Saturday, June 13, 2009
I'm warning you all in advance, this post will be a long one!
Okay, I don't mean to sound like one of "those" moms, but I need to get this all out. My 13 year old is a bright boy. A very bright boy. Before he was 2 he came up to me with a book one day and showed me the letter "O". By shortly after his 2nd birthday he knew all of his letters. And I was NOT the type of mom to sit and drill this with him, because I know it's not even developmentally appropriate to expect a 2 year old to know his letters. He just somehow learned it on his own. Letters, numbers, colors, shapes, he knew them all at 2. At 7 he became very interested in US history, particularly the Presidents. I bought him a couple of books about the Presidents since he was so interested. After reading them a few times he was able to name EVERY President in order and could tell you lots of facts about them. To this day he knows more about US History than most adults. In 3rd grade he started reading the Harry Potter series, quickly making it through all the ones that were out to that point. When the next one came out, which was 700 pages or so, he preordered it to arrive on the day in was released. He was done with it in 3 days. He still reads avidly and has actually read the entire series several times over. He gets nearly straight A's (he had two B's on his report card this whole year) and has NEVER studied for a test. Well, he does "study" for Spanish, with "studying" defined as looking over his notes a couple of times. He has had 3 grades this entire year in Spanish that were not 100's. He is a very bright boy.
His Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers were very impressed with his intelligence and creativity. His first grade teacher told me he was her MOST creative writer and she loved that he thought outside of the box. In 2nd grade he was nominated by his teacher for the school's gifted and talented program and was found to have an IQ in the gifted range. Actually, in the highly gifted range. So how did he do in the program, you might be wondering. Well, he was rejected. Here is the process for acceptance -- the kids are scored in 5 areas : IQ, grades. standardized test scores, teacher evaluation and parent evaluation. They are then ranked and depending on how many spots are open in the program they pull that many kids from the top of the list. He did not make the cut because the teacher evaluation was too low. Yes, this was the teacher who nomimated him, so I have never understood that. In 3rd grade he started to become very careless about his work and did not make it in because he had too many B's on his report card. In 4th grade I spoke to his teacher about the fact that he was not in the program and not being challenged. Don't worry she said, the program really doesn't matter in the long run; he WILL be one of the kids picked for the algebra class in 8th grade and he WILL be on the honor's track in high school, and that is what counts in the long run. Lo and behold, however, he finally made it into the program in 5th grade and did very well. But, the kids have to recompete once they enter middle school, so again he did not make the cut for 6th grade because his test score was too low. In 7th grade, he did not make it in because the teacher evaluation was too low. Now, lest you think he is not liked by his teachers, all they tell me when I go for conferences is how hard-working, bright and polite he is, how he is an active participant in class, an asset to the class, etc. etc. I just don't get it. It truly feels as if he is just cursed. This year he told me he did not want to try again and I allowed him that, because I simply could not bear seeing that look on his face one more time, that look of sadness, rejection and failure. Anyway, I thought, he will be in the algebra class as I was assured in 4th grade, so he will finally be challenged.
So, the letters went home this week for the kids who were accepted into the algebra class, and guess who didn't get one. They chose 50 kids out of 140, and my son was not one of them. How can this possibly be? For the algebra class, they are scored in 3 areas -- math grades, teacher recommendation, and a score on a test they take. Did the one B he got the first marking period because he was not trying keep him out? Did he bomb the test for some reason? Did his teacher not recommend him? Well, I don't know, because despite leaving two messages for the Principal and one for the guidance counselor I have not heard back from anyone. And I couldn't make an appointment to see the Principal because apparently she makes her own appointments so I have to wait for her to call me. I am so angry! I have a lot of questions. Not only why he was not accepted, but does this mean, as I have heard from other parents, that he will now be excluded from the honor's track in high school? Can I homeschool him in algebra and have him test into the honor's track for high school? I know he is more than capable of handling it, and I have a math degree so homeschooling him in it would not be a problem. Can I pay for him to take an algebra course elsewhere?
I am just so angry that he is not in to begin with, and double angry that no one will get back to me to discuss this. Do they think I will eventually go away? If I do not hear from someone by Monday I am going to the Superintedent on Tuesday. Oh, did I mention this is the same district I work for? Wouldn't you think they would do me the courtesy of calling me back to schedule an appointment? I am just so angry you cannot believe it. If this keeps him off the honor's track I will be even more livid! That simply CANNOT happen! I look back and I think how easy all of this should have been. It should all have been a no-brainer. I brought the school a bright, wonderful boy, and they have just not held up their end of the bargain. I just can't stand unfairness, especially when it affects my kids.
Oh, and because I am so angry I just keep eating things I should not. Somehow I think I'm getting back at them. Like they care if I get fat, right?
Ugh, I'm so angry!!!!!