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Old 12-18-2009, 11:04 AM
Location: Land of debt and Corruption
7,544 posts, read 7,856,889 times
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I noticed that NC mandates (and funds to the tune of $50 mill/year) gifted education programs in its public schools which is just awesome. I'm just wondering how it actually plays out in this schools and classrooms and what parents' and students' experiences with it has been. On paper, it looks great via the union county public school website.

Not that either of my two kids are geniuses, but they both score over 90th percentile on all standardized testing and often >95-99th %ile and currently benefit from our differentiated and gifted education curriculum here in Illinois. There is a lot of room for improvement here though. Illinois mandates it, but doesn't really back up the mandate with much funding.

We are considering a possible move to UC either this summer or next, and I'd love to hear from those of you with personal experience (both good and bad) with regards to the gifted ed options in UC. I'm not a big fan of magnet schools because of the lottery system and distances between the schools and homes, which is why we would consider UC over Meck. It doesn't appear that UC has or utilizes magnet schools for its gifted ed programs, but that the programs are delivered in the home schools? Am I correct in this thinking??

By the way, my kids are 11 and 7 if that helps at all. Thanks in advance for any input on your experiences!
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Old 12-18-2009, 12:28 PM
Location: Union County, NC
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Two of my children (12 and 9 years old) are in the gifted program for math in Union County. My daughter is at Rea View and my son is at Marvin Ridge Middle. In general I have been very happy with the program. And yes, the program is done out of the individual schools.
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Old 12-18-2009, 01:04 PM
Location: Right where I want to be.
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I can only post our experience...which I attribute more to the overall lower standards of education in this country than the policies at any one school or district.

I'd advise any parent looking into the middle schools here to get their kids into the AIG program unless they require remedial level work.

The AIG classes are equivalent to what I was learning in middle school and we didn't have AIG. In some areas the standards are noticeably lower. The regular classes are equivalent to what would have been our remedial classes. Again, I don't think is because of the schools but because of the ever lowering standards overall...I'd expect to find similar in other schools as well. I expect most parents don't even notice...if the school has high scores they trust it instead of looking closer.

Both of our kids qualified for AIG in our top rated middle school, yet one was assigned to regular classes. It took phone calls to the district to get him assigned properly as the school would not do it otherwise. It seems our middle school has a habit of keeping kids in lower level courses even if they qualify for something higher. We were told by one teacher that it helps to keep the scores 'even' in the lower level classes. Parents need to be proactive and keep informed....the school is not there to do what is best for your child...you will have to do that for yourself.

There are only AIG classes for math and language arts. Once your child is in those classes they will 'travel' through the day with the same group of kids so it helps to raise the level in the other classes even though they aren't really AIG, all of the students will be.

I believe it to be the same in all of the middle schools....kids can take high school level courses for credit in 8th grade. DD started high school with 2 courses completed. Unfortunately her high school has also had to develop a LA course (required for all freshman) that is designed to teach everything that SHOULD have been taught in middle school LA. Otherwise the kids are not really ready for high school level courses. I don't know how the other high schools are bridging that gap but in our 'top rated' middle school she didn't have even one major written project in the 3 years of middle school. Oh, she had plenty of poster board projects and power point projects but not ONE written paper or report. I guess they are learning to write in high school now. *shrug*
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Old 12-18-2009, 01:17 PM
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My daughter in AIG is 11, she's in 6th grade, AIG math and reading. What was said about the AIG kids traveling together to the other classes is mostly true at her school...I do believe that half the class stays with her come Social Studies time, and the other half goes to Science, the other half class of kids who joins them may or may not be AIG students. As with everything else, a good teacher can make a good class, and a bad teacher could make a bad AIG experience. My daughter had a overall bad experience with AIG (and her regular teacher) in 4th grade, but 5th and now 6th have been good. The expectations are pretty high up there, especially for math, and parts of the AIG reading. I agree that there should be more focus on Writing, I think my daughter did more writing in 5th grade than she's even come close to this year, but maybe that will change.
Overall, this is a better program than she would have gotten where we lived in CT. It's provided to all qualified students in their home schools, no need for magnet schools. The "regular" classes seem pretty lax as was mentioned. My daughter has homework every night in both reading and math (math even every weekend), while her friend and our neighbor who is not in AIG says she "almost never" has reading homework. They do both have the same math teacher who seems to give out a lot of homework to both aig and non-aig students, but she sets higher expectations for the aig students, there is extra credit available, but what is required of the aig students is more than the others. This makes my daughter a but unhappy, but I keep telling her it will all benefit her in the future, as will all the latin word roots she hates learning in Reading.
Ok, enough rambling! If you have more specific questions I'd be happy to help.
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Old 12-18-2009, 01:40 PM
Location: Matthews, NC
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What is all this talk about gifting education? Education shouldn't be a gift, it is a right.
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Old 12-18-2009, 01:43 PM
Location: Land of debt and Corruption
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Thank you all for your replies! Very insightful. Did you have to request special testing to gain entrance into the AIG programs, or are all children screened via EOG/standardized testing? Also, at what grade levels do the AIG programs "kick in", so to speak?

