Parenting & Family

Gifted school in York Region

  • Last Updated:
  • May 25th, 2018 9:43 pm
Member
Dec 12, 2005
365 posts
16 upvotes
Richmond
By any chance are you familiar with the Hoagies’ Gifted Discussion Group on Facebook? There are are number of members there from Ontario.
Newbie
Oct 5, 2013
8 posts
1 upvote
Richmond Hill
My daughter is currently attending PACE as well. She does very good at the school. The disadvantage about the school is before school and after school care are very short. No daycare before 8:00 am and got to be picked up by 5:00 pm Mon- Thurs and no daycare on Friday and need to be picked up by 3:45 pm. In regarding academic, you need to have a good sit still habits as there are a lot of homework daily. I like the class size small 20 students per class and get more attentions. There are new posts on" PACE the Academy for GIfted Children" reflagdeals , there is a parent just post a new information this month on page 4 that you might interest to know about the school more details.
Newbie
Jan 12, 2007
1 posts
2 upvotes
First, I have no personal experiences with the schools you mentioned, so I can't give you any information about those schools.
However, I have 2 children (grade 4 & 5) who are in gifted program in Toronto schools, and can offer you my personal experiences with my children.
I did not think my children were "gifted" before the school sent me a letter about the possibility and the need for further evaluations when they were in grade 3. However, I sent them to Montessori school for their JK and SK years. And I feel that has helped my children significantly. The curriculum at Montessori school progress according to each child's ability. So, my children were reading grade 3~4 level books, writing in cursive and doing multiplications when they finished SK. Also, they introduce responsibilities and socialization skills for my kids as this was the first school they had ever experienced.
Starting in grade 1, I sent them to public school (in good neighborhood), but for a couple of years, they found school work too easy. In grade 3, both my kids were identified as gifted and now go to a different school.
So, my advice is to consider Montessori school instead of gifted private schools. The school has both average and gifted children, but the teacher sets different pace for each child. Your child will be satisfied by challenging work and also socialize with mix of peers who are not all gifted like him, which I think is the true reflection of society.
Newbie
Jan 26, 2014
65 posts
8 upvotes
Toronto
I agree with a previous poster to encourage them to work hard. My brother was in gifted classes surrounded by other similar 'nerds' in high school and it was too easy for him, rarely doing homework and not developing homework habits. He told me he enjoyed the auto mechanics courses and the electronics /electrical courses but they were too basic. Hanging out with other 'nerds' with even more awkward social skills didn't improve his social skills. I think a mixed social setting with diverse challenging work customized to the individual is best.

University was a surprise because he actually had to spend time reading and doing homework to get good marks.

He and another of his gifted classmate bombed first year. They had to refocus, switch streams, and finish university.

Hardwork is an essential skill for the gifted
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Apr 8, 2007
1742 posts
132 upvotes
Mississauga
ghotie wrote:
Dec 12th, 2017 4:38 am
Hardwork is an essential skill for the gifted
1000000000% Both my sister and I went through the gifted programs throughout elementary and high school. Got fantastic marks, school was easy and we got to "expand our horizons" studying Shakespeare and binary math in elementary school. We both got our butts kicked in first year university (science and engineering) <- we didn't have the study skills required to keep up. We both graduated in our programs but it was a really hard lesson and really affected self-confidence.

My brother was a B+ student (and not gifted) his whole life -> deans honour list every year in University in Engineering.

Also +11111 for learning how to work with people and develop emotional/social skills. The most successful people I know are those who know how to clearly communicate ideas and influence other people. Being socially awkward but really "smart" just makes me happy in my basement lol.

My 5 year old appears to be quite bright....but I never tell her how smart she is. I always focus on the hard work and effort and trying to teach her to be resourceful to solve problems. Someone somewhere will always be smarter than you, so you can't rest your laurels on that. Hard work > intelligence.
Newbie
Jan 26, 2014
65 posts
8 upvotes
Toronto
I am wondering isn't 5 years a bit young to be tested for gifted unless the child has exceptional talents. My brother was sent for testing in grade 3 and mom didn't know was gifted was and didn't do anything until his grade 4 teacher pushed her again to send him to enroll. I think at such a young age its just them being a kid. That being said, the public school system gifted program isn't that great, better off sending them to private gifted school or university of Toronto school.
Newbie
May 27, 2013
1 posts
2 upvotes
Toronto
We have 2 Gifted kids, aged 13 and 9, at 98th and 99.9th percentile. I showed the "numbers" only because it may help as a reference, but in reality, having managed this for 7 years, real life is messier AND a full psycho-educational eval (that includes a customized battery of tests) will provide you with a better blueprint of how your child's brain works.

Having said that, at age 5/6, planning for perfection is futile, IMHO. The kid is developing (emotionally, socially, and cognitively) every minute.

A single test and a single FSIQ score means nothing until it is put in context. By that I mean - see how your child enjoys, behaves, and performs (in that order) in Grade 1. There is zero guarantee and you will only know from trying it.

Private vs Public. English vs FI. All within your reach. What I do suggest is to focus on tracking less on the Giftedness part and more on the Emotional well-being. Hopefully you can see if it is a right fit. At that age, switching is v simple.

