Am I being a little precious in wishing, like Goldilocks, to find something "just right"?
I've been looking into high school options for my 9-yr-old daughter (yes, planning ahead), and it's left me with rather a sense of dismay.
Most mainstream high schools seem to be either generically woeful or hideously expensive (and in some sad cases, both at once). Most alternative/specialised schools seem to be well-represented at primary level, with options rapidly evaporating after Year 8. Enquiries after "good" North Island high schools invariably raise the same dozen replies, most of which involve A) huge amounts of money, B) a move to either Auckland or Wellington, and/or C) church-based institutions (A & C are my bigger concerns). And don't even get me started on zoning..!
My daughter is already in line to attend a reasonable state-integrated Catholic high school, but I'm becoming increasingly disenchanted with that (and all the other local high schools, private or otherwise). She also attends ODS, but I don't know if we'll get funding for it next year. I'm at a loss as to what to do with her, other than settle for the status quo, and the knowledge that she'll probably finish Year 13 the same way I did - with a scattering of high marks, few study skills, no idea of what she wants from life, and a host of teachers muttering dire predictions about "wasted potential". *Sigh*
What does one do with an extroverted, kinaesthetically/linguistically/musically gifted, scientifically-inclined performing artist with time-management & organisational challenges (other than throw her toward the steampunk sub-culture, heh)?
I worry that mainstream schooling might lead her to dumb-down-and-fit-in, but more likely I suspect she might act out to accentuate the differences (offence being the best defence and all) and spend too much time clowning around and "freaking the mundanes" to actually get any work done.
I've looked around, and she seems too brashly utilitarian for for the artsy cosiness of Waldorf. Montessori doesn't seem to have any high schools any more (and she's not a sequential learner, if that still applies at post-primary level). ACG seems okay, but is expensive and seems to place a premium on academics over physicality or creativity. Corelli looks interesting, but I'm not sure she's committed enough to the arts that I would want to invest (and so heavily!) in it as a career path.
(And before anyone mentions home-schooling; no, thank you. Neither my daughter nor I have any interest, desire, inclination, or talent in that direction. Zip, zero, nada. Exercise in frustration and futility. I acknowledge that HS is a wonderful asset for a great many families, but for us it would be a counter-intuitive uphill climb resulting in impatience, catfighting, and resentment. Ah, good times, good times...) ;-)
Thank you for your patience... this was partly a vent, but I would honestly welcome any useful information or anecdotes from parents of outgoing, creative, quirky, very *active* gifted girls, regardless of which high school(s) they've tried.
If she's extroverted, musically gifted and scientifically inclined it sounds like Macleans college would be perfect. Have a look at their website. Just google macleans college and it will come up. Of course, this would mean a move into the zone which is Bucklands Beach/ Mellons Bay part of Auckland. Beautiful area though so wouldn't be a hardship but house prices are reflective of the caliber of school if you know what I mean!
I have just booked my daughter into Green Bay for next year. We were out of zone for Western Springs or would have gone there. They were the only school that asked if she had been identified as gifted and in what areas. They asked about ODS (and were genuinely interested) which she attended for 4 years and they asked about her acceleration classes at Intermediate. No other school did this but just looked at marks. She is introverted but quirky and gifted in art, english and maths. Green Bay is well know for its art and performing arts as well as acaedemic results.
My daughter struggled to choose subject options as the choice was so good.
Just be careful if you do move, to check out the schools thoroughly! I have heard Western Springs great for 'gifted quirky' but has 'closed zones' so if you want to go you must live in zone, they don't even take out of zoners. Most Auckland schools are zoned so it is better to live in zone otherwise (especially with good schools) you would be lucky to get in! Green Bay not zoned now but next year it will be. That is the school I have lined up for my 'gifted but hard to motivate' daughter. It seems very individualistic which will suit her and they have a gifted programme that sounds really good.
well what does your daughter think? Mine at age 9 had it all planned which school she wanted to attend and then went ahead and won an academic scholarship to it. That was to a Catholic boarding school in Oamaru. We live in Queenstown. Also i wouldn't worry too much about her 'dumbing down' at age 9 and beyond - i think the kids have too much self-esteem to have to try and fit in.
I am currently in HS, and I go to Otumoetai College.
It is a state school in Tauranga, and although you will find no mention of such things on their website, it has an excellent G&T program. There are acceleration and enrichment classes in all the core subjects, and the Advanced Learning coordinator is really nice. The teachers actually care about the students, and G&T students keep the same Maths teacher for the first 3 years before moving on to Year 13 work. For the first 2 years there is 'Nerd camp,' and there are Maths field trips for the first 3. On the musical side there are good itinerant teachers there and a strings group, orchestra, 3 choirs and a jazz band. There are plays and musicals put on in alternating years, as well as a really helpful drama department.
