Today was the day.
The day of test results.
Noooo! Not the Pee On a Stick kind (The things you can find on the internet!)! The Caitlin Testing kind!
So we had the sit down with the principal, the special testing teacher and Caitlin's teacher. Oh, fun times, indeed! Not knowing what to expect, I felt I needed to prepare for a battle. As I applied makeup I thought: War Paint. I checked in with Kate. We armed ourselves with pencil and pad of paper for note taking. Eric suggested that I not start off in an adversarial manner. What?! Me? After our fabulous start down this road?
Well...OK. Maybe. Just a wee bit.
Then they took the wind right out of my sails by saying the things I actually expected to hear: she tested very well on the non-verbal Naglieri and Raven tests, but when it got to the CogAT, she was easily distracted and didn't want to work. They felt that she would have done better if she could have focused more on the work, but that they are certain if she were to test on it again in a year that her scores on that part will be much higher.
Apparently you have to make the 95% in order to be considered Talented and Gifted in Colorado. Caitlin is brilliant for a kindergartener.
Oh, but wait! She would have been considered TAG if she'd taken that test as a 2nd grader. Ooooh!
"Well, DUH! I'm soooo surprised!" you say sarcastically to the computer monitor. Patience, Grasshopper! We had to wait for the school to sign off on it officially.
Now we come up with goals as a family and with her teacher. We have a look over the district website for cool things we can do to stretch her mind and we walk that fine line between pushing and slacking and advocating for our child.
For the fretful among you, think about this: if she were talented physically (gymnastics, swimming, etc.) or musically (piano, singing, etc.) would you want us to bench her until her peers caught up with her or would you want her to put those talents to use and to keep her learning new things? Because that's the way that I translate the fretting I get from people when we start talking about TAG stuff. Everyone is concerned that parents of TAG kids are pushing them too hard and that they won't give the kid a chance to just "be a kid". That we won't pay attention to her socialization. That there is a dread fear that we're flash carding her personality out of existence.
Trust me. Trust us as parents. Trust in Caitlin.
Besides, flash cards? That's work!
She's a small sponge and we're working to fill her with knowledge that she wants. Being smart is something to be proud of, not fearful of. This is not a competition. No one has to worry that someone else in the world loses out because Caitlin has been labeled TAG.
We want to keep her happy and not bored and disruptive in class. We want her to enjoy school. She's going to be in it for the next 16 years, at least! This assumes she doesn't skip grades, either. As for skipping grades? Who knows! We'll find out when we get there. We're not planning on over scheduling her but we will sign her up for fun classes - we're thinking music lessons, voice lessons and/or sports. She's got a lot of talent and needs some extra-curriculars to direct that talent.
The school doesn't have a "pull out" program: where they take the TAG to special classes. They don't have a dedicated TAG teacher. They have Individual Learning Plans for each child - a compromise between the lack of funding the schools receive and the need to teach everyone a little differently. So we're going to have to be right in there, slinging learning opportunities around.
And so we will.
Wish us luck!