April 2013 Moms

NBR advice and vent

My nephew is a first grader going into second next year. My brother left msg this morning wanting my advice on a situation. Before calling back a thought I would get opinions from others.

My nephew is the class clown, hyper but fun kid. He struggles in school but after the first semester of really struggling it seemed the schoolwork was finally clicking with him. His grades went from c, d, f to all b's and c!!! There was less contact with the teacher second semester because grades had improved. His worst area, reading, reflected a B the last two report cards.

So... They received the final report card. All B and C. Again a B in reading. At the bottom it said: being retained in first grade??? So brother called and all the teacher would say is that my nephew was so behind in reading that she didn't have time to wait on him so she just read the stuff for him and passed him along??? Wth With a B and not telling his parents there was a problem.

We knew there was a problem so at Christmas everyone got him learning games, books etc and he seemed to be doing better.

So my brother has a mtg with the teacher and administration this week. My nephew is already signed up for summer school.

What would you do? Say? Obviously we don't want nephew to move on if not ready but then there is the issue with not having a failing grade all semester??? It just doesn't make any scence.
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Re: NBR advice and vent

  • Our son is going into kindergarten next year, but pre kindergarten this year was not good. My dh had several meetings with the teacher and principal to discus concerns. Ds is not perfect, but there was definitely an issue with the teacher not being able to manage the class and it being total chaos. The fact that your nephews teacher just passes kids along because it's easier is crazy. I would not keep him back. If he continues to have trouble next year after having a good teacher who understand his needs i would consider it. That is how we are looking at it for ds. They should just work hard at it this summer.
  • image meheron80:
    My nephew is a first grader going into second next year. My brother left msg this morning wanting my advice on a situation. Before calling back a thought I would get opinions from others. My nephew is the class clown, hyper but fun kid. He struggles in school but after the first semester of really struggling it seemed the schoolwork was finally clicking with him. His grades went from c, d, f to all b's and c!!! There was less contact with the teacher second semester because grades had improved. His worst area, reading, reflected a B the last two report cards. So... They received the final report card. All B and C. Again a B in reading. At the bottom it said: being retained in first grade??? So brother called and all the teacher would say is that my nephew was so behind in reading that she didn't have time to wait on him so she just read the stuff for him and passed him along??? Wth With a B and not telling his parents there was a problem. We knew there was a problem so at Christmas everyone got him learning games, books etc and he seemed to be doing better. So my brother has a mtg with the teacher and administration this week. My nephew is already signed up for summer school. What would you do? Say? Obviously we don't want nephew to move on if not ready but then there is the issue with not having a failing grade all semester??? It just doesn't make any scence.

    I think that's the answer right there. Usually you follow the recommendation of the teacher...and you don't want him advancing and becoming completely overwhelmed next year.  But this teacher admitted her failure and did not give him the time he needed to succeed.  If it were me, I would recommend to your brother that he needs to speak to the administrator/whoever is above the classroom teacher.  It is NOT okay to allow kids to fall through the cracks because the teacher can't handle her job.  Hopefully the other parents of children in the class are aware of this woman's noncommitted attitude 

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  • As a teacher, I will say passing grades do not always mean the student is up to par. However, a teacher should NEVER hold a kid back without many parent meetings and doing everything she can to catch him up. All of the annoying paperwork and tedious tasks teachers have to do is so that students DON'T fall through the cracks like this. Make sure your brother has the administration at the meeting and that he brings any report cards or communications he had with the teacher throughout the year.

    ETA Tell him to do his research and go in prepared. Legally, there are steps that should be taken before a child is considered for retention.
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  • That is awful that the teacher never talked to the parents. I would be peeved!  As far as advice, I would listen to the advice of the previous poster (melandjames) since she is a teacher.
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  • image melandjames14:
    As a teacher, I will say passing grades do not always mean the student is up to par. However, a teacher should NEVER hold a kid back without many parent meetings and doing everything she can to catch him up. All of the annoying paperwork and tedious tasks teachers have to do is so that students DON'T fall through the cracks like this. Make sure your brother has the administration at the meeting and that he brings any report cards or communications he had with the teacher throughout the year.

    ETA Tell him to do his research and go in prepared. Legally, there are steps that should be taken before a child is considered for retention.


    This. This. This a thousand times.

    I am a teacher and communication is the key in cases like this and his teacher dropped the ball. Get administration involved, and if need be, go to the district as well. While it may be necessary he repeat 1st grade, this was not the way they should have found out.
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  • First of all I agree that if he's not ready to be in 2nd grade he shouldn't be. That being said, I think this is a teacher problem and not a child problem. I would think the teacher would want to get the parents involved and say "Hey, your child is in danger of not getting passed into the second grade if this continues." My younger brothers suffers from dyslexia and before he was diagnosed there was a chance he could have repeated the 8th grade. I would definitely ask the teacher-with the administration present-why nephew got the grades he did. I would also want to know why she didn't contact me and tell me my child was struggling. Then I would want to know what the school's policy is on holding back students. Sometimes it doesn't have to be a pass or fail grade, sometimes there is more and maybe it has more to do with that than the grade.
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  • bes12bes12
    100 Comments Second Anniversary 25 Love Its Name Dropper
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    Visiting from May board bc lo was born April 26th....
    I teach kindergarten intensive. I would ask to see a list of what they must master in 1st grade to be considered on grade level. If you feel like he has not mastered those things I would definitely retain in 1st grade. As I explain to parents: think of it as a wall, each brick is important to help it stand. If something is missing the wall will fall. If you send a child on to 2nd grade without all of the necessary 1st grade skills they will struggle. All that being said I would file a complaint against the teacher.
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  • Oh man I'd be piiiiiiiiissed! I'd push him through to 2nd grade and get a private tudor. But that's just me... losing an entire year is a big deal.
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  • efujanefujan
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    image Mandmeesh:

    image meheron80:
    Obviously we don't want nephew to move on if not ready but then there is the issue with not having a failing grade all semester??? It just doesn't make any scence.

    I think that's the answer right there. Usually you follow the recommendation of the teacher...and you don't want him advancing and becoming completely overwhelmed next year.  But this teacher admitted her failure and did not give him the time he needed to succeed.  If it were me, I would recommend to your brother that he needs to speak to the administrator/whoever is above the classroom teacher.  It is NOT okay to allow kids to fall through the cracks because the teacher can't handle her job.  Hopefully the other parents of children in the class are aware of this woman's noncommitted attitude 

    Agree with all of this.  And what is it that nephew hasn't mastered that is holding him back?  There has to be some sort of list the teacher has gone through to make that decision, I would demand to see that.  (And - I would think summer school or a private tutor would help him catch up if there are any gaps.)

    But that being said, if he's not ready to move on, he shouldn't go to grade 2 yet.  I have heard that if a child is held back, it's better to do it early (like now) rather than in or closer to middle school.  This could be an opportunity for nephew to really take hold of the reading & other skills & really excel in school.

    One more thing - does nephew have to take first grade over with the same teacher??  I wouldn't allow my son to be in that teacher's classroom again . . . I'd demand a different teacher - either just for the clean slate aspect, or the possibility that he could learn better with another teacher's approach.

  • tmrchitmrchi
    500 Comments Second Anniversary
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    Where do they live?  Most places I know public schools aren't allowed to hold a student back without the parents' consent.

    Also research shows that just repeating a grade does more harm than good. If his birthday is close to the cutoff and he is socially immature perhaps, but it doesn't make sense as a blanket decision.  

    If he did not learn what he was supposed to learn, she should ask what interventions where given.  Public schools are supposed to be following something called "Response to Intervention" RtI for short and it is their responsibility to provide special programs to help students.  Repeating a grade is not considered an appropriate intervention.  If they have specific explanations of what they will do differently the second time around, I'd listen to the plans and then make a decision based on that.  Just thinking the boy will magically learn it the second time around when he didn't the first time is very outdated with education research.

    Of course she has to deal with the school for many more years, so I'd approach things as nicely as possible, but if need be look for an advocate or lawyer. 

     

    ETA: if he is in private school, this goes out the window and the school can make whatever policy they want, even though it isn't research based 

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