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Thread: Westmount/Hillhurst GATE program

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    Default Westmount/Hillhurst GATE program

    So it turns out my oldest child is gifted.

    Anybody send their kids to Westmount or the Hillhurst GATE program? We've heard that it's nigh impossible to get into either school. Any tips? Should I be sucking someone's dick sooner than later?

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    Is that the jr high or elementary program?
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    You have to get a psychological assessment done in order to get into Westmount.

    After that, you apply.

    They will do their own assessment in January.

    Cut-off for application is 95th percentile range or an IQ of 130ish IIRC. Generally kids that low don't get in.

    No dick sucking required. If you need a psychologist, I can PM the one we used for our oldest.

    I would suggest attending an open house. However, be patient as it seems that most parents of "gifted" students are really stupid. They will ask the same questions over and over and do not pay attention.

    People have this notion that being gifted is being smart. It isn't. It is actually special needs. It is just on the opposite spectrum of "special needs." Westmount is not focused on academic excellence.

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    go to slide 36 of this presentation.

    http://westmountcharter.com/pdfs/Ope...02016-2017.pdf

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    We got her assessed by a psychologist.

    Her numbers were much, much higher than the cutoff. We're planning to go to the open houses but my main concern is simply the number of students they take in.

    We certainly understand the "not just smart" bit. It explains a lot of her behaviour.

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    It isn't as competitive as you might think, especially if she is "much, much higher" than the cut-off. They also make exceptions for the rules. My son is past the age cut off (Feb 28) and he still got in.

    My SIL worked with someone who applied at the same time as we did. That person's child was right at the cut-off. That kid didn't get in.

    The main thing they look for in their own assessment is how well they take to instruction and how they interact with other kids.

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    I wouldn't recommend the GATE program. A bunch of my friends were in the program at Hillhurst and it really didn't set them up very well for the future. Most of them entered in grade 7 and by grade 9 they had definitely gotten a bit ahead in various subjects ( math in particular, they were past grade 10 level by then) so when they entered high school they were ahead of the pack and largely they just took spares to make up for the course credits they had ( which did not give them a very good work ethic for harder math and science courses to come). Which ended up turning most of them into slackers. There were only 2-3 Gate classes offered past grade 10 so they basically got thrown back in with the rest of us. Except those of us who had been in "community" were used to the system, grading styles etc. I knew a few guys who failed courses over not being able to adapt. That and the gate kids ended up with a huge chip on their shoulder over the program and didn't integrate back very well.

    I was tested in elementary and recommended for the program as well, my parents opted me out after they saw the kind of crazies who had their kids in the program. I was also retested when i came to hillhurst in grade 9 and while i was accepted I opted out again. Glad i did in hindsight tbh.

    Anywho that's my 2 cents.

    The only real good thing about the program was they got additional funding so had better equipment ( first ones in the schools to have smart boards in every classroom, which was a big deal in 2007).
    Originally posted by Thales of Miletus

    If you think I have been trying to present myself as intellectually superior, then you truly are a dimwit.
    Originally posted by Toma
    fact.

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    Are the Westmount and Hillhurst programs different than the QE programs? I imagine it is with the first two being charters, right?
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    I don't know about Hillhurst and QE, but with Westmount, you have to apply. You can live across the street and you still can't go to Westmount.

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    Originally posted by sexualbanana
    Are the Westmount and Hillhurst programs different than the QE programs? I imagine it is with the first two being charters, right?
    I should note that i went to QE so when i read Gate and Hillhurst I assumed that people were talking about QE.
    Originally posted by Thales of Miletus

    If you think I have been trying to present myself as intellectually superior, then you truly are a dimwit.
    Originally posted by Toma
    fact.

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    I was in it (jr high only) - You get more chances to do things self directed as opposed to a super strict schedule.

    Only trend i can see from kids that were in it is all the super rich kids went to uni in the states and work for tech startups or banks in san fran, NY, London etc. For all the regular peasants like me didnt have much of an effect on how i turned out.

    You end up doing grade 10 science math and such in grade 9....

    Its not a black or white choice but in terms of getting ahead in life.... the only kids that did were set up whether they went into GATE or not.

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    Sorry just on my last point there I meant the rich kids got ahead and would have either way - everyone else's successes or lack thereof I believe was independent of being in gate or not.

    So to sum up from my POV it makes little difference in where your kid ends up in life.

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    Westmount is K-12. Two campuses though (K-4) and (5-12).

    Hillhurst GATE is 4-6.

    QE GATE is 7-12.

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    Originally posted by benyl
    go to slide 36 of this presentation.

    http://westmountcharter.com/pdfs/Ope...02016-2017.pdf
    Thanks for this. She'd start in grade 5. This year will be an IPP at her present school.

