During the summer, I ask that your child send me a letter introducing himself or herself to me. I will use the letters to learn more about him/her and to obtain an initial sample of your child’s writing ability. I am not judging the student based on the content of his letter as the right or wrong way to feel about something. I want to get to know the students before the year begins. Therefore, please remind him or her to write and mail the letter, making sure enough information is provided, but please do not edit the letter.
The letter should include basic information about the student including, but not limited to, the following:
a. hobbies and interests
b. feelings about being gifted and being placed in Challenge
c. interesting past experiences
d. what the student likes or doesn’t like about school
e. what matters to the student
f. what the student does for fun
g. a students favorite books or authors
h. what the student considers his or her greatest strengths and weaknesses as a student and person
i. anything else the student would like to tell me
No letter grade will be given for this communication. Students will, however, receive points for completing this assignment. In addition, if parents would like to include their own introductory letter with information about their child, that would be helpful to me, but is not required.
Please note that the summer mail isn’t distributed on a regular basis, so it may take a while for me to actually obtain the letters.
I have tried to provide you with a list of most of what your student will need for the whole year since stores have school supplies at discounted prices in August. We will not use all of these supplies daily, but these are things your student will need throughout the school year. These supplies are for all three years.
four three-subject notebooks or larger for a year of Challenge
several pieces of poster board (may get now or as needed for projects)
a dictionary and thesaurus (highly recommended for home use, but not required)
a heavy duty three inch binder with side prongs so it lays flat when opened to be
kept at school for autobiography (writing portfolio for all three years)
page protectors (optional, but highly recommended to keep pages of
pieces of unused craft items for possible use for projects. Items that are to be thrown away are often useful for this, such as last bits of fabric or string, cardboard, and the like.
Students in the Challenge class earn a single letter grade that is reported in both the reading and language arts areas of the quarterly report card. This grade is based on the projects, quizzes, tests, and daily work completed in class much like any other middle school course.
The middle school years, as a transition to high school, permit students to learn about themselves and their capabilities without the added stress of maintaining a high grade point average. Gifted students quickly learned they could easily earn high grades in elementary school with minimal effort. The curriculum there is not designed explicitly for high achieving students. Sometimes these students become uncomfortable when they are exposed to a curriculum that challenges them. At first, it is daunting to suddenly be in a class with other just as motivated and talented students. They may begin to doubt their abilities. As these students gain the skills necessary to learn new materials, they gain self-esteem and a new sense of accomplishment. Likewise, students may not always achieve an A in Challenge. It is a rigorous course in which some students adapt faster than others. Ultimately, the students experience success. However, the time between the uneasiness and the new accomplishments can be strange for the student, parents, teachers, and other adults in the students’ lives. During this time, the student needs encouragement and validation that he or she can achieve the objectives. Good communication between the parent, the student, and the teacher is critical. The work ethic learned through setting and achieving challenging goals will allow the student to rise to the future demands of high school and even college.
INTERVENTION ASSISTANCE TEAM PROCESS The Intervention Assistance Team (IAT) process is a method used to monitor and assist students not achieving at their level of ability. Gifted students performing right on grade level may actually be performing below their potential ability. Teachers need to monitor student performance to determine if students are working to their full potential and initiate intervention assistance when a gap is determined.
While gifted students have great potential for academic success, instances occur when children struggle to perform at their expected level of achievement. Even a student performing above grade level may not be meeting his or her full potential due to curricular, behavioral, or affective issues. In these circumstances, teachers and parents should follow Southwest Licking Local School District’s current IAT process before considering withdrawal from services.
Open communication between parents and the teacher early in the year can often avoid misunderstandings. The parent should raise any concerns about their child’s performance directly with the appropriate teacher(s). Also, teachers who have a concern about the child’s classroom performance will contact the student’s parents. If a student, parent, or teacher concern arises, a conference will occur first with the teacher, parent(s), and student (if appropriate). At that conference, the parties will attempt to create a plan to solve the concern. Interventions might include increased parent and teacher contact, creation of a discipline contract, the student keeping a record of assignments and getting parent and teacher signature daily, referral to the school counselor or psychologist, or other interventions agreed to by the meeting participants. If the concern is not resolved to the satisfaction of all, the issue will be forwarded to the IAT for further assistance in accordance with district policies.