Academic Awards & Resource Room

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by EmptyClassroom, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. EmptyClassroom

    EmptyClassroom Rookie

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    Apr 13, 2012

    We're at that point in the school year where awards are given out based on merit. All of our kids are eligible, including resource classes, so special education students are well-represented. I have a question regarding school, district, and state-based awards. We have a student with an IQ below 50 who qualifies for a major academic award. It's based on grades, test scores, and extra-curricular activities. His grades are all A's, since almost all classes are at the FMD level. His extra-curriculuars are being "manager" of a couple sports in which he does absolutely nothing. These are cream-of-the-crop awards and I feel he doesn't really qualify. We force our other students to attempt regular classes and general curriculum and they don't qualify because they earn their C's and D's honesty in there; this child is sheltered in resource rooms at all times because he physically, mentally,and emotionally can't handle anything higher. Yet, he's acknowledged as being one of top 1% of our students! Anyone else come across this? I know it sounds blasphemous and hypocritical to complain, but I feel this is unfair to ALL of our students since he technically only "earned" the good behavior and attendance points. He's not even really aware of what he's receiving and why, yet we have other special ed kids crying all evening because they're A students legitimately and not included--not to mention 500 others! Thoughts? Suggestions on how to keep this from happening again?
     
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  3. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Apr 15, 2012

    This was a problem in my HS too, and I hate to say no one ever came up with a solution for it. We had a "top 25 seniors" and every year there were at least one or two students from the severe needs sped class who were doing no academic classes at all in the top 25- leaving someone on the academic track out. It was also always an issue because my school didn't weight GPA for AP or honors classes, so even in gen ed kids could take the most basic level classes, get A's, and be considered on the same level as the kids taking all of the rigorous AP classes. The reasoning we always heard was that colleges supposedly un-weight GPAs anyway. My dad's district used to have different awards for each "track" and a valedictorian for each "track" as well- AP, honors, college prep, all the way down to the life skills sped classes. When they got to the point where they had 12 valedictorians, they basically decided enough was enough and quit having awards or titles such as valedictorian for ANY track. Do your other students really realize that this child is getting the award and they are not? If it's that big of a deal, maybe he shouldn't get the award b/c he didn't do the academics (you said he didn't even realize it anyway, so I assume not getting it would have no affect on him).
     
  4. EmptyClassroom

    EmptyClassroom Rookie

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    Apr 15, 2012

    I talked w/ the counselor, who is apparently the only person involved in the decision, and she said he has the 'points' and gets it. Sounds like little I can do this year but I'm approaching members of our school advisory board about forming a committee to evaluate ALL school awards and titles in the future. It sounds like a loophole that could cause lots of issues in the future. It's happened before, but never this extreme. I just feel bad for those who didn't get in for legitimate reasons--like split custody kids who are limited as far as extracurriculars--and he's in because he's fantasy coach of the team that lets him stand on the sidelines with them. I love this kid, and I'm all for rewarding his efforts, but they could call it something else, or allow one more in to keep it fair, or something.
     
  5. Red Apple

    Red Apple Rookie

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    Apr 15, 2012

    I like the committee idea. What about setting forth criteria, like grades and extra circulars but not having a limit as to the number of students who can receive it? That way no one is left out if they meet the qualifications.
     
  6. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Apr 15, 2012

    I understand your concerns.

    I also know that a couple students from the severe needs room had a huge presence and impact on many of our students (speaking of when I was high school). I like the idea of recognizing those students--for the student, the student's family, and for the student body--but I also think of how someone who more accurately meets qualifications is being left unrecognized.

    I would speak to others you're close to at school...see how they feel and go from there.
     
  7. deefreddy

    deefreddy Companion

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    Apr 16, 2012

    Our HS designates classes that most of our Mild/Mod/Sev students as Mod classes. Many of them would also qualify for awards, but instead of an academic award, we have a Principal's Award that goes to them, along with a few other students who exhibit great leadership qualities but may or may not excel academically. They get recognized for their acheivements (I think its HUGE that he was a team "manager" cause most of my students would do a couple of times then give up.) It is right they get recognized, but a different award might be better.
     
  8. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Apr 16, 2012

    I think that you're wrong to make a big deal out of this.

    How many opportunities will this kid have in his life to win an award like this? Let him have his moment. It sounds like he has been doing the best that he can. Isn't that what we expect of all our students?
     
  9. US Teacher

    US Teacher Rookie

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    Apr 26, 2012

    This is one reason I don't like grades, particularly when they're used to determine awards and other recognition. I've been in this boat too. I've always wished that they could come up with awards that were based on other criteria. Everyone has merits, even if they are kids with low grades, and if we can put a man on the moon, we should be able to develop recognitions where everyone is on a level playing and still respect the enormous diversity among our population.
     
  10. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Apr 26, 2012

    That is a two sided coin. In giving this academic award to this student it takes it from one that really qualifies academically.

    This student may be a wonderful asset to the school, but academically he is not. He really isn't getting academic grades but grades that do not count for a diploma.

    This to me verges on let's give everyone a trophy for trying hard. That isn't what the award was designed for.

    Maybe the deciding factor is whether or not the student will be receiving a real diploma.
     
  11. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Apr 26, 2012

    :agreed:

    There is probably a more fitting award that could be given to this student.
     
  12. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Apr 26, 2012

    I absolutely agree.
     
  13. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Apr 27, 2012

    It seems like it would be more fitting to perhaps give an award to a student in each track (my high school had like 4 tracks for math, AP/Honors, Normal, Slightly weaker math skills than others (Algebra 1 was split up into two years and Geometry was taught with an easier curriculum), inclusion)
     

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