Last night's school board meeting

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Postby RBarnes » Thu Apr 19, 2007 2:42 pm

Tom Williams wrote:What I didn't say was that my personal experience is that Merrimack elementary schools (at least JMES) acknowledge this duty and make an effort to provide it. I was trying to suggest that the Barnes should explore this with the school as part of their due diligence effort.


We've spoken with the school principal, Marge and our son's pediatrician. We've also consulted with teachers we know (such as my sister) on what they think.

So far not one has suggested against having him tested for possible early admission. In fact our pediatrician said I believe if I have her words right "we'd be foolish not to based on his advanced vocabulary alone."

We've also done a great bit of research on the web and are weighing every option.

And quite frankly we don't have any clue if our son will test out as being capable of advanced work. For all I know he may be below average in many areas.

It isn't about my kid though, those who do test as being ready should ultimately have that choice made by their parents, not the school board.

Beside every single child is different, who knows that child better then his or her own parent?
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Postby RBarnes » Thu Apr 19, 2007 2:44 pm

mmoy wrote:I think that the difference is that one is required by law or effectively required by metrics and funding and the other isn't. The best solution would be to require gifted programs in either state or federal requirements. But the gifted typically have far less support (in terms of lobbying) than do those requiring special education.


Yes and that is a MAJOR flaw in our current system.

Personally I think the best option would be school choice as then parents could shop around for the school that best meets their individual child's needs but unless the state changes something I don't see that happening any time soon.
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Postby mmoy » Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:11 pm

Confucius wrote:Besides, you have to pay for public education through taxes regardless, unless you move to Somalia with Lowerest. Why not attempt to have them meet your child's needs rather than the one-size-fits-all, "average is good enough" system we have today?


I do not think that it is economically and politically viable to do this in the current state and town environment. I think that it would be administratively difficult to do too.
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Postby mmoy » Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:21 pm

RBarnes wrote:With the costs of homes alone most families are left with a choice of apartment life or having two working parents just to pay the bills.

So given this situation how then does a parent meet the responsibility? At least if we had a voucher system a parent would be free to search out the school that best meet their child's needs but we don't even have that. The system in place locks our kids in and as a result I'd have to agree with Tom that it has a responsibility to meet those needs including the demands of children who are above average abilities.


We live in rather small quarters and what is wrong with apartment life?

On your other topic, we'd require some work by the Legislature to get what you're describing. Until a dedicated group of people get enough political clout to get something like this passed, it's really not pragmatic to talk about. There are education groups that put together a strong and sustained effort to get legislative change that they want but I don't see that in place for vouchers.

My understanding is that the middle school is where there are more opportunities for kids with above average abilities and that seems like a practical compromise.
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Postby mmoy » Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:25 pm

RBarnes wrote:Personally I think the best option would be school choice as then parents could shop around for the school that best meets their individual child's needs but unless the state changes something I don't see that happening any time soon.


On this particular issue, can you point to one private school within 30 minutes of Merrimack that would give you the flexibility that you want in the K-5 grades? We did take a hard look at private schools when we started out and private schools have their own challenges. Private schools may provide early acceptance but that brings up the issue of children generally having strengths and weaknesses.
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Postby Ann Goldman » Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:59 pm

Do the private schools accept Special Ed students? Until they do, I don't believe in vouchers. That is unfair competition that takes money away from the public schools who have to accept all children regardless of capabilities.
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Postby Amanda Boerner » Thu Apr 19, 2007 4:00 pm

Hi Michael,
I tried to PM you but I guess they are not working. We have found a private school within 20 minutes of Merrimack and they do have leveled classes. I would be happy to share the information with you if you would like to send me an email at mailto:Amanda@kcfnh.com
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Postby mmoy » Thu Apr 19, 2007 4:20 pm

Amanda Boerner wrote:Hi Michael,
I tried to PM you but I guess they are not working. We have found a private school within 20 minutes of Merrimack and they do have leveled classes. I would be happy to share the information with you if you would like to send me an email at mailto:Amanda@kcfnh.com


I did get the PM.

I had a look at it and it's a fairly high-level site. I'm pretty impressed that they put a school where they did as the challenge of a lot of private school projects is affordable land and buildings. It looks like their class sizes are small enough so that they grade levels can coexist. I will have to take a look at their curriculum (with what information is available) at a later time.

One other thing not mentioned on the site is tuition. Do you have relative tuition costs handy? I'm curious as to the cost. I know many parents that
spend close to $20K per child at Derryfield and was wondering if this school has a significantly different cost structure.

On another note, did you get your math issue resolved?
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Postby Amanda Boerner » Thu Apr 19, 2007 4:35 pm

Michael,
The tuition is fairly reasonable compared to the other private schools that we looked at in the area.

Elementary is $4,790
Middle is $5,790
High School is $6,790

There are various discounts available for payment in full and the second child is 5%off.

As far as the Math situation goes, I wish I could say that it was resolved. At the last School Board Meeting they did a brief presentation about the program. Never mentioning of course that our third graders NECAP math scores (who have only had Everyday Math) did not go up this year but actually went slightly down.
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Postby Confucius » Thu Apr 19, 2007 5:04 pm

Ann Goldman wrote:Do the private schools accept Special Ed students? Until they do, I don't believe in vouchers. That is unfair competition that takes money away from the public schools who have to accept all children regardless of capabilities.


I agree 100%. We need to improve public school's capability to provide services to all children, regardless of their capability level. I believe this can be done without spending more money by changing the delivery of course content to account for student proficiency.

There shouldn't be a need to spend extra money to do this. The same teachers will be teaching. It's the students that will be mixed differently. The biggest hurdle is getting educators and administrators to accept change. As mmoy pointed out, the biggest headache will be for administrators to come up with a plan to implement it. I don't have a problem with that.
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