Friday, January 12, 2007

Gifted?

Ella's teacher stopped me after school earlier this week and told me she wanted to nominate Ella to be tested for the gifted-talented (GT) program. I'm not really surprised by this. We've always suspected Ella was a sharp cookie, and I went to a school that was specifically for gifted students. But I was still taken back a bit. I had no idea the testing and tracking would start so soon - she's only in kindergarten, for goodness sake.

Kindergarten or no, we're now working on the application packet, and it's a bit daunting. I feel like her entire academic future rests on how I check off items on a list and answer two short essay questions. I don't think I took my college application essays this seriously, which could be why I ended up at a state school.

I have to come up with examples of Ella's special talent or ability and an example of how her ability, understanding or knowledge surprised me. Brandon and I spent time last night talking about what examples to use, but we didn't come up with a final decision.

Fortunately, Ella's teacher is on the GT board for the school, and she'll be able to give us insight into the whole process. She's already given me a packet of information on the testing that is done in second grade.

Being recognized as GT won't make much of a difference for Ella at this stage. Her teachers will have to come up with some individualized lesson plans for her, but she won't be pulled into different classes or anything, which I think is a good thing. We like the teacher she has, and she has formed strong bonds with her classmates. There is one other child in the class who is going through the GT process, so if they both are labelled as such, they'll be able to work together on more advanced projects or lessons.

I have no idea how much time or energy my parents spent on having me identified as gifted. I don't even remember taking the tests to get into PineView, probably because I had no idea that I was doing anything special. My parents just told me one day that I was switching schools for 4th grade, and I remember being very relieved. I didn't like the school I was at, so there was no problem leaving it.

For now, I'll work on the essay answers and collect work samples for her portfolio and hope for the best. And I'll try not to get too stressed about the whole process.

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