Jamie's* story by her parents

My daughter, let's call her Jamie*, had a bumpy path through school.

It seemed that every time there was a program or activity that would be ideal for her, she failed to meet the age requirement. Too young.

When she was in fourth grade, in a very good public school, Jamie begged to be put into a school for gifted children. She was lonely and unhappy during school hours, spending most of her time alone, reading, whenever possible. This was despite being in the gifted pull-out program in the school.

So I set out to see if there was such a school in our city.

I found the school, Jamie tested for it, we applied and she was accepted. Problem solved, she made friends and developed a social life, and had challenging enough classes. Until high school, which her gifted school did not offer.

She applied to several elite high schools, was accepted to all of them, and then had to choose one. None of the schools seemed quite right, but Jamie picked one and started freshman year.

By the end of the year, she was back to reading alone, or hanging out with the teachers.

One of her friends had started early college at Cal State LA and was liking it. Jamie tested for it, applied and began the provisional summer. It was a good fit for Jamie; a peer group plus good classes.

After a couple of years of this, she had reached the limit of academic challenge in the fields she was interested in, and transferred to another college, one without a built-in same age peer group. But the confidence and skills she had gained over the years let her continue and complete her undergraduate experience.

With Jamie, my husband and I always felt as if we were one step behind in providing good academic environments. The impetus to move her from public elementary school to gifted school came from her, not her teachers or us. When I conferred with her fourth grade teacher, she said that the gifted school would be much better for Jamie, yet it was not information that she volunteered before being asked.

Again, when Jamie was unhappy in high school, we had to raise the issue with the principal, at which point, she acknowledged the problem. But there was no flexibility in solving it, even though we had gotten the local college to agree to accept Jamie for some classes, which would have let her remain a student of the high school for other purposes.

Ultimately, Jamie got a good education, along with a good social experience, but as parents, my husband and I felt very alone in finding our way to providing this for our daughter.

Special Note:
*Jamie is a fictitious name at request of parents