Individualized instruction for advanced student?
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Individualized instruction for advanced student?
I don't mean this query to renew debate about public vs. private
schools, I recognize the pro's and con's of both. My question has
to do with private schools and which ones you all find
particularly good at handling gifted kids, especially for upper
elementary and middle school. I'm curious to hear about schools
that look at each child's level and work with them individually
to help them advance further in a meaningful way, rather than the
''fast finisher'' work my child is currently getting. Do any of
them do that or is the only option schools that have a strong
academic focus, like Bentley?
Didn't think I'd ever consider Private School
The Academy in Berkeley has a fair number of academically gifted
children. They teach to the child and, because of the small
class size, can work with each child's level of skill. Your
child would be hard pressed to be academically bored. The
program includes Latin and French so an older child coming from a
less rigorous program would have to work to catch up. Our child
has attended for two years and we have been quite happy. She's
not one of the astoundingly advanced kids but she is working well
above grade level and, best of all, she's having a lot of fun.
The parents and kids are a warm and welcoming community as well.
Best of luck in your search.
- Academy Parent
My daughter attends an Oakland Public School, and no it is not
one of the top 5 test score wise. My daughter is in first grade
and is reading at the second grade level, writing at third grade
level, speaks three languages and has a solid grasp of the globe
as well as political discourse (at about the 3rd or 4th grade
In her Kindergarten year, her teacher differentiated two levels
below par and two levels above par. There were children who were
4 years 10 months old in September as well as children over 6
years 6 months. My daughter did have to do some math worksheets
below her level, they were given once per week and took her an
average of 7 minutes to do - that's 7 minutes per week. Small
price to pay. She was given an opportunity to paint in the style
of Georgia O'Keefe and learn about New Mexico and Arizona in the
process. She painted in the styles of Monet and Van Gogh and
learned where Europe was on the globe, the Euro, surrounding
oceans and cultural differences from the United States.
I honestly thought it was a fluke. Then came the first grade
teacher. She differentiates one level down from par and two
levels up from par. They're learning social studies through
breads from countries around the world, from that they are
studying the geography, political climate, education system,
culture, flag, population, etc. The teacher uses Open Court as
required and some of the kids need it. Others don't.
The majority of my daughter's preschool friends go to private
schools - these are the schools that I know a child attending:
Redwood Day School, St. Pauls, Archway and Aroura. Each of these
schools teaches a particular curriculum and students have a lot
of free time to work on other projects once their required work
is done, however, the curriculum is differentiated only one
level up and no levels down. If students need additional one on
one help, they get it, but the assignments, classroom work and
ability levels are not 4 or 5 levels but a maximum of 2 or 3.
Please ask at the individual schools.
Please reconsider public education, I think you will be VERY
surprised by what you find.
Oakland Public School Mom
Our academically gifted child has thrived at Aurora School.
Aurora designs the curriculum to challenge kids of different
abilities. Check it out. www.auroraschool.org
I do not know of a private school in the Berkeley area which is
willing to set up an individualized curriculum for an
exceptionally bright child. (Hopefully, someone can post one
that does!) Most, even the ''academic'' schools like Bentley,
have a set curriculum, and they don't like children who don't
fit that curriculum, whether too fast or too slow.
I have talked with many parents about it, and the consensus
seems to be that public schools tend to be more flexible on
curriculum, and are more willing to do grade skips if
necessary. I know of several parents of highly intelligent
children, one who left Prospect Sierra and two who left Black
Pine Circle, due to both schools' refusal to accelerate their
math curriculum. (I also have heard of, although I don't know
her personally, a young girl who left Bentley because it was
too slow for her.) My impression is that these schools are
excellent if your child is somewhere in the middle of the range
and can fit in with the pace of the school. If your child has a
wild talent in math, or is really struggling, you may very well
do better in public school.
looking for flexibility
My child is at the Academy and seems to be getting quite
individualized instruction: His teacher is fantastically warm,
attentive and encouraging. It appears to me that all the kids
are working at different levels but getting the same wonderful
treatment. He is in the kindergarten.
We wanted him in a private school because he tended to avoid
things that weren't easy for him when he was in
preschool. I do not know if the math would be at a high enough
level for your child (I think that's the issue, I didn't see the
original posting) but he's getting challenged and encouraged and
is thriving, excelling even in some things where we had no idea
he would catch fire.
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