Working with our Davidson Young Scholar (YS) Family Consultant, our daughter was successfully accelerated from first grade to third grade.
When our daughter entered first grade the teacher sought to find challenges for her, including a pullout enrichment program that was for third grade. Even with support and help from the teacher, our daughter was not challenged and we decided to advocate for acceleration.
Our Family Consultant coached us on the best practices to advocate for our daughter in a non-confrontational manner. She made us realize that we should work with the school and that we were in this for the long haul. We began to value the teachers and respect them as professional educators.
We had test scores and other evidence that supported our desire to accelerate our daughter, but we did not force this upon the school. Evidence is good, in a supportive role.
We sought the teacher’s opinion on whether our daughter would be a candidate for acceleration. In her entire career at the school, no one had ever been accelerated, but she would present our case to the principal.
We still had not provided any test scores or other data to the school, but in conversations we let them know we had done research on acceleration and would provide any information they wanted at the proper time. We wanted this to be a decision made with the school’s full support.
We also let the school know that the Davidson Institute had consultants that are experts in the field of the education of gifted children and would be willing to help.
This meeting turned into many more during the next few months. Our Family Consultant exchanged emails and phone calls with the school. The school asked for all test scores and the Iowa Acceleration Scale (IAS), which they administered.
The process was longer than we would have wanted, but we knew working with the school would have long-term benefits. During the last two weeks of school our daughter moved to the second grade for a trial run. The last day of school the principal called and told us our daughter would be accelerated to the third grade. Success!
We learned to take advice from the experts, work with the school rather than demand change and to be patient. We believe our daughter’s acceleration was due to the help of the Davidson Institute. We are grateful for the support and help that we received.
Our daughter has just completed third grade with complete success. She is very happy and is being challenged. The teachers are supportive and they have made sure the transition was a success. Thank you, Davidson Institute, and especially to our Family Consultant.
Update - February 2012
The success story continues. Our daughter is currently in 6th grade. At the end of 5th grade our daughter was tested by her school to see if she would be a candidate for another acceleration but this time in math only. It proved successful. At the beginning of the year we were approached by the principal about accelerating our daughter in science as well. They said they were new at this and trying to learn how to work with gifted children.
We were very nervous so we decided to call our Davidson Family Consultant once again on the matter. We knew we would get great feedback. After giving it some thought and getting great feedback we decided to give it a try. The school said that we could try it for a month to see if it was a fit for our daughter and if it wasn't she could return to 6th grade science. Well, low and behold it was a success. She has been accelerated once again this time to 7th grade math and science, high honors classes.
If there is any advice that I could give to parents it is to work with the school not against them. If they are willing to try something for your Young Scholar, then let them. Your Young Scholar will excel and prove to them without your words that they can do this and need this. This SUCCESS story continues thanks to the Davidson Institute and our Family Consultant, because of the groundwork that you helped us to lay with the school and the invaluable feedback that you continue to give. Thank you, the Institute has been a great blessing to our family.