When I was a kid we had "New Math." Every September we learned about sets, from elementary up through high school, it seems. Jack's school has started a new curriculum, Everyday Mathematics. The whole school is doing it. The main idea seems to be that they keep spiraling back around to repeat concepts or teach them in a new way, the idea being that if the children don't get it the first time around they may the next time, etc. Jack's teacher, like all of the teachers, is learning the system just a few steps ahead of the kids.
Now Jack loves math. He begs to learn more. John has taught him to carry, but we learned at the teacher conference that in the Everyday Math curriculum the kids don't learn to carry. "They have a new algorithm for that," says the teacher. "I don't know what it is yet, but don't teach Jack to carry. He may get confused." Oops, too late.
Now we are trying to hammer out a Gifted IEP for Jack, and his teacher is too busy learning the new curriculum and making sure most kids get it to meet Jack's needs. At least she was honest, and I really can't blame her. So it looks like we'll be leaning on the Gifted Coordinator to pull him out and give him extra instruction? His teacher doesn't like the idea of Jack missing "the games" and not knowing how to play them in future years. (So what will they do with the new kids?) The Gifted Coordinator told me at our GIEP meeting yesterday that most gifted enrichment is "in the classroom." So--now what?
In my web trolling I found the Education Program for Gifted Youth out of Stanford that kids can do at their schools. His school has a computer lab and he's good at computers, so what's not to like? My plan is to suggest he do that two class periods a week during his regular math class, so he is challenged. I'll volunteer to help monitor. And there must be other gifted kids in 1st or 2nd grades (before the pullout begins) who could use something like this. But how to get in touch with the other parents? The Gifted Coordinator isn't allowed to give me those names, of course. As Pooh says, "Think, think, think."
In my casual conversations with parents, I'm surprised at how little people know about Gifted IEPs. They think have to wait until the end of 2nd grade for testing. Not so! It's your right to have your child tested in any grade, even kindergarten, at least in Pennsylvania. And the school is required to meet the educational needs of your child. The thing is that the school will try to fit the child into the existing curriculum and it's really up to the parent to come up with other ideas/force them to go out of their way for your child. Or take it to mediation. That's just the way it is. I'm memorizing the email and phone number of the Gifted Coordinator, practicing my pushiness, and hardening my soul.