Wednesday, May 9, 2012


My daughter cried her heart out two-and-a-half months ago.  She wanted to transfer out of the STEM Program so very badly.  She could do the work, but she couldn't handle the workload, and she couldn't navigate socially.

She has spent two months in general education in her "home school."  Tonight she cried her heart out because she is so incredibly bored in general education.  She feels challenged in only one class a day; the rest, she says, are "just worksheets."

She went from hands-on learning with her academic peers in all four core subjects to general education with grade level peers in two-and-a-half of four core subjects.  She no longer has the same level of technology in the classroom.  And, as she said when I reminded her that she missed out on the clubs that offered challenges in her new school, "Why should I have to wait until after school to do challenges and be bored all day doing worksheets?"  (Yes, there's some 12-year-old drama in there, but the point is a good one.)

There was more to our discussion tonight, including my daughter's saying that here, teachers' expectations are just so much lower than they had been in STEM.  I had to ask her to help me reconcile the fact that she didn't do her work when the expectations were higher with the fact that she was now requesting more challenging work.  Her answer?  She said she didn't appreciate the challenges when she had them.

Last week I met with my daughter's new teachers to do a check-in, see how they perceive her transition.  The five teachers of her four core classes attended.  Three of them specifically mentioned her very superior critical thinking skills.  Two said that she brought up the level of the class.  One of those two said that some of her ideas were so far beyond her peers' that the teacher believes her peers don't understand the ideas.

Transferring my daughter back into STEM, whether this year or next, is not very likely, though I'll make inquiries.  She has to learn to make changes within herself rather than demanding that the environment change.  Additionally, there is probably a story behind tonight's upset.  However, still on the table is her need for academic rigor.  That need was one of the major reasons we looked into the STEM Program the first year she could apply for a seat.  It was perhaps the determining factor in continuing in STEM6 despite our first-hand knowledge (when our son was in STEM6) of how ridiculously difficult the workload is.

I attended today's Board of Education meeting.  One of the two things that struck me during the meeting was that the Superintendent said that if anyone knows of a child who is having difficulties, contact him so that that child can be encircled by help.  It gave me goosebumps at the time and still does.  However, I've already asked for rigorous programming in middle school.  It doesn't exist.  I've already had my daughter evaluated for special education services.  Though she has ADHD and depression, she doesn't qualify.  Differentiated instruction happens in classrooms with teachers experienced in differentiating.  Technology in classrooms is uneven.  The economy is what it is.

My children are not geniuses.  They're just really, really smart.  They also have special needs.  As I've asked so many times for my son, I have to ask for my daughter:  Where is the place for her?

1 comment:

Lori said...

Praying for her perfect place and your peace with it!