very easy for her. The next step was to have her meet with the school psychologist so that he could determine her social and emotional readiness for acceleration. The counselor also sent home several behavioral surveys for me to do about Caitlin so that they could get a complete picture of her. The final step of the acceleration process is a team meeting which consists of myself, the principal, the gifted & talented coordinator for the district, the school's gifted & talented teacher, the school counselor, Caitlin's teacher, a 3rd grade teacher and a 4th grade teacher. Everyone will share their findings and then we will come to a conclusion of what we think would be the best plan for Caitlin for the fall.
Regardless of the decision to accelerate or not, Caitlin will be in the Gifted & Talented program next year which includes both pull-outs with the G&T teacher and collaboration with the classroom teacher to make assignments more challenging for her. In addition, Caitlin will be "clustered" within the classroom with other G&T peers. Caitlin & I both are hoping for acceleration into the 4th grade, but if that doesn't seem to be the best place for her, all things considered, it is kind of comforting to know that there is a back-up plan in place. Should everyone agree that acceleration is best, she will be put into 4th grade, in a "cluster" there as well and she will be continuously monitored by the G&T teacher as well as the school counselor to make sure that the transition is going smoothly.
The acceleration team meeting is on Wednesday and I am anxious to hear what everyone has to say and for a decision to be made. Caitlin's best interests are in mind, so I feel that either way, she will be challenged next year.