Gifted Children K-6/Skipping a Grade

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Question
I am a 12 year old in sixth grade.  I have very good grades. (109% Language Arts, 97% Social Studies, 92% Science, and 98% Math.)  I am in 8th grade math, and had a 4.0 GPA last semester.  I have been in the TAG (Talented and Gifted) Program since third grade.  I have a limited group of friends, so I wouldn't mind leaving the few I have behind if it meant advancing my education.  I live in Oregon, if that's any help.  Can you tell me if I sound like I could skip a grade, and what I should do.

Answer
Dear Charlie,
I'm not sure if your school district allows grade skipping, so the first thing I suggest is for you and your parents to speak with these people in the order of this list.  As soon as you feel you have enough information and answers, you can quit:
1) Your teacher who may be able to answer your questions immediately.  If not,
2) The school's guidance counselor.
3) The principal
4) The superintendent or whatever title is the head person in the school district, or the person in that office in charge of the grades that count to you.

You didn't say what type of school you attend - is it an elementary, middle school, junior high, or what, and what type of school would you be scheduled to attend when school re-opens after the summer?  If it's got departmental classes - a different teacher for each of the major subjects, perhaps, just as you have moved 2 grades in math, you can move ahead in some other subjects as well.

If there's a program to do 7th, 8th, and 9th in 2 years, I recommend you take that option.  You could still keep your friends, make new ones, and be with a whole class of others who are ahead in learning.

What do the TAG people suggest?  I'm assuming that since you've been with that program for years, you and your parents have already spoken with them.

The other side of skipping is the social issue.  If your whole class skips, at least there will be friends from that class.  The years from 14-18 are really hard for a person to be a year younger than the others in the grade.  You will not be able to drive, drink, and generally socialize with the kids in your grade until a year later than the rest of your peers, and you will enter puberty later. Sometimes, especially in early to mid high school, kids of those ages can be extremely cruel.  If you are shorter or slimmer than many, and you are the only one of your age (or there are only a few of your age) in that group, you can be subjected to teasing and/or worse. Of course, if you are a major sports jock, forget some of what I just said, because kids tend to overlook some things for the guy who wins the games for the school.  

That having been said, the social factor is not easy to overlook, since parties and dating aspects are important phases of growing into adulthood.  School is 1/3 of the equation of becoming an adult - the other 2/3s are friends and family.  If 2 of the 3 are good, a person can usually withstand the other being difficult.  But if 2 of them are difficult, it's a really hard situation.  

I don't know the other factors of your life and I suggest you discuss this idea with the adults in your life and together make a balanced decision, depending on your options.

I hope these suggestions are helpful to you. If so, please leave good feedback for me.  If you get information and need some more help, please feel free to follow up with me.
Wishing you well,
E

Gifted Children K-6

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Ellen Jaffe

Expertise

I can answer questions about gifted children in nearly any setting, at home, at school, in social settings. My main expertise is early childhood, and I can also answer questions throughout elementary school.

Experience

I teach child development on the university level - undergrad and graduate. I am a parent of four gifted children who have all earned college degrees, although not all being used at this time. My children have all either been in classes for the gifted and/or been in special programs for the gifted, including special high schools.

Education/Credentials
MS.Ed. City University of NY

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