All that said, in the accelerated classes there is actually a good culture. Since most of the students share most of their classes, and thanks to the Nerd Camps, everyone in the classes are friends. Achieving is encouraged and looked up upon, and no one is alienated for doing well.
Sorry about the long post, hope I didn't sound like an infomercial. :)
I am also in Hamilton, with a son in Y5 and a daughter in Y3.
Like you I have been looking at suitable high schools for my two, (just getting a feel for them at this stage) and although Hamiton Boys seems a good option for my son, the does not seem to be the same strength for gifted girls in the school I have looked at, so I am interested in what you find out for your daughter.
Do you have a feel for a good intermediate school in Hamilton for gifted children? What school does your daughter attend, and would you recommend it?
Hi, I don't know if you have found a good school, but we moved from Kaipara to Wellington to send our children to Montessori. My 8 year old tryed three public schools and was seen as disruptive (bored) and he was told by other children to stop talking (they didn't know what he was talking about) he was very unhappy . Now after a year he is beeming, has like minded friends and they all work at thier own pace. They have just extended the school up from 15 to 18 yrs. view info on www.waora.co.nz, and ask for an info pack if you are interested. Only drawback is the weather!
Hi all, sorry for taking so long to check in; things have been a bit hectic!
Definitely looks like Auckland will be the better option for us, although transport and zoning will probably be issues.
- Anon, RE: St Mary's College
My daughter is currently in a Catholic school (part of our family is Catholic, but we're not). She's growing increasingly discontented with the religious format of the school, so I wouldn't jump to another Catholic school if another good option presented itself. St Mary's looks really good, but I know we won't be living in, and am not sure we could manage travel to, the eastern suburbs. :p
- Mum of Two
My daughter attends Marian Catholic, which is NE-Yr9, so I've not looked at Hamilton intermediate schools. Marian has been pretty good for us, especially in terms of pastoral care/family support. It is, however, quite hard to get into; a limited number of non-preference enrolments, zoning, and far more applications than places. Unfortunately I don't know enough to recommend any other intermediates.
Looks like Rutherford and Kelston will be on the list, thanks for the pointer. :)
My daughter isn't particularly fussed with one school (or course of study, or potential career path) over another. She's not terribly big on forward planning or high achieving, really. Her main concerns are that she makes friends and can "do science and drama". My main concerns are that she doesn't get so bored and frustrated that she starts going backward.
I'm suprised people mentioned Western Springs , I wish we were NOT in zone for it both my elder two went through there, definitely looking for something else if at all possible for the younger starting HS next year.
We found it just awful...I can't understand why anyone would recommend it! Especially terrible for our very quiet daughter, she was accused of cheating at Math, as she is very good in Math and highly intuitive to the answers , her art portfolio was " lost" by the teacher and her sewing course work for NCEA was cut up with scissors by other students "by mistake".
She was forced by the school without anyone informing me to see a counsellor/ nurse about their idea that she might have an eating disorder ( she had been well below weight charts since a baby , her weight and height had been far below the norm and we had checked in withdoctors about this through her childhood, with the agreement of health professionals that it was genetic petiteness but still in the normal range .
all of this was highly degrading to my highly disciplined self motivated, hard working and bright but extremely quiet and private daughter and she left the school in 6 th form, I always felt, as she is a very quiet person with an image personal politeness and dignity , that they were trying to break her, as she would never disobey, but also never conform , and had no desire for attention, praise or aprobation of teachers. The strange thing for me is that she was a very good student, compliant, never in trouble , but just different, and it was just a terrible time .. In contrast to ponsonby intermediate which was the favoutite schooling experience of all 3 of our children. Wonderful school culture for kids who are smart and/ or quirky.
Just goes to show, different strokes... We were less than impressed with Ponsonby Intermediate, although both children had some fabulous teachers there, notably in English.
However, it was the school culture which we were not impressed with over 4 years of involvement (just ended), it was very very 'cliquey' and the teachers seemed to buy into this completely deciding early in Yr 7 who were going to be the 'Popular' 'In' kids (=arty, loud, socially dominating, self-styled-sophisticated, full-of-themselves ) and blatantly favouring them for so-called 'leadership' roles which allowed those kids to flounce around looking down on the less favoured for 2 years. Certain kinds of 'smart and quirky' were 'In' but other kinds definitely 'Out' and they were made to feel it. The school was very smug about its own supposed desirability, but offered quite a narrow scope of extra-curriculars unless certain sports or rock bands were your thing.
