I looked up the definition for conundrum and one of the meanings was for anything that puzzles. We definitely have a conundrum to figure out over the next couple of weeks.
My daughter was accepted into a gifted magnet school. It's really well-regarded, but has a reputation of not being the best place for kids that are on the spectrum. We don't know the degree of truth. It's possible that while some kids may not fare well at this school, my daughter would thrive. Who knows?
So, over the next couple of weeks, we have to sort out where my daughter best belongs. We have a meeting with the gifted magnet school officials to show samples of my daughter's work and discuss her strengths and her issues to see if this school would be a good fit. We're going to try and visit a class at the school too. In addition, we're visiting classes at her current school.
Why move to the magnet? It's a really well-regarded school that addresses the educational needs for kids that are gifted or high-achieving. Also, our daughter tends to socialize better with other smart kids. It's like she has something in common with them. Also, she will have more options open to her down the road for middle school such as other gifted magnets that she may not be able to go to if she stays at her current school. We all know how awful those middle school years can be, so having options is a really good thing!
Why keep my daughter at her current school then? It's a good school that has good teachers that have served my daughter well over the last two years. My daughter has done a great job with socializing and making lots of friends. Also, the administrators and teachers seem to adore my daughter and are invested in trying to keep her at her current school. The gifted program coordinator, who is also a fifth grade teacher, had a long discussion with my daughter's current teacher about her. They were at a ballgame together, and she said the discussion lasted six innings of the game!
Based on this discussion, she met with the principal of the school and used my daughter as an example of a great kid they might be losing unless they change the way they teach gifted kids. Based on this discussion, they're going to start a gifted program in second grade instead of starting in third. Also, they're going to have separate gifted classes instead of small clusters among all the classes.
While these changes are great, they still don't address the middle school issue. They do make it harder for me to pull my daughter out of a school where she is obviously loved.
I remember how scary it was when my daughter started elementary school. I wasn't sure how she would handle herself in a classroom. I was worried that teachers would hate getting her assigned to their classroom. These fears were totally unfounded. She's come such a long way since her autism diagnosis! And while I'll have the same worries if she transfers to the gifted magnet (Can she handle the increased academics? Can she handle the added pressures? Will the teachers and administrators tell us she doesn't belong there? Will she make friends?), I also have to have the belief that she'll come out just fine.
She always has, so why should I expect anything different?
It's a conundrum!