Feb. 5th, 2009 03:43 pm
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[personal profile] flea
Casper came home with a folder from the gifted program at her school. She has been recommended for evaluation by her teacher, and we had to sign a form authorizing their evaluation. I signed it, and we'll see.

I tend to take for granted Casper's strengths, which include being in general very bright and very verbal. She's also pretty creative, a storyteller, good at problem solving in some circumstances (on the other hand, *finding her shoes* is sometimes a challenge). On the couple of occasions she's been in research studies (which I've done for fun and geekiness - I can help science!) the students evaluating her have commented on her intellectual and verbal precocity and level of understanding, and they use standard metrics, so they should know.

On the other hand, she's five and a half and not yet reading (not that there's anything wrong with that, but it doesn't yell "gifted"), and we spent (well, mr. flea spent; I drank) a tearful 45 minutes with her last night practicing her sight-recognition words, most of which she would not or could not recognize. She does fine at her schoolwork, is performing at the expected levels for her grade (which, let's remember, is kindergarten, after all), but doesn't seem especially motivated to excel. She likes drawing and art generally, and likes the science special they have, but her level of motivation isn't shouting "gifted" to me either.

I've read the school district's official materials on the gifted program, and poked around a little at "gifted kid" stuff on the internet, but I don't have a lot of knowledge about gifted programs. I have heard anecdotally that in some districts "gifted" is code for "let's pull out the upper middle class kids from the poor" (often with added racial coding) and since we are in a heavily poor and minority school, and school district, this is a concern to me - I don;t want to play that way. Some of the big web sites on gifted children say you can't define gifted before the age of 8 or so; a lot of what is defined as gifted before then is precocity, and the other kids catch up. I took some IQ tests in elementary school (in a small town in rural Maine) and was sort of treated as a gifted child at school myself; though there was no formal gifted program, I was homeschooled half time one year, basically as a form of enrichment; they thought about skipping me a grade, but didn't, though I did have to learn the times tables really fast when they were talking about it, which sucked; and I did some special pull-out work at times. But once I was in a larger school district of high-achieving parents & kids I wasn't treated differently from anyone else; I don't know if they had a gifted program and I wasn't in it, or if it was just assumed that half the damn school was gifted (my guess would be the latter). So would Casper be gifted if we lived in Lexington, MA? Shouldn't defining gifted be less situational than that?

I guess I am feeling mixed about this. Pleased, but also no big deal, but also skeptical. We'll see, and presumably we'll meet with the gifted coordinator if she indeed tests out gifted.
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