Good luck!
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Dec 27, 2013
1858 posts
466 upvotes
Woodbridge
As someone who went through the gifted program in public schools (TDSB for 3-8, YRDSB for 9-10) and as a teacher who has taught grade 3/4 for a few years (though never the gifted program itself), I shared some thoughts here - december-kids-your-experience-jk-2162779/2/#p28836218
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Dec 27, 2013
1858 posts
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Woodbridge
ghotie wrote:
Dec 13th, 2017 1:19 pm
I am wondering isn't 5 years a bit young to be tested for gifted unless the child has exceptional talents. My brother was sent for testing in grade 3 and mom didn't know was gifted was and didn't do anything until his grade 4 teacher pushed her again to send him to enroll. I think at such a young age its just them being a kid. That being said, the public school system gifted program isn't that great, better off sending them to private gifted school or university of Toronto school.
Gifted screening in schools, and I would imagine at home with a private psychologist, takes part in two stages. The first stage is the Canadian Cognitive Abilities Test (CCAT). This is an academic test that assesses an individual's verbal (words), quantitative (nuimbers), and nonverbal (spatial/pics) abilities. It can be administered to students ranging from kindergarten to grade 12. You can read more about it here: https://cdn.testingmom.com/uploads/ccat ... ochure.pdf Students who reach a certain threshold on the test, which is different from board to board, will be recommended for second stage gifted screening. This screening is a one-on-one session with a board educational psychologist who comes into the school and plays games, asks questions, solve puzzles etc. with the student. Based on that, the psychologist may or may not recommend a meeting with parents to discuss alternative programming moving forward, such as a full gifted program, a periodical visit to a gifted program (some students will spend one day per week in a gifted class), modifications and accommodations within their regular classroom, or continuing as is.

I'm curious - do you have anything to support the claim that public school gifted program isn't that great?
Newbie
Jul 22, 2013
18 posts
7 upvotes
Richmond Hill
Hello Everyone,
we have extensive experience with the education process and options for the gifted children in York Region so I'l just give a summary here. I can reply with more specifics for specific questions.

1. We have 2 sons and both were eventually tested privately as gifted in 98-99% range.
2. Older child was attending public schools (Westminster for SK and the French Immersion at L.H. Frechette until grade 3). Disastrous results and frequent discipline problems.
3. At the end of grade 2 we requested school (Frechette) to do a psychological evaluation due to behavioral problems. He was placed in t he queue but they never did that (wait for psychological evaluation in public schools could take years despite all the billions spent by province on special education funding) so we went for private testing where child scored ~98-99% (there's multiple categories in IQ test and for York Region Board (YRDSB) you must score at 98% in at least one).
4. We have requested Gifted identification and IEP but found out the hard way that YRDSB has a rule where they don't accept private testing until child is at grade 3!
5. Wrote to their central education office, Director of Education, trustee, etc. After some fights they agreed to test him themselves, which they did promptly when child started Grade 3 and he did score ~98%. So the child got identified but remained in the class for the length of Grade 3 because all their programs start at Grade 4. Interestingly, the child failed their gifted screening test which they give to everyone in grade 3 (!!); this attests to the fact that IQ testing in kids is not reliable (so if you don't pass once, it won't hurt to try again next year).
6. That IEP made absolutely no difference. Child was still bored to death in regular class, was acting out etc.
7. For Grade 4, we have been thinking about 2 options - PACE or separate Gifted class in Glen Shields. PACE accepts students based on either School Board identification or private test, which as far as I know must be in 95% range, not 98%. PACE also requires a trial day at school where they weed out kids with behavioral problems (our son barely passed that).
8. At the end, decided to go to PACE. That was the best $$ we spent on kids. Within half a year child became interested, engaged, his grades improved (with a program that's 2 years ahead of Ontario Curriculum) and behavior problems disappeared.
9. So, gifted kids definitely need that separate option, you can't have them in the same classroom as regular kids. Regarding public gifted class of private school, I can't really say what's better so decide for yourself. I heard from other gifted parents that public gifted program had a similar effect. For private options, there's truly nothing except PACE because all other private schools in York Region basically admit everyone who can pay tuition. Only PACE selects students. I heard also from parents whose kids attend other private schools and who are looking for additional after-school math programs as math at their schools is not strong enough. Most private schools here focus on fringes like food/daycare/sports/etc, not on academics. PACE does focus on academics at the expense of other things though (school building is old and dreary, no lunch, limited after school care, etc.).
10. PACE admits children at grade 1 (1 class, 20 kids) and grade 4 (they create another class). Tuition + fees are currently around $15K/year.
11. Our younger son attended Westminster for JK/SK and Prestige School (Richmond Hill campus) for gr 1-3.
12. For Prestige school, results are really mixed. It's not a gifted program for sure, they basically use Ontario Curriculum accelerated by 1 year with some additional materials. PACE has a unique program which does not even compare to Ontario Curriculum in any way (roughly 2 years ahead but it's of such depth and breadth you can't really compare).
13. The main benefits of Prestige School are, reasonable tuition (10K), included lunch and aftercare, and SMALL CLASSES (in Richmond Hill only). It's fairly small school which will benefit some kids but not others. Small classes are certainly beneficial for gifted kids as teacher has enough time to teach a more individualized program. Still, quality of the program itself and quality of their teachers is not that great.
14. For grade 4, we decided our second son to go to PACE as well. We went with private testing which he passed so he'll go to grade 4 next year.
15. We are also planning to get him identified with the school board (the older son is). The benefits of this are that we will have an option for him of going to gifted program in public high school, or to fall back to public gifted program if we can't continue at PACE. This requires, for kids tested privately, to do additional "academic" testing with the psychologist, and getting the school board review the results. It's not clear if this is at all possible with the child not currently attending public school - so will see how that goes. Once the child is identified with the board, by law, he is eligible for gifted program at any grade level regardless of what he attends.
16. For high school, we are thinking about public one, specifically gifted track in Grades 9-10 followed by university/AP track in 11-12. PACE has high school option but it's questionable what the value is, as academic track will be the same as in all other Ontario high schools. UTS is whole different ball game, extremely hard to get to even for gifted kids, very expensive now and commute to Toronto will be a nightmare. Keep in mind that UTS admits to grade 7, so you must do the application and pass tests at GR 6! Still, we know that a lot of PACE kids try for UTS (our son is in Gr 6 now and many of his classmates are trying). We decided not to go for it.

