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Old 09-21-2012, 09:32 AM
 
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Hi:

A lot of my friends (parents with first graders) have started talking about FCPS' Advanced Academic Programs. They were hoping that their kids would make it into those programs. I went to the FCPS Web site to read about this program but I'm not entirely sure what would my first grader achieve if he got into this program or what would he miss out on if he didn't make it.

Please advise.

Thanks,
K
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Old 09-21-2012, 10:01 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
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It's just the renamed "GT" classes. If your child scored highly on the test, they would be eligible to attend a "center" school, and be in a class of all AAP level IV students. If your child scored in the next tier, they'd be eligible for GT services through their home school as a pull out program.

The level 3 becomes "Honors" in middle school (which is now open enrollment, so anyone can take honors classes regardless of prior recommendations), and it all comes out in the wash by high school when everyone is again eligible to take the same AP or IB courses if they so desire.
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Old 09-21-2012, 10:10 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliTerp07 View Post
It's just the renamed "GT" classes..The level 3 becomes "Honors" in middle school (which is now open enrollment, so anyone can take honors classes regardless of prior recommendations), and it all comes out in the wash by high school when everyone is again eligible to take the same AP or IB courses if they so desire.
^ Agreed. Here's a tip - don't get too focused on such things, esp. in FFX county. Such programs may provide some value in separating students when there are great numbers at each end of the bell curve, but for most it's of dubious value, save for parents to boast of at the next party....

(full disclosure - one of mine went full GT/honors/multiple APs, did OK in college. Other one did the bare minimum, graduated *** laude in Engineering. Go figure)
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Old 09-21-2012, 10:24 AM
 
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Here are the FAQs on AAP from the FCPS web site:

Advanced Academic Programs

Maybe you've seen them already.

Some people care about AAP a lot; others do not. Within FCPS and Virginia, kids who have been in AAP stand a better chance of eventually getting into TJ, the county's magnet school, as well as places like U.Va. Of course, there are plenty of other schools out there.
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Old 09-21-2012, 10:44 AM
 
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Thanks for the replies.

The reason I asked was because it seemed like these parents absolutely wanted their kids to get into this AA program as if not getting in would be blasphemy, and getting in would ensure success throughout the rest of their academic life! My wife and I are a little laid back (basically, not overly competitive), and want our son to succeed but not lose sleep over getting or not getting into the AA program. FCPS is anyways one of the best in the country so I wanted to find out the "real value" of an AA program in terms of helping him expand his learning and knowledge, and challenging his mental ability.
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Old 09-21-2012, 11:08 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 9,554,769 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kutra11 View Post
Thanks for the replies.

The reason I asked was because it seemed like these parents absolutely wanted their kids to get into this AA program as if not getting in would be blasphemy, and getting in would ensure success throughout the rest of their academic life! My wife and I are a little laid back (basically, not overly competitive), and want our son to succeed but not lose sleep over getting or not getting into the AA program. FCPS is anyways one of the best in the country so I wanted to find out the "real value" of an AA program in terms of helping him expand his learning and knowledge, and challenging his mental ability.
If you feel he is sufficiently challenged in his base school in a traditional classroom, then I wouldn't worry about it. If he scores highly or his teachers recommend him for the AAP program, great. If not, with strong parental support at home, he'll be just fine even if, *gasp*, he doesn't get in

I don't know what it looks like at an elementary level. I teach middle school algebra, some honors some regular, and honestly, only about half the students in honors are really thinking at an honors level. It forces me to "dumb down" the honors curriculum or risk upsetting dozens of parents when their child brings home C's. The true value of the honors courseload is therefore reduced. I do push them (and end up losing a lot of those 'not-quite-honors' kids in the process), but I can't push them as far as I'd like to. I'd say 80% of my honors/regular classes is the same exact material/activities/worksheets, and the extra 20% is extensions and cool discussions and really stretching their brains.
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Old 09-21-2012, 12:58 PM
 
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Kutra, you are right to question the other parents' obsession over getting their kids into the AAP. IMHO, it should be viewed less as an achievement and more as a program to help children whose learning needs would not be optimally met in the regular classroom.

It is a wonderful program (and I have a child in it), but is designed more to meet children's different learning needs rather than as a measure or reflection of individual worth or likelihood of future success in life.

If your child would learn best in this type of classroom, the screening process will likely identify him. If he would not, he will get an equally good education in the regular classroom. It is certainly nothing he should study for, prepare for, worry about, or even know much about. We moved here after the 2d grade screening, so our admission procedure was a bit different, but I simply told my child it was a way of the school's deciding in which classroom she would learn best.
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Old 09-21-2012, 02:57 PM
 
Location: Virginia
8,106 posts, read 12,646,226 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kutra11 View Post
Thanks for the replies.

The reason I asked was because it seemed like these parents absolutely wanted their kids to get into this AA program as if not getting in would be blasphemy, and getting in would ensure success throughout the rest of their academic life! My wife and I are a little laid back (basically, not overly competitive), and want our son to succeed but not lose sleep over getting or not getting into the AA program. FCPS is anyways one of the best in the country so I wanted to find out the "real value" of an AA program in terms of helping him expand his learning and knowledge, and challenging his mental ability.
Stick with this ^
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Old 09-21-2012, 03:00 PM
 
Location: Virginia
8,106 posts, read 12,646,226 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliTerp07 View Post
If you feel he is sufficiently challenged in his base school in a traditional classroom, then I wouldn't worry about it. If he scores highly or his teachers recommend him for the AAP program, great. If not, with strong parental support at home, he'll be just fine even if, *gasp*, he doesn't get in
Agreed. Plus, as elementary teachers, we should be enriching and remediating the students in out class whether or not they have IEPs, 504s, AAP, etc. That's the route the county has been going and long gone (or at least they should be) are the days of the "one size fits all, everybody reads the same book classroom".
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Old 09-21-2012, 04:27 PM
 
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FWIW, our son's academic experience during his third grade year in a GT school was superb, in part because he had a young, enthusiastic teacher who pushed the kids without stressing them out. As the teacher told me during our conferences, they were able to zip through concepts much more quickly because everyone got it the first time. Unlike his friends back at the base school, the GT class largely ignored the whole SOL prep nonsense, which gave them more time for more in-depth project work.

We had other reasons for moving him back to the base school, and the guidance counselor there assured me that the teachers were on top of the "differentiated instruction" concept and could continue to challenge him. Not. He quickly figured out that doing the minimum was enough, and if the rest of the students weren't doing any enrichment work, he certainly wasn't going to ask for it. Most of his intellectual peers had moved to the GT center, so there simply weren't enough other kids in the class at his level. Which was OK for him, because he got to read a lot of books under his desk while the teacher was busy working with the kids with more average ability, and he had lots of free time at home to pursue his own interests, having complete his homework in class. He turned out not to be the kind of kid who really needed to be in the GT center. But if you have that kind of kid, the GT center or whatever they call it now will offer him a learning environment that simply cannot be replicated in his base school.
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