To give a bit of background, Lucy, our soon-to-be-13-year-old, eighth-grader Davidson Young Scholar (YS), is passionate about violin. Though she has been playing less than five years, she has moved rapidly through the repertoire, in part due to the fact that she practices a couple of hours a day. This year, she is homeschooled and awaiting notification from boarding schools for high school in the upcoming school year. In sixth and seventh grade, she attended a lovely (but very small and academically underwhelming) independent school in Vermont.
A few months after she turned 10, Lucy was "skipped into" sixth grade at the school in 2009-2010 (following two years of homeschooling). She was breezing through her classes, including one non-academic class that we did not feel was valuable. We requested violin practice time in place of the class, but, despite a lot of advocacy on our part, the school refused to grant the time.
In Spring 2010 Lucy became a YS. It was also clear to the school that she was an "unusual" student. When fall came around (for the 2010-2011 school year) and Lucy was in seventh grade, she was further accelerated into eighth grade English and continued to breeze through her classes, including one called "Computers," that was, basically, a course in touch-typing. When she began the school year, Lucy was measured at more than 40WPM. Learning to type keystrokes was, we felt, an utter waste of time. With a bit more knowledge about the school admininistration under our belt, we again petitioned for violin practice time. This time, instead of an outright refusal, the dean told us, "I'm all for it, but I have an admin committee to report to who will be concerned that every parent will want special accommodations for their kid. Get me some ammunition." (his words). So we did. We asked for letters recommending the accommodation from Lucy's violin teacher AND from our Family Consultant. While she did not know Lucy personally, she was able to provide a letter discussing the specific needs of profoundly gifted students and the wider benefits of allowing them to pursue their passions. The school already knew that Lucy was a YS. They granted the accommodation and Lucy was given two class periods a week (replacing the computer class) to practice. It was a big accommodation from a school that was initially reluctant, and we credit the involvement with the Davidson Institute and our Family Consultant for making it work.
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