Each year in February I write about Wisconsin’s Open Enrollment program. This is when parents may apply to have their children attend a school in a district outside of the one in which they live. Open Enrollment has a defined time period, specific deadlines and application requirements that must be met so it is important for parents to make decisions in order to meet these requirements. The 2019 Open Enrollment period is February 4-April 30, 2019.
What does Open Enrollment have to do with gifted students? For many parents, it has made the difference in obtaining an appropriate education for their student. There are many choices for open enrollment including a classroom in a nearby public school in another district, a charter school in another district, or a virtual school based in another district. Parents have found much success for their gifted students in each of these educational options, it just depends upon what you are looking for in a school.
I highly recommend that you review the DPI website on Open Enrollment to learn more. There is a brochure, other information, and contact information. Talk to other parents who use open enrollment. With your student visit schools you may wish to consider for open enrollment and attend the open house events they offer. With your student talk to teachers, parents, and students in the school(s) that you are considering. Let your student have input into the decision. The open enrollment decision is much like doing a college search. Oftentimes the gifted student will “know” when a particular school or program feels right, but you still need to do your homework and research the school or program.
If you wish to investigate this path and do not know where to start, begin with the DPI websites and brochure, and feel free to contact me. I may be able to put you in contact with parents who have chosen this educational option.
DPI Public School Open Enrollment
DPI Open Enrollment Resources and Links
DPI Open Enrollment and Special Education
Virtual Charter Schools
List of Wisconsin Virtual Charter Schools
New beginnings. That is how many people view the beginning of a new month and a new year. Others view it even more deeply and relish the new beginning each and every morning.
Perhaps this is the view that educators, students, and parents should take when looking at the remaining school year. Some see where we are now, in January, as being half-way through a school year. Others see it as the start of a new semester. Some parents of gifted children whom I have worked with prefer to see January as a time for reset and adjustment, so the rest of the school year is manageable and/or more positive for their gifted student.
Just because the first part of the school year may have had obstacles for gifted students does not mean that the rest of the school year has to be a repeat. Have you or the student learned anything from the obstacles? As a teacher, do you better understand the needs of a gifted student, even if it is one small characteristic? As a student, do you better understand your own needs in the classroom, and are you better able to self-advocate to show your teachers how they can help you? As a parent, do you better understand the parameters in which teachers must work so they reach all students, including your gifted student, and are better able to pinpoint one way to help them do that?
If the first part of the school year was positive and your gifted student is having a “good” year, acknowledge that (out loud to the teacher/school staff), make note of why you consider it a “good” year, and consider how to help ensure the rest of the year is just as positive. As a teacher, can you identify what you are doing to positively impact gifted students? It is worth noting and reflecting upon, so you may continue to improve your craft of teaching, because generally what benefits some students also benefits other students, albeit perhaps in different ways. As a gifted student, think about what has made the first part of the school year a positive learning experience and talk with your teachers so they know what is working and what is not. Often, teachers need to learn from students about what is working and how to better meet student needs.
All of us might have a more helpful mindset if we thought about the pleasant minutes from the day and how to have more of them tomorrow.
Here are some websites with tips for second semester.
Second Semester Self-Care Tips for Teachers
10 Ways to Help Your Child Succeed in Elementary School
10 Ways to Help Your Child Succeed in Middle School
10 Ways to Help Your Teen Succeed in High School
Starting Second Semester Off Right: Tips for a Successful Spring Term (In High School)
New Semester Tips for Parents and Students of Virtual Schools
School Attendance Matters
This resource is helpful for parents, students, and teachers. It highlights the statistics about school attendance and how important it is for students.
Ask the Doctor