Friday, April 24, 2009

Emily and the A.L.L. program

When we had our parent teacher conferences back in Feb. Emily's teacher suggested for Emily to look into a special program they have. It is called the Accelerated Learning Lab or A.L.L. It is through the school district. I had to fill out a Parent Referral which basically is me answering a few questions and me saying why I think she should be in the program. Then her teacher is suppose to fill out the same sort of form. After that, the school district reviews it and tells us if she can test for it. Then the district gives a CogAt test and they also have to write a story.

We got a letter back saying she has been accepted for the program. I went today to see her test results. I thought I could actually look at them, but they just kind of tell you the numbers. She did pretty well. She got a 77 on her writing and the lady said 50 was about average for her grade. The CogAt scores where given in SAS (Standard Age Score) which is I interpret it as how most other kids do at this age. The lady with the district that I talked to said that 90-100 is like average, 115 is above average, and 130 is high. Emily scored 129 in Reading, 124 in Math, and 128 in Non Verbal. From what I was reading the average score is 100 and the highest possible score would be 150, and they use the scores to determined what they consider "gifted" for special programs like the ALL program.

Now we have to decide if we want to go through with the program. A few downsides to it is that she will be going to a different school then my other girls. They are building a new school that my girls will be going to next year, but the program will stay at the school that the girls attend now. Emily will be familiar with the school and teachers but I will have the problem of picking up and dropping off of kids, since their will be no buses for us next year, or so that is what I am hearing. Another bad thing is she won't be going to the same school as the majority of the neighbors here (unless they are in the program too).

I think it would be good for Emily since she normally kind of feels bored in classes... she has always done well in reading and spelling. Her first grade teacher gave her special spelling words because she had no problems doing her other spelling words. It seems like she did that in 2nd grade maybe too. I think she would like the special things the class would do. I think of the wonderful chance this is for her to participate in... especially since the school is so close to us, and it wouldn't really be like changing school. Emily has a hard time with change like that, since she is shy to start.

With that being said, I don't want to push her into things too hard either and make her feel like she has to be "perfect" as she sometimes complains that I make her feel like she needs to be. She wants to do the program. It is a 2 year commitment, so it's not like we can try it and say no thank you if it is too much. Emily wants to do it, so maybe that is all there is to it. I guess also they wouldn't put her in it if she didn't test well. The lady said they had like 66 kids in Emily's grade (through out the WHOLE district) that were accepted. That is pretty impressive to me. Emily is a pretty smart girl!

What to do? What to do?
Decisions...decisions.... maybe I need to go put on some chapstick and think about this.... (see previous post about Amber and chapstick)


wendy said...

One of my friends put their #2 in the program because she wanted to. I think she really has enjoyed it. I can ask her more questions, if you'd like.

Amy Sorensen said...

Hi Karla!

Here's my thoughts on ALL. If Emily wants to do it, I think it is SOOOO good. It is becoming harder and harder for teachers to challenge G&T kids because attention and funds are drawn elsewhere. There is only so much one teacher can do, you know? But once she is in the mix with kids that have her same apptitudes, she'll be challenged in such positive ways.

The two school thing IS hard, logistically, and i SO know what you mean about her not being in the same school as all her other friends. That has been something that has stopped me from putting my kids in a different school. I decided sometime after Christmas, though, that their education matters more. They will still play on the street and see their friends, and I'm 100% certain that their friends will still BE there friends even if they don't go to school together, but I am ready for my kids to be more challenged. (I'm trying to get them into Noah Webster.) I'm looking at it as a chance for them to have MORE friends!

Sorry, my reply got a little long, but you are grappling with some of the same issues I am. Good luck with your decision, and hats off to Emily for being such a smartypants!!! ;)

Jamie said...

interesting post as Jacob just got accepted into the all program for 5-6. my older girls never wanted to test but I really felt strongly about trying to get Jacob in. I have continued to feel strongly about this for him. we went to an orientation mtng this last wed. and accepted placement. He is really excited now. I am not looking forward to driving him every day but I met 2 parents from suncrest right behind us and hopefully we can carpool with them.

Good luck on your decisions making.