As a teacher and principal I was often asked by parents how they would know whether the current school choice was the right “fit” for their child. Or, they would share with me that they knew the current school was not the right fit and, because I knew their child and their family so well, they would ask for my thoughts on the new school they were considering.
I have many such stories, but one stands out for me today.
Although I haven’t seen her for a number of years now, I know she is a beautiful little girl. She is full of cheer, has a smile as big as her sense of humor and her heart, and is artistic by nature. At the time I knew her – at age 8 – she skipped almost everywhere she went. She tried desperately to make friends but without much luck, mainly because she didn’t quite know how. She was twice exceptional – testing “gifted” in the areas of Non-Verbal (sometimes broadly referred to as spatial sense) and Quantitative (math problem solving), and she had a diagnosis for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). She resorted to assertiveness to solve her problems on the playground, often misinterpreted as “bullying”, as she practiced over and over again to stand up for herself to no avail. She was skilled at intellectual manipulation as many gifted children are, and she put on a thick skin against rebuff. But she was breaking inside.
Parents of classmates didn’t understand her challenges, and were unforgiving. They encouraged their children to avoid her, and they avoided and rebuffed her mother. Her mother came to me in tears, at wits end to know what to do. Having walked this path with her family through trials and tribulations, and knowing we had tried every tool in the kit, I counseled her out of our school and into another school close by. One where her needs could be met every day, and one where she could have a fresh start with classmates. Her mother knew that there was work to do on their end as well to make this move successful, and she was willing to try. Within a reasonable amount of time, her daughter was succeeding academically and with behavior support, had made new friends and was happy in her new school.
I truly believe that every child has their gifts and every child has their challenges. Similarly, every school has its gifts and every school has its challenges. To find the right “fit” can make all the difference, for the child and the school, but especially for the child.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to share a comment on this post. All comments are screened and posted at the discretion of All Schools Considered to maintain a positive and safe environment for our readership. See you next month! ~ Elie
For more information on giftedness, there are many sources such as this: