The Crew - Miss Fabulous, Lil Bro, Big Sis and Mr. Man

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

No Leg To Stand On

Today I feel discouraged and frustrated – see? Today both my first graders received academic awards, Mr. “For Overall Excellence” received an ABC award and Miss “For Great Gains in Reading” received a principal’s award from her teacher. Her teacher saw me at the awards and said that she knew that Miss’ weekly test had been low as of late but that she had just given her a reading test and she had scored where she needs to be at the end of the school year so she really was quite pleased.

These are Miss’ grades of the last few weeks:

Math Test – 70%, 50%, 60%, and 40% (55% score of F in the real world)

Spelling Test – 42%, 75% (received a Super sticker for this one), 50%, 73%, 73%, 60%, and 60% (61% score of D in the real world)

Weekly State Evaluations – 62%, 46%, 69%, 77%, and 31% (57% score of F in reality)

Science Test – 42%, 70%, 28% (46% score of F in reality)

Vocabulary Test – 34% (F)

Mrs. Teacher informed me today that Miss took a benchmark reading test and received an 18, which is the score she needs to have at the end of the year in reading to move on to the next grade so she really is “quite pleased”. She said also to remember that since they have a student teacher in the room things are not done in the same way they are with an experienced teacher. I think that means that she is the best teacher ever and that she knows how to communicate with Miss and others don’t. I dunno?

These are the grades Miss has received since the teacher informed me that she was bumping up the one-on-one assistance for Miss from herself as well as Miss speech language pathologist. But Mrs. Teacher does not want me to worry.
In first grade apparently they receive opinion-based grades – Outstanding, Satisfactory, Not Demonstrated Consistently and Unsatisfactory. I thought that the number grades determined the “score” but maybe not or maybe it doesn’t matter what your number scores are as long as your teacher thinks you should move to the next grade.
On the one hand I’d like to just say good enough if they aren’t worried why should I? But…the fact is this is a child with SERIOUS mood disorder and she seems to feel overwhelmed and frustrated with schoolwork or ticked off or something. As I have said before we here on the home front believe it is a mixed bag based on what we see at home with homework, but what do we know?

What I do know is that we have seen an increase in “I don’t want to go to school” tantrums and tardiness in harmony with these grades. So my feeling is that this school situation is affecting her overall stability and self-regulation because if a person is feeling anxious for hours on end that is going to effect their brain chemistry. To say nothing of her sense of self esteem or lack there of.

Buy it seems as long as she pulls these benchmark test scores out of the hat we don’t have a leg to stand on and we just have to take it as it comes.

If these were your kids scores and yet the teacher is saying all is well would you be concerned or thankful that Mrs. Teacher feels all is well?  Input welcome here.


GB's Mom said...

These scores are unacceptable and I would be 1) in principal's office,expressing displeasure, 2) in the Director of Special Education's office, expressing displeasure, 3) in the Superintendent's office, expressing displeasure and asking if I needed to get a lawyer, then 4) at a school board meeting to make a public stink.

Of course the pressure of be unable to handle the work is going to show up at home, and 6 hours of anxiety daily has to affect her mood.

BTDT, actually went through all 4 steps to get what MK needed during her schooling. I haven't had to go quite that far with GB yet, but she is only in first grade. (and her CSE meeting isn't until April).

Of course, that is only my opinion- but you did ask for it!

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

Ok, THANK YOU WHAT THE HECK IS THAT!!! Genea cannot take a timed test. She may know all the answers but does not get it written down in time to pass the tests. So she can add numbers up to 10 but has still only passed the test for her 0's and 1's. The teacher said not to worry about it because they are only learning it to be prepared for 2nd grade when they need to know it. HUH?? Her grade has been "satisfactory" on her report cards. She also gets 2 days to do her math homework that the other kids have to do that night. Which is AWESOME and wonderful that the teacher is making these un-required accommodations for her, but she cannot complete the work so how is she passing it?

Cyndi said...

