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by Monique Lloyd
Some TAG parents have found creative and inventive ways to resolve problems. If you have story to share please contact Monique Lloyd by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.
A sixth-grade student was denied admission to the district's TAG program despite strong evidence, including a state standardized test score at the 97th percentile in total reading, parent nomination, and two teacher nominations, that he qualified. The parent wanted identification because the student's teacher was insistent he was only an average reader and refused to modify any assignments.
The parent met with the teacher and principal several times to no avail.
The parent chose not to file a formal, written complaint because the school year was more than half-over and she had no confidence that the complaint process would result in any changes in the classroom.
The district had only one sixth-grade classroom. There was no where to move the student except out-of-district, an option neither the parent nor the student wished.
Both parents worked full-time and home-schooling was not an option.
The parent wrote a letter to the principal, with copies to the district superintendent and the teacher, stating that as of Monday of the following week the student was to be sent to the library during reading time and that she would provide his reading assignments to do there. Additional reading instruction was provided at home by the parent. The parent described this as "homeschooling in reading only" although the child stayed in school the entire day.
There was strong opposition from the teacher, but the parent persisted and an agreement was reached and put into writing.
The problem was resolved for that school year.
The parent felt, however, that school officials were not responsive to her son's needs. This was confirmed when the district continued to refuse to identify the student as TAG despite a total reading score at the 99th percentile at the end of the year.
The parent met with the district's only seventh-grade Language Arts teacher who indicated that she did not plan to modify the student's reading program.
The parents decided to send this child to a private school. They also felt it important to hold the system accountable so they sent a letter to each member of the school board, with a copies to the district superintendent and principal, informing them why they were removing their child from the public school system.
A kindergartner began school capable of reading books at the fifth-grade level and understanding mathematical concepts including addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, percentages, and simple Algebra.
The school immediately recognized that the student's program needed to be radically modified but refused to allow the student out of the kindergarten classroom.
The parent saw a problem developing when the student decided he wanted to do what the other kids were doing instead of working alone. She requested that at the end of the school year he be double promoted and provided with instruction commensurate with his assessed level in a second grade classroom. The principal opposed grade-skipping on philosophical grounds and denied the request. Her concerns revolved around socialization issues and insisted that age placement was more important.
The parent felt that the only appropriate option for her child was a double promotion and then instruction at assessed level in academic subjects.
There were no private schools in the area and the parent was uncertain of her abilities to homeschool.
This child was the youngest of four children and had excellent social skills but his interests were those similar to those of older children. He could not understand why no one had the same interest in insects that he did, for example, or why they didn't understand his jokes, which were often word-play.
The parent sought the help of a sympathetic first-grade teacher, and together with the kindergarten teacher, arranged for the student to spend half of his time in the first-grade classroom. The student fit in very well and made friends. The teachers, with written permission from the parents, obtained permission from the principal to have the student take the first grade standardized tests with those students.
When a meeting was held at the end of the year, the first-grade teacher reported that the student had scored at the 99th percentile in both total reading and math and that the student fit in well with the first grade students, both academically and socially. Permission to double-promote was granted and the following year the second-grade teacher provided opportunities for the student to work ahead in all subjects without isolating him.
Last updated September 2002