Last night's school board meeting

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Last night's school board meeting

Postby RBarnes » Tue Apr 17, 2007 6:40 am

Was anyone here able to stay for the later half of the school board meeting last night? I'm interested in knowing if anything changed with the early admission policy.
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Postby andysinnh » Tue Apr 17, 2007 7:43 am

Sorry, Rick. I left after the HS presentation, when I found out that they weren't going to be making any final decisions on the budget till next month's meeting....

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Re: Last night's school board meeting

Postby GregRS » Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:56 am

RBarnes wrote:Was anyone here able to stay for the later half of the school board meeting last night? I'm interested in knowing if anything changed with the early admission policy.


Hi Rick,

I think they are still discussing the details, so no decision was made.

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Re: Last night's school board meeting

Postby RBarnes » Tue Apr 17, 2007 9:30 am

GregRS wrote:
RBarnes wrote:Was anyone here able to stay for the later half of the school board meeting last night? I'm interested in knowing if anything changed with the early admission policy.


Hi Rick,

I think they are still discussing the details, so no decision was made.

Greg


Thanks. I will be writing the school board my opinion on this as their vote will directly impact my son as we are currently looking into having him tested for possible early admission.

I think it should be left as a choice for parents to decide what is best for their own kids and NOT the school board. And quite frankly if a child is mentally ready and emotionally ready and is capable of handling the work of first grade why hold them back? Since testing only allows for the top 18% of kids to progress I would think the policy sets itself.

Marge pointed out that it is fairly rare that kids even qualify to begin with, so if they do why deny them the ability to advance? And why strip parents of a choice of what THEY feel may be best for their kid.
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Postby Linda Nickerson » Tue Apr 17, 2007 11:08 am

Rick,

Please don't take this the wrong way, I am not telling you how to raise your kids......

It's not always a good idea to have kids be the youngest kids in their class. While they may be academically ready, they are not always emotionally ready. This may not be evident in the few few years of school but as they get older, it becomes more apparent.

I've talked to alot of people in education over the years and the general advice I've always gotten is to err on the side of caution with this one. The OLDER a child is in relation to their current grade level, the better (within reason, of course!)

I'm sure there are many who will disagree with me but I know that my 2 kids who were on the older side of their class performed much better than my one who was on the younger side. One of my friends fought to have her daughter accepted for early admittance because she was academically ready. She did great all through elementary and middle but, because she was almost a year younger than her classmates in high school she really developed alot of problems and ended up dropping out. She got her GED and is doing great now in college but she is also now the same age as her classmates. (This was not in Merrimack btw).

Just food for thought.......I would have done this in a PM but I can't.... :cry:
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Postby RBarnes » Tue Apr 17, 2007 11:48 am

Linda, that's fine but ultimately it should be up to the parents to make that choice. Shannon and I still haven't made up our minds on what to do with Noah but we still want him tested. If he doesn't qualify on the test then there's no debate. Even his pediatrician has recommended based on his vocabulary and maturity that he at least be tested. I think her words were we'd be foolish not to.

Also, when I was growing up one of my friends in school was a younger kid who skipped a grade. He actually finished 2nd in my graduating class.

I'm a firm believer that people should not be held back from their capabilities. In our schools we continue to see pushes to help kids who fall behind or need special help... what about those who do well? Should we punish them and hold them back?
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Postby Linda Nickerson » Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:10 pm

I guess I don't see allowing a child to be the same relative age as his or her fellow classmates as a punishment.

Kids grow up so fast, my youngest is a Senior in HS and my oldest is (gasp!) 23. I know we've made some mistakes in raising them but they've all turned out to be pretty good kids. I do remember when mine were younger that I wanted them to always have the best and also to BE the best. I never realized how quickly the time would fly by.....and that MY definition of best may turn out to be different from THEIR definition of best.

I'm sure you and Shannon will make the decision you feel is best for your child. And, I'm sure you're getting wonderful advice from many people including your sister who is involved with education.

I just wanted you to hear from a parent who is on the "other side" of the raising process........
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Postby Denise O'Dwyer » Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:29 pm

Hi Rick,

If Noah's birthday is anywhere in the August - October time frame I would proceed with caution.
My son falls in that time frame and I had a pretty bad experience with Reeds Ferry adminstrators when he was heading into first grade. I dont want to get into the reasons on the forum, so I know Shannon has my email and number please call me and I can tell you his story.

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Postby andysinnh » Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:54 pm

So all of our kids' birthdays fall into October/November. In each case, we could have petitioned for early admission into first grade. The older two were pretty advanced academically, but we chose to let them wait another year before entering first grade, primarily due to what I'd call a "being socially ready" aspect. This balancing between academics and social interaction is perhaps the hardest thing to gauge, especially when they're only 5-6 years old. And there's always the likelihood that a parent can choose "wrong" one way or the other. Based on other parents' experience, if you choose "wrong", it's much worse to find you put them in too early and then have to make them re-take a grade level, vs working to try to allow them to advance a level, say at mid-year. While the latter is harder logistically, the former is much harder for the child's social and emotional state.

In some ways, you're correct that it should be up to the parents. But I'll be the first to admit that I didn't make all the right choices with my kids in school early on, and many of the recommendations the schools had were spot-on for our kids.

Not sure if I support or contradict your goals here - just my experience...

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Postby RBarnes » Tue Apr 17, 2007 1:02 pm

Linda Nickerson wrote:I guess I don't see allowing a child to be the same relative age as his or her fellow classmates as a punishment.