So, overall we can recommend PACE as an excellent option for gifted kids. With all other private schools, be very careful about their claims to offer a gifted program and always research what you are getting for the $$$ (most private schools are not strong academically). If private is not an option for you, definitely go for public gifted program if eligible; your child will love it even if he is doing great at regular class. French Immersion for a gifted child is a waste of time. If your child does not pass screening at grade 3, you always have an option of testing privately and school board MUST accept the results (by law) if the child scores above 98% in any category.

NOTE 1: Private gifted testing currently costs about $600-$900 plus about $500-$1000 for academic part if your child passes the test (academic part is NOT needed for PACE, only for school board identification). Psychological services are not covered by OHIP but in many cases they are covered by employer's extended medical benefits and they are also tax deductible as medical expenses. You generally can go to any psychologist without a referral.

NOTE 2: Dealing with public educational bureaucracy can be very intimidating. The process of getting them to accept results of the private testing is arduous and time consuming. Remember that your child has a right by law for special education. Familiarize yourself with the process, keep copies of all documents, require all communications to be in writing, be assertive, don't hesitate to follow up with their superiors or your Trustee. There's nothing that greases the wheels of that bureaucracy better then a letter from Trustee or Board's Director.
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Dec 27, 2013
1858 posts
466 upvotes
Woodbridge
PavelS106 wrote:
Feb 19th, 2018 1:40 pm
NOTE 2: Dealing with public educational bureaucracy can be very intimidating. The process of getting them to accept results of the private testing is arduous and time consuming.
Thank you for sharing your experiences in such detail!

About the previous quote - I think you may have encountered difficulties because you were trying to access that programming before grade 4. I've taught several students who were privately tested in grade 3 and had no problems being placed in the gifted program starting in grade 4.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Jan 24, 2011
616 posts
128 upvotes
we are in York region. This week my son got selected for gifted program from grade 4. We are planning to send him for full day gifted program and try out.
Jr. Member
Jul 20, 2006
116 posts
1 upvote
Hi, my son is in Grade 9 pre-IB program in Richmond Hill. He always complains school is boring and doesn't want to go to school.

Would gifted program be more academically challenging than IB? How are the two compared?
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Jan 23, 2006
2070 posts
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It’s insane what they come up with nowadays just to get your money. Evaluate the IQ of 5 years old? Gimme a break.

Back in the 90’s when I did my Mensa testing, they barely made an exception to accept me as a member as I was 15 (luckily I was only 2 months shy of 16).

Talk to your kid’s teachers - they have gone through so many kids that they can easily identify “gifted” kids (whatever the definition of “gifted”).
iamalittlepepper wrote:
Aug 13th, 2012 2:55 am
Non of the Royal Purple is BMW qualified which voids your drivetrain warranty.. especially for those who owns the 3.0L N54 engine
tcjsqls wrote:
Jan 13th, 2015 12:56 pm
you have no ideas how a report of stolen credit card (...) affect your credit. Happened twice in your history, that bank won't issue a credit card for you
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Jan 23, 2006
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small_potato wrote:
May 7th, 2018 12:18 pm
Hi, my son is in Grade 9 pre-IB program in Richmond Hill. He always complains school is boring and doesn't want to go to school.

Would gifted program be more academically challenging than IB? How are the two compared?
I sometimes wonder how come a country with such a disastrous educational system has such a high standad of living... but then - highly talented immigrants...
iamalittlepepper wrote:
Aug 13th, 2012 2:55 am
Non of the Royal Purple is BMW qualified which voids your drivetrain warranty.. especially for those who owns the 3.0L N54 engine
tcjsqls wrote:
Jan 13th, 2015 12:56 pm
you have no ideas how a report of stolen credit card (...) affect your credit. Happened twice in your history, that bank won't issue a credit card for you

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