    Guys, it's not just about being smart. There's stuff around emotional behaviour that aren't dealt with at a normal school.

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    GATE's not totally indicative of people's successes. The people I went to GATE with are into all kinds of different things, and it depends on your definition of success.

    Some work at mega huge tech companies or do advanced STEM at a university, some are still bartending and I know some are just labourers.
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    Yeah, I'm not really concerned with her academics. It's about having an environment that caters to her learning style and her personality.

    She was being disruptive last year in class because she'd finish her work so quickly that she was bored. So she'd start running around the classroom. Her teacher did try to challenge her with more difficult work but she'd also breeze through that. She hopefully the IPP will help her out in that regard.

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    Unrelated but only kinda:

    I went to Calgary Science School for Jr. High. One of the more vivid memories is that we were taught Trigonometry in Gr 6 (Public school program taught that at Gr 9). Learning higher grade math at a younger age got my entire class much further ahead (I feel).

    Personally, I agree with the above that when I got thrown back into public high school, I slacked my way off through all the math courses since most of the concepts were quite familiar (may be just me and not all kids). Having a grasp on all the concepts ahead of everyone else (whether or not I fully understood or not is a different issue) was a major advantage since everyone else was learning it new and I was on a refresh.

    Not sure how the GATE program teaches concepts, and it's probably also different from teacher to teacher. I know our teacher was very keen on applied math which helps with the understanding, we also had the pleasure of growing through 3 years of Jr high with the same instructors so they figured out how to cater to each of our individual learning styles.

    Going into University, I know of at least 7 of my graduating class of 50 (2x25 classes, they were keen on smaller class sizes) coming out as engineers. Yea yea I know you're gonna say that that's what we get for going to a "science" school but I personally was not heavily interested in the sciences prior to being enrolled in the school. The method of education definitely changed the way we think from a young age, setting us up for success. I believe only 2 or 3 of the class of 50 didn't make it through a Bachelor's degree.

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    The expectation is that if she starts in GATE, she stays in GATE for the rest of primary school.

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    Originally posted by suntan
    Thanks for this. She'd start in grade 5. This year will be an IPP at her present school.

    Guys, it's not just about being smart. There's stuff around emotional behaviour that aren't dealt with at a normal school.
    Something any parent should know about IPPs is that for every student that gets put on an IPP in a school they get additional funding from the board. I believe it was around 500 dollars per student when i was in school. As such there are a lot of schools who pressure teachers into classifying marginally different students into an IPP( be it gifted or special needs). In reality almost none of the money the school receives ends up going to make the students lives better.

    An example of this was when I was in grade 9 and i opted out of GATE to stay in community they forced an IPP on me. They had to struggle to find someone legitimate to write onto it to justify the IPP. They eventually landed on " needs computer resources to complete assignments more effectively" Why? Because my handwriting was atrocious. Still is. And my science teacher was my IPP advisor so i got forced into attempting to complete all of my science assignments on a computer and handing them in typed up all year. Yea.

    All so they could write down that they granted me access to computer resources and added flexibility to complete my assignments in a different way on the IPP signoff sheet at the end of the year. And they got their 500 dollar cheque.

    It actually ended up making this way more difficult and stressful for me ( science assignments on a computer guys, come on). After that they completely forgot about me ( they only had to justify the funding in year 1) and i didn't show up to another IPP meeting for 3 years and i was open with my parents about that.

    GATE students similarly received higher funding than community students, even more than IPP students.

    So to be back on topic, OP be careful what the school is telling you. They will blow smoke up your ass to try and get this done and it isn't necessarily for your daughters benefit. I'm not saying she isn't gifted, but that maybe this isn't as big a deal as you think. If your daughter runs around the classroom distracting people she might just need a stern talking to about appropriate behavior in school.

    Sources: My personal experiences and my wife is an elementary school teacher with the CBE.
    Originally posted by Thales of Miletus

    If you think I have been trying to present myself as intellectually superior, then you truly are a dimwit.
    Originally posted by Toma
    fact.

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    It wasn't the school that told me about the extra funding. I was aware of the funding model beforehand, and its issues, as there was a family whose child had a severe speech problem but received almost no direct help in spite of the extra funding.

    IPP is shrink's idea. It's too late to get into Westmount/GATE for this year.

    The CBE actually does have a person that deals strictly with helping create IPPs for gifted children, so she's being asked to part of this process.

    We got her a psychological assessment. Yeah... even the very experienced psychologist (this is all she deals with - gifted kids) was amazed.
    Last edited by suntan; 08-20-2015 at 02:03 PM.

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