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A request for anyone familiar with Loudoun and Fairfax counties' public schools - A Suburbs Boy Living a Country Life [Pete and Pam's pages (photos and some commentary)] [Pam's journal] [Our company] [My Flickr Photos] [Arisia]
January 6th, 2006
08:40 am

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A request for anyone familiar with Loudoun and Fairfax counties' public schools
Compare and contrast: Magnet school and "gifted and talented" programs and services available at the elementary level in both counties for students who will be in 1st grade in the 2006-2007 school year.

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From:dcseain
Date:January 6th, 2006 02:17 pm (UTC)
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I did my K-8 in Prince William County, then went to TJ. In Prince William, i was in the GT program, which meant special activities in grades 1-3, then a Tuesdays-only center program in grades 4-8. (The Tuesdays-only thing held true for 9-12 also in the part of the county i was in.)

When i got to TJ, i met a slew of students who went exclusively through Fairfax County's Magnet School program. No offense intended, but i found those students with an undue sense of entitlement, and out of touch with a lot of reality. They were well-educated, certainly, but lived in such a vacuum many of them that they were clueless about the greater society.

As a result of my experiences, i am all in favour of the GT programs available at the local school.
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From:eeedge
Date:January 6th, 2006 03:14 pm (UTC)
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As a product of the Fairfax County Magnet School program, I have to agree. I had a thoroughly ivory tower experience, leading to some seriously unpleasant experiences in 7th and 8th grades. I was yanked away from my friends in 2nd grade to join the "elite."

However, my daughter is currently in a one-day-a-week program while remaining in her regular class. Granted, it's in Georgia, but I suspect they work in a similar fashion. She spends 4/5 of her time in school acting as a co-teacher or tutor. The child is testing in reading 10 grades over her actual grade, and is bored to death. Only her good nature is keeping her excited about anything about school.

I don't want her skipping grades, either, because she is very definitely 7 years old. She is not especially mature, and where she is right now, she is very popular. Move her up a three grades and she'll be an aberration.

I don't know if I think there is a good answer out there. I'd love to see a system developed where students were allowed to move forward in areas they were strong in and not in other areas. A pseudo-Montessori approach, I suppose.

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From:dcseain
Date:January 6th, 2006 03:20 pm (UTC)
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My experience was very much like your daughter's. Happily, i was given free reign for independent study, and attended a bilingual school.

I also attend what at the time were referred to as the "East County Handicapped Centeres". This meant that any child with a physical and/or mental disabillity who was capable of attending music and/or art and/or gym with other students went to the schools i did for 1-8.

That exposed me to a lot of different kinds of people, and i think i'm better for it. Spending middle school defending Kelly Kalles from the rest of the school in gym class was no fun, especially since she had a crush on me, but she's a person too, and deserves respect. Kelly is developmentally delayed. I think she, best case, matured to about 13 years mentally.
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From:folkmew
Date:January 6th, 2006 03:07 pm (UTC)
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As both a parent and a soon to be teacher I've become a big believer in heterogenous/multi-age groupings and the careful use of enrichment for "gifted" kids. So far (knock wood) my clearly "gifted" kid (who is definitely NOT gifted socially and needs a lot of support there) is doing well in such a setting. He sees an "enrichment" person once or twice a week to do special stuff and since he's in a K,1,2 group it means he can work more at his own level on things as needed.

Good luck!
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