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Getting DD accepted into the TAG: Gifted and Talented program has been a frustration that has been going on since we moved to Mississippi a little over a year ago. She IS accepted now and enjoys the class but my frustration continues. I know it is time to take the matter to the school board and I'm posting here to clarify my thoughts.

Without going into the whole time line, what happened is that we kept getting told that DD needed "testing" to get into the program. She wasn't in TAG last school year because she missed the "testing dates". She didn't start TAG at the beginning of this school year because the "testing dates" don't occur until two months into the new school year. The "testing" turns out to be a regular IQ test. Had I known that I could have told them that she had an IQ test, administered by the school district, within the last year. They never had to re-test her. So DD missed out on a year of TAG classes because she needed testing that she actually had. Then she missed out on months of TAG classes while I ran around trying to get her the needed testing when she actually had it. Grrrr.

My second complaint is the cost. I'm okay with the fact that there are minimal fees and that I even have to purchase extra school supplies just for use in this class. However, new TAG students aren't accepted into the program until three months after school starts so guess what ... the school supplies are no longer on sale (not even on clearance anymore) or they simply aren't in stock (forcing me to make a special run to the next big town over to shop at an office supply store). And unlike regular school supplies where you know the expense is coming up and you have weeks to fit the expense into your budget, when your "new student" is accepted into the TAG program you are expected to produce those supplies THE NEXT DAY! Surprise! Of course, you're also expected to product those supplies the same day you also sit down with the TAG teacher to write the check for the TAG fees - a double whammy to the checkbook.

No, there is no visibility as to whether or not your child will be accepted. It is a complete surprise until you are called to meet with the teacher.

That was last month. My frustration this month has to do with the big TAG field trip in April.

When my daughter was accepted into the TAG program I was told that all the spaces for the big TAG field trip were filled and she couldn't go (so nice for all those "new students" to experience such exclusion - they never had a chance). Last night I got a note from DD's TAG teacher that said ONE space opened up and if I wanted DD to go I had to call the teacher at home that evening. I called two times and left a message. I tried a third time and she said she didn't call me back because she couldn't hear the last digit of my phone number on her voicemail (really? if she was expecting my call for 'the last slot', wouldn't she have my phone number? btw, this is a small town so my phone number is really, really easy to look up.) She said if I wanted DD to go to the field trip then all I had to do was have DD bring a check to pay for the trip ... $100. I asked her to clarify, "You mean you want me to write a check for $100 today even though every other TAG parent has been able to make payments toward this trip since the beginning of the year. You really want me to pay you $100 immediately with Christmas upon us?" Her reply? "Well, Monday would be okay."

After a few rounds of trying to clarify her expectations, she finally admits that the entire amount really isn't needed until January 31st but it took quite a bit of asking to get her to that point. Grrr.
 
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