I just returned from taking our oldest son to SFSU for his orientation. On this trip I had time to reflect on our journey through elementary, middle and high school together and I thought of some things I’d like to share with the group.
Both of our boys went through Balboa Gifted Magnet ES, which at the time had API scores in the high 990’s. I chose Balboa specifically because I wanted our boys to be in an environment with other gifted children. I learned that the teachers were, for the most part, exceptional educators, some of them having certificates in gifted education (which I would recommend looking for). In the 7 years that we were at Balboa I learned alot about special education, how the school district’s special education system works, or doesn’t work for our 2E boys and I learned how to fight for them and for their education. It was very difficult and I know that some parents would rather move their kids than fight like I had to. But, in retrospect, I think I would do it all again.
Our oldest has been able to keep most of his friends from the gifted ES. Some of them were scattered for middle school and then reunited at the high school level. But he has also remained friends with the kids who went to different high schools because they had common friends and common interests. These are the friends he will have known for most of his 18 year lifespan.
I’m very proud of our DS1 and his many accomplishments in Science, Math and Music. English was not his strong subject, but he struggled and passed his classes. Yes, he had an IEP, which he hated because of the “stigma” he perceived. But without it he would not have made as much progress, and may have had to repeat some classes. I don’t know where the alternative path would have taken him, but I did what I thought was best for him, and he is now going on to college and moving out on his own (to campus). I could have some regrets but I’m proud of myself for what I have learned and accomplished in advocating for him and for our younger son, as well. (He has two more years of high school). I’m excited and looking forward to starting a NEW CHAPTER in our lives as DS1 moves on and spreads his wings.
In summary, I would recommend taking up the fight for the best education you can find for your child, what ever the path may be. Get the best schools and the best teachers you can find and fight for the services and supports that your child needs to have. They have as much right to the best schools and the best teachers as any other students. And they have us to stick up for them and fight for them. And we have each other for resources and support. Best wishes! 🙂 Marcie