Also, I noticed that UC uses the Singapore Math program. I'm not very familiar with it as our current school district uses the University of Chicago's Everyday Math program. How is Singapore Math? The Everyday Math program is VERY different from how I was taught mathematics in gradeschool, and I'm worried that transitioning from Everyday Math to a more "traditional" math program (assuming Singapore Math is more traditional) might be difficult. Has anyone's child transitioned from a non-traditional math program to Singapore math, and if so, how was the overall transition for your child? Are the teachers well equipped and motivated to help students transplanted from other geographical areas that are used to different curriculums?

Sorry for all the questions, but I figure you all are the best resource!
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Old 12-18-2009, 02:16 PM
Location: midwest transplant
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My son was in AIG before we moved to Meck.

IT WAS WONDERFUL-- we loved it and it was VERY challenging.
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Old 12-18-2009, 02:40 PM
Location: Union County, NC
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Several of your questions can be answered here:
Resources for Parents

In short, our experiences with AIG have been hit or miss. Frankly, that's kind of par for the course though regardless of district.

Welcome to Union County!
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:49 PM
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My daughter began in the AIG program when we moved here for her 4th grade year. The summer prior, I called and requested that she be considered. They do screen all children in 3rd grade, and do another round in 4th. They may do yet another round in 5th but I don't know for sure. The criteria for AIG in Union County basically requires a combination of aptitude (IQ) score and academic achievement. The student can qualify for AIG in reading, math, or both. You can also obtain this testing privately if needed. One aspect that I have really appreciated about the AIG program is that the students do not miss any classroom instruction to participate in AIG. The schedule is structured so that they attend AIG Reading while their regular class is in reading; same for math. Singapore Math is phenomenal. It is definitely NOT traditional math (like Saxon math which I appreciated in the younger grades in another state), but really focuses on problem solving using model drawings. The students are essentially conceptualiing algebra problems with the models. My daughter often comes home with challenging problems that I can figure out with algebra equations but she solves with these models. The math curriculum is rounded out with a variety of other areas so that the students still get what they need for EOGs etc. AIG reading has also been great. My daughter has had great vocabulary lessons using Wordly Wise and latin root words, novel reading, and is writing extensively. Her ability to analyze what she reads has grown tremendously. Let me know if you have any other questions.
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Old 07-07-2010, 02:38 PM
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Sorry to pick the thread up now... just wondering:

We are moving in apx 1 yr. I have a daughter and son who have been in Target/ALP (gifted) since 1st grade. My daughter finished middle school last year. She has all AC classes (regular classes with "extra" work) and had advanced math (finished 9th grade in 8th, will start 10th in 9th). Son just starting Middle school. Neither child has next years "specific" schedule yet due to the budget situation in Georgia. Although Emma will be in honors history and advanced math and band.

My question is how this translates to North Carlolina Union schools. Will middle school students be in advanced math and "AC" type advanced classes?

We have not moved in 10years, so I am sorry for the confusion.

Thanks for any help,


Marvin Ridge cluster
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