This kid is in no way average nor anywhere near it. She needs to be doing things differently and there may need to be many trials before fuguring it out so that it really works for her. Do not wait get help!

We also have a teacher who sees everything through rose colored lenses and when this kid goes to junior high next year she is going to have a big reality check as that teacher gets real with the kids rather quickly which is how it is with me. I want them to know up front what is expected of them and what there abilities are because when they hit the real world no one is going to let them act in this fantasy land manor. My kid seriously thinks that she is going to be a famous singer/dancer. I hate to burst her bubble but she has a severe speech impairment and can not sing and the only dancing she does is the ghetto junk that she learned on the streets before coming here which by the way is not allowed at all.

Heather and Brad said...

Agh! We experienced the SAME things with our kids. They were ALL at the very bottom of their classes and failing and their teachers were still passing them. Huh? I took kind of a hands off approach with school until it was effecting our home life too much. We were having major rages before school and about school issues. Come to find out the kids were getting away with bullying, stealing and lying. They also manipulated almost every adult at the school getting them to give them things, buy them extra lunches, doing their work for them ect. I think the teachers let them get away with a lot because they felt sorry for them and their pasts. Because of this the kids felt there was no strong adult in their environment to keep them in line so that they could feel safe. As a result, they acted out more and more until I decided to pull all four of them out of school and homeschool them. I know it's pretty drastic and not all families are able to do this. We have seen a lot of improvements in their demeanor and there have been fewer rages overall.

If I were you, I'd put her emotional stability over her education. Because if there is no emotional stability there is no education. Whatever that looks like for you. Holding her back a grade, summer school, tutoring, letting her move on but with more support, homeschool...

Good luck. I know that I didn't like trying to get school personnel to understand my kids. It can be difficult.

Tara - SanitySrchr said...

A friend of mine shared with me that her son is an A/B student, and has been all year. He has an IEP because he is hearing impaired and has implants. His teacher is going to hold him back because of something called the FAIR test (I don't remember what the letters stand for, but it's supposedly a requirement to pass the second grade). All of the directions for this test are auditory through headphones, which this child cannot use (implants), so he automatically fails. Umm, not quite a FAIR test. I thought that is what the IEP was for.

J. said...

we have similar struggles, my suggstion would be to see if you can get her a scribe for testing and see if the issue is attention, comprehension or just willfull defiance.... each would be approaced diffrently. But, as a teacher I would say that scores like that show that she is distracted during testing... not that something is wrong. A scribe could help keep her on task and then it may be a more accurate reflection of what she know. Benchmark testing is done one to one, that is probably what she needs for all testing.

The LaBelle Family said...

This is why I homeschool. The 'system' is just NOT equipped to handle all the needs of each child they encounter and those who have needs tend to fall through the cracks, with regard to actually learning something. The teachers just want to pat them on the back and say what a wonderful job they've done. Or else, they don't want them back in their classroom next year and just pass them on that account! I couldn't say for sure, of course, but, mine are doing quite well learning at home and I'm sure they know more than what most kids in their grades know...hands down! You, as their mom, know your children better than anyone else on earth! Go with your gut!

Lisa said...

Great comments and suggestions. I most certainly echo Heather and Brad.

Trust your instincts. You won't go wrong.

Taz's Mama said...

well i would wonder if they are seeing an overall improvement and either really excited about that (even though the grades are still poor) or are trying to reward her for that. is she capable of doing better and they just don't know it so they are giving her lots of breaks and rewarding grades that shouldn't be rewarded? as for the moving to the next grade thing...i hate to say it but a lot of teachers "pass" kids so they don't have them in their class again. not saying that's the case here. i'm not even saying the teacher doesn't like having your daughter in her class, but is it possible? some teachers don't like holding kids back or don't believe in it, so they will push for the child to reach the bare minimum so they can move on. the grades are poor though. and grading by objectivity instead of on the facts and numbers, i agree, is ridiculous. if she needs to repeat, then she should. she will only fall more and more behind by moving up when she's not ready.