Age isn't the punishment. Holding him back from learning what he has capability to learn is.

Age is the one debate Shannon and I have questioned. Later in high school they would be a year younger when kids they go to school with start learning to drive and start dating. They may not be emotionally ready to date. Also since they would be younger, they might not be able to compete at the same level in sports with kids in their same grade etc. We've discussed and considered a number of things.

On the flip side however, when kids are board because they aren't being mentally stimulated they often become behavior problems. Also holding them back to keep them in the same age range doesn't necessarily mean they'll be the same size growing up anyway. Right now Noah is in the 90% percentile for hight and weight for his age group though so I don't see size as that big a concern.

One other thing that lead us to even consider early enrollment is that with Noah he finds more comfort in associating with older kids. In day care he doesn't enjoy kids around his age. He gravitates towards kids 1, 2 even 3 or 4 years older then him and he associates with them as peers.

There's a lot to consider and that's partly why Shannon and I haven't fully made up our minds but ultimately it should be our choice. If the school board wants to recommend against it and give parents strong cautions detailing all the reasons why they recommend against it but leave the choice to the parents, that's fine. But to take away that choice outright from parents to even consider for their kids?


Linda Nickerson wrote:I do remember when mine were younger that I wanted them to always have the best and also to BE the best. I never realized how quickly the time would fly by.....and that MY definition of best may turn out to be different from THEIR definition of best.


Yes and that's why Shannon and I both believe that children should be allowed to set their own pace. If they are capable of more advanced school work, challenge them mentally... give them the level of work they can handle.

Linda Nickerson wrote:I just wanted you to hear from a parent who is on the "other side" of the raising process........


I gladly welcome all the opinions and feed back. I certainly see it as positive discussion. In fact ANY discussion on how we can be doing things better for our children is good discussion.
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Postby Gina Rosati » Tue Apr 17, 2007 2:11 pm

I agree that the parents should make the ultimate decision, whether to let their children test in early or to wait to send their August/September children who may not be quite ready. My daughter's birthday is September 28th and we chose to wait the extra year, which worked very well for my daughter. It was a very difficult decision to make, and I spoke to dozens of parents and to people in their late teens and early 20's. Most spoke in favor of waiting, especially when it comes to high school and college. I was told it's hard to be the last to get your license, and to be the last of your peer group to reach 21. Several of the young adults I spoke with who started early decided to take a year off between high school and college, and that gave them a year to catch up socially.

On the other hand, I do see many kids who started early who are doing terrific. It's a tough call, but I think you're right, Rick. It should be the parent's call, as long as the child tests in well and seems socially ready.
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Last Night's Board Meeting

Postby Pat McGrath » Tue Apr 17, 2007 3:13 pm

Rick:

By all means proceed with the early admission testing. And as others have said, take the input from the educational professionals. Their experience is invaluable and what they want for your son is the same thing you and Shannon want: his happiness and his success.

There is so much that goes into the matrix. One way to look at it is think of entry into school as you would think of a job. What skills, knowledge base, strength, stamina, perseverance, and social skills are necessary to BEGIN doing the job? If he has a superior knowledge base, but poops out after an hour of ORGANIZED instruction, then having the gift of time to fully develop might make all the difference in whether he is an exceptional student or a student who will struggle at least for the foreseeable future.

Our two oldest students attended public school in another state before we moved to New Hampshire. They were young for their grade by NH standards, but academically were ahead of the grades they came into. Our youngest only experienced NH education and benefited by a year of Readiness. Academically she was strong, but needed to mature one more year to handle the rigors of 1st grade. I'm glad we listened to the educators who assessed her. The advice was right on the money.

Raising students is never easy or always clear as to what path to take. But seeking input and recommendations can only help.
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Postby Jeannine Stergios » Tue Apr 17, 2007 5:18 pm

Rick Barnes

I would have PM'd this but it's still not working.
Here's my opinion on these readiness assessments:

I have 3 sons - 2 born in June and 1 in august

I was advised that the August son and one June son should go to readiness. I disagreed.

August son - honor student and currently has an MBA, and an additional Masters in international Marketing, Has been accepted into the doctorate program at the Univ of Tenn in Knoxville for the fall.

June son - 3.5 GPA high school. Currently a freshman at UNH majoring in Mech engineering.

You know you children better than anyone - make your own judgments.
If I had listened to these "experts" and they based their decisions almost soleley on the fact they were male and their birthdates were in June and August. I didn't buy it. Yet they let my daughter (born in March) into 1st grade although she was special needs. Another scam to provide more jobs.
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Postby Shannon Barnes » Tue Apr 17, 2007 6:19 pm

Our son is 15 minutes shy from being a December baby. If he does start 1st grade he will be 5 years and 9 months old. He will not stand out physically as he will likely be one of the taller kids in the class (He is nearly 46 inches).

I want the process to determine the best path for my child as we are talking about maturity as a factor. It concerns me that we don't hesitate testing for special education to accomodate for the challenged but we are trying to institute policy for those looking to be engaged in an education at their level of comprehension. It seems duplicitous by sheer definition. I find boredom by a student can be just as disruptive as being overwhelmed by the classroom information. Our pediatrician (an ivy league med school graduate) was the one who gave me the confidence that the test was the best thing for Noah.

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Postby Jeannine Stergios » Tue Apr 17, 2007 6:31 pm

shannon

Isn't the test mandatory for entering 1st grade? I know it used to be taken by all kindergarteners before entering 1st grade.

Like I said - whatever feels right to you is what you should do.
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