Friday, September 26, 2008

It's Starting to Add Up

The other day I figured out exactly how many mpg my car gets: 31.6. Which is not bad. I'd originally estimated it at 32 based on the average miles I drove on a tank of gas and the fact that I have a 14 gallon tank. But on Wednesday, when I coasted into town on fumes, I completely filled the tank. The machine stopped at exactly 14 gallons. I looked at the odometer afterwards, before resetting it and noticed I'd gone 440 miles on one tank of gas. So, I did the math - long division, on paper, all by myself. I double-checked it on a calculator later and got 31.4 but, hey, I'm not a math whiz and there's the proof.

I've always loved numbers but because of a piss poor education, I've always done horribly in math. And its one of the reasons I want Dusty to do well in it. She doesn't have a super math whiz gene (few in our family do) but I want her set on the right track now. I don't want to her derail like I did.

Which is why I'm happy she's where she is. The school system instituted full-time gifted and talented teachers in EVERY school over the summer. We met Dusty's new G&T teacher this week and I am very pleased.

The teacher, Mrs. G, has been teaching at the school for a number of years so the environment, and many of the students, are familiar to her. She outlined how the G&T thing will work this year. Last year, Dusty worked with two part-time G&T teachers - both of them brilliant and capable but doing an impossible task. The two of them taught at four or five different schools on different days. I don't know how they pulled it off, but they did.

This year should be even better. Mrs. G explained that they have clustered the G&T students into certain classrooms. Which explains why Dusty is still with her BFF and her partner of the last two years, Nathan. All G&T kids. This cuts down on Mrs. G's workload because she doesn't have to be in every single classroom every week. But she does do that on occasion, especially when a teacher in a non-G&T cluster room discovers a possible G&T candidate.

Mrs. G and the classroom teacher co-plan their lessons and co-teach them. There are no pull-outs at this level. They co-teach and then break the classroom into groups for small group work. Mrs. G gets the G&T group, Mrs. J gets the other students.

Best of all, Mrs. G teaches an accelerated math class for 5th graders. It's a pull-out class and she's a math person so I feel really good that Dusty's in good hands. In all aspects.

Not only that, but Dusty will soon get Spanish lessons. Students at the closest high school have started a Spanish Club that will meet at Dusty's school on Monday afternoons. While the county continues to "consider" foreign language classes in the elementary schools, Dusty will get a change to learn a second language. She'll get a tiny step up.

At this point, I have zero complaints. Dusty's in very good hands.

I also learned - through Mrs. G - about the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. I'm considering signing Dusty up for the next testing date (which is in Feb or March). If she passes the test, which is given locally, she would qualify for a number of educational opportunities, classes, etc. that she wouldn't have access to otherwise. She won't run quite so far if she's not wearing the right shoes. I want to give her those shoes.

Meanwhile, I'm going to go back and check my long division work. While 31.6 is close, it's not 31.4. Maybe Dusty'll be able to point out my mistakes soon. At least, that's what I'm hoping. I only had kids so they could help me with my homework.


Jill in Atlanta said...

Ok, I can't complain. Georgia is always grateful to Alabama and Mississippi so it doesn't have to be in last place educationally, but in this case we're ahead. Every elem. has a G&T teacher- this year we have two plus Pook's 2nd grade teacher is certified G&T. They start Spanish at the PreK level and musical instruments at 4th grade. All that and the kids still get exercise twice a day.

But my car (a VW Passat) only gets 19 mpg and Atlanta is almost out of gas right now. Long lines and closed stations everywhere.

FreshHell said...

Jill - I have a VW Passat, too! I envy your school system, though. Dusty's school has musical instruments in the upper grades but I wished they started earlier. I guess you can't have everything.

Maritza said...

When I was a kid I was able to take a summer writing class sponsored by the Johns Hopkins people. It was a great opportunity and I made a friend there who is still a close friend to this day, almost 30 years later. So if it's doable, I would go for it. (Some programs they offered were too far away or too expensive, so I didn't do more than the one class through them.)