Thursday, June 14, 2018

Yesterday Smarty said Goodbye to her friends, her teachers, and her principal. She is not returning to 8th grade and heading to a small private school instead. I have very mixed feelings about this step.
Overall, she had a good year, especially after we made a decision to move her to a private school. She enjoyed various projects in social studies, science, and Maker Lab and worked well with kids of different abilities and temperaments. She made two good friends in her grade - both funny and nerdy boys, and we joke that she is like Hermione with Harry Potter and Ron. She became a better writer and a better problem solver this year, and she was well liked by her teachers.
At the same time, she craves more academic challenge. She hates having to wait for everyone to finish, and she wants to be able to take classes that our school does not offer (for example, foreign language). While many kids absolutely adore Maker Lab, and she herself did quite well this year with Maker Lab projects, she considers this mandatory class a waste of her time, because she is not interested in becoming an engineer. She wants to be able to participate more in class discussions and not to be "the last resort" - only to be called on when nobody else wants to offer their opinions. She wants to move faster to high school math and to AP classes - she would have to wait until her junior year for AP placement in her zoned public school.
I admit that I wish things were different. I wish we lived in the district that supports its gifted students without any need of advocacy on parents' part. I wish Smarty's school had acceleration options for all students who prove mastery of their grade-level material. I wish gifted students were clustered together and were offered more challenging assignments. I wish we could feel confident that our tiny Smarty does not get lost in a giant and diverse public school we are zoned to.
I am grateful that our financial situation allows us a choice between a public school system and sending our child to a private school. I am also grateful that this choice does not have to be final. We are looking at the next school year as a "trial run". We want to hope that the private school that we chose will meet Smarty's academic needs, and we also want to hope that she will be able to make and keep friends there. We are sad that she does not click with girls in her school, that she is not invited to all those "pizza pool parties" that my FB friends post about. On the positive note, this is what makes this transition easier for her and for us - she goes to a new school with hope, enthusiasm, and intention to prove herself again. We keep our fingers crossed that her high expectations will not be dashed. At least, if things don't work out, perhaps Smarty can reunite with her middle school friends and grade mates in high school.
Smarty is sad to leave her school and her friends. She met some fantastic teachers this year, especially her science teacher. At the same time, she is excited about the change and is certainly looking forward to summer break. Let the summer begin!

Your Turn

Do you have any major changes this year?


Min Erva said...

Congrats! Change is the norm for us and for you as well. What would we do without change and trying new things to see if it works better? I wish Smarty the best in the new school. There are so many schools to chose from and finding one that works for your child is worth it!

Ticia said...

Kind of, I'm moving the kids to a more independent learning, and treating this coming year as a high school prep year.

That's interesting on AP classes, at my school district I think it's possible to start taking them as a freshman or a sophomore, but it's rare.

MaryAnne K. said...

I hope the new school turns out to be a huge win for Smarty!

Anna is trying our public school this fall (along with Johnny, who is returning again). Hopefully she has a good year.