Bright Now
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Bright Now

How I used CTY’s Talent Search to advocate for my bright child

Parent Laura Fram with her daughter Elizabeth

By Laura Fram

My ten-year-old daughter Elizabeth is an original. She’s a wrestler, a member of Scouts BSA, and likes learning about natural disasters. She’s good at math, hates chess, and doesn’t like to be pigeonholed.

But when it came to identifying Elizabeth’s academic abilities and potential, I wanted more information than labels like “bright” and “precocious” could provide. That’s what led us to CTY’s Talent Search.

The Talent Search process is pretty simple, and involves having your child take an above-grade-level test to get a better sense of where they are academically and what their potential might be.

We’ve known Elizabeth is bright since she started reading at 2. But options for gifted students in her rural school were limited. So we worked to find opportunities outside of school to challenge her, including online math courses from CTY and other programs.

But as Elizabeth advanced in math online, and even skipped third grade, her school wouldn’t let her go as far ahead in math as she could. Even after she got an A in her online fourth grade math class, school made her take fourth grade math again. They even told her that she was not good in math. My kid was bored to tears and I was frustrated. We needed help.

At the end of fourth grade, Elizabeth took the above-grade-level SCAT as part of CTY’s Talent Search. The test placed her in the Advanced CTY level in verbal and math with scores that indicated she would be in the 91st percentile among ninth graders.

Finally, we had an independent assessment of her potential and it was from the highly respected Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. Elizabeth was more than just bright, she was extraordinary.

We just moved to a new area and one of the first things we did was to share Elizabeth’s Talent Search test scores with her new school. “This is what Elizabeth has been learning for the last year,” I said, pulling out her transcript, CTY course evaluation, and results from the SCAT and the PSAT 8/9, which Elizabeth took in fifth grade. “What can you do for placement?”

This time, the administrators and teachers wanted to help us. Elizabeth was accepted into the school’s gifted program. The school also agreed to let her go into sixth grade for most of her classes, except math where she will be taking Honors Algebra 1, a high school class.

It’s not easy being the parent of an academically advanced child. There are so many questions to answer and hurdles to jump through, and it’s hard sometimes to know that you’re making the right decisions.

And yet, I refuse to give up. No parent should. Participating in Talent Search helped Elizabeth see that she is a very smart girl. She knows that all of her hard work is paying off and she hopes to continue working hard so that she can earn a scholarship to a good college.

For me, Elizabeth’s participation in Talent Search confirmed her abilities and validated the decisions I had made about her education, including homeschooling her for fifth grade. It also gave me the tools I needed to advocate for her with her new school.

As soon as Elizabeth went from an environment where she was told she was not good in math to one where she was supported, she bloomed. Your children can bloom, too, if you give them the support they need.

Laura Fram is the mother of CTY student Elizabeth Fram, 10. They live in New Jersey.

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A blog about parenting and educating bright and curious kids

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Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth

Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth

The Center for Talented Youth is part of Johns Hopkins, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Since 1979, CTY has been the world leader in gifted education. http://cty.jhu.edu

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