Yes, I totally agree, I think you have really hit the nail on the head!there are different school cultures that fit with your personal and family culture.. though all 3 of my children are quite different personlity types, one quiet but a lovely friend ( you know the type that is quiet but really listens and makes others feel special) who joined no clubs teams or sports but had miles of friends, one very outgoing sociable and arty, and one a real outsider who loved all things geeky :):) they all really do love Ponsonby intermediate's accepting, flexible culture and in my circle of friends, all the children now at various high schools like to reminisce about the good times they had there... I have friends and family who have enjoyed W Springs.. but even those students admitted that there were quite a few subpar teachers, but I'm sure all schools have those
It's very difficult though when the fit of school , is so bad ( And the only one in zone for) that it leads to academic, well behaved children completely turning off and leaving school early.... Private is not really an option for us, but I will look at AGC and possibly Mind Alive, if anyone has info or experience on those schools for a creative boy, sociable, energetic , from parents and current or ex-students, I would really appreciate hearing from you on this forum.
I donít think Western Springs is as good as it thinks it is. I have experienced poor quality teachers who point blank refuse to communicate with parents over issues with their childrenís learning. The school in general is poor at communication with parents and unless you have come up through the feeder primary and intermediate schools it can be hard to make friends.
My son attended in 2010 and 2011 and had the most hideous time, so bad we almost pulled him from the school in term 4 and to hell with the consequences.
They were so desperate to rehabilitate a problem student that they ignored the negative impact he was having on my son and the class. We've had to take extreme measures to ensure he's not at the same high school as this boy who, it turns out, has been enrolled there under another name.
The "popular kids" were appalling and it wasn't just one child who caused problems. I was stunned to see these kids manipulating teachers and students alike.
My son attended ODS and is clearly extremely bright and academically able but because he'd had mucked about in year 6 he didn't make the gifted stream at Ponsonby and his form teacher actively blocked our efforts to have him reviewed.
He's now at high school, doing well and in some of the top classes. Socially he's isolated but he's happy just to be out of the line of fire.
FWIW I've met many other parents who were very happy with Ponsonby Intermediate - socially and academically. I'd just be careful with any child who isn't "normal".
Not sure you are still reading along with these posts. My daughter seems to be a bit similar to your daughter and is now also in year 10. She attends Howick College and is doing well, after being under the radar at Intermediate and primary in terms of being recognised as G&T (despite Ed Psych reports). Howick doesn't have such a good reputation around our area, with Macleans college just around the corner. My dd has done so well this year academically, but most importantly the school has allowed her to explore her passion (drama) and she's come out of her shell. She loves going to school. She's proud of being a bit quirky, has found friends that have accepted her as she is (and are a little quirky themselves :-) ). I have pushed the school to place her in the "upper band". She didn't test well in the beginning, but they allowed her to go into Upper Band nevertheless and has excelled! There seems to be a good balance between academics and creativity and physical activity.
I hope that you have found the right college for your girl!
Hi, I am checking the boards when I can manage... :)
We're going to apply for St Dominic's College - my daughter liked it, it's near-by, and they seem to have a good academic-sporting-arts-social balance. They also have acceleration classes, GATE provisions, and the opportunity for selected bright-and-achieving students to sit NCEA Level 1 in Year 10 instead of Year 11. The school seems well-appointed and the staff and students were all friendly and welcoming.
Howick College is a good school for gifted kids nowadays, especially those who are a bit different. It's a school which allows kids to be who they are and doesn't try to force fit them into the school's 'box'. I have three gifted kids, two of whom have gone through Howick and achieved extremely well (one finished Uni now, the second at Otago) and the youngest is still there in Yr 12. Under the new principal, there is now very good support for academics as well as sports, performing arts and technology - previously Macleans College was seen locally as the only place to go if you wanted to be a top academic, but the learning culture at Howick is now fully behind aiming for academic excellence and the supports are in place to help kids do that.
I've also found deans and senior management very caring and willing to be flexible to help my youngest child, who is absent a lot because of illness. In another school, the staff might have given up on a boy who only attends half the time at most, but the staff at Howick recognise that he has plenty of ability and use email and e-learning methods to help him achieve at excellence and merit level even though he misses so much time.
I noticed a few comments (positive and negative) in this thread about Western Springs College. I have kids that will be going through there in the next few years, and I have recently heard a little bit about upcoming changes at the school - it sounds like it will be a total rebuild, as well as a change of management - it will be run by the Ministry of Education instead of a Board of Trustees - they are referring to it as "a new school." Sounds like a good thing??