flunking 2nd grade

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by loraxian, Mar 26, 2007.

  1. loraxian

    loraxian Rookie

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    My son's 2nd grade teacher, counselors etc have recommended special ed for my just turned 8 year old. In addition they are hinting strongly towards having him repeat 2nd grade.

    My son has been tested up one side and down the other. His problem areas are reading and writing. He is above average in audio/verbal comprehension and vocabulary. He is average in math. He has no behavioral problems other than an inability to stay focused on his school work.

    The MD says he looks like a healthy kid.

    My wife and I are basically happy with his teacher and the administration and have confidence in their judgment.

    It looks like retention is going to be a close call. My wife is devastated over it because she thinks it will be very hard on my son. I'm sure she's right. We've been considering a move because we are not pleased with the direction the school district is headed (the principle and our teacher are jumping ship at the end of the year). My wife thinks maybe this would be a good time to move on giving our son a fresh start at a new school if it turns out retention is in order. Moving represents a hardship for us for a variety of reasons I won’t bore you with but we'll do it if it appears to be in the best interest of our son.

    Would any of you veteran teachers comment? How can we ease the pain for my son if he is held back and has to watch his friends move on?
     
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  3. teachingmomof4

    teachingmomof4 Groupie

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    Forgive me for being bold but I think just picking up and moving schools will not help your son in the least. Obviously, if the teacher is recommending retention, there is good reason for it. You as parents have to consent to it (at least here in Washington) but s/he is a trained professional who is looking out for the best interest of your son as well.

    To me, picking up and leaving only because he could possibly be repeating second grade is just leaving your troubles behind instead of facing them. You said that moving will present a hardship to you and your family so why put them through it. Chances are, when you get to the new school, the same issues will be there. Has he had these issues (attention, reading, and writing) in previous grades?

    I can understand your devistation and how you must feel. However, things will only get tougher for your son as he moves on in the grades. It sounds as though he struggles at least in reading and writing. Could he possibly get extra help in those areas but stay in the same grade as his friends? Think about the long term effects of both sides of the issue. It sounds as though you are very concerned about him and his well-being. I am not saying retention is the certain way to go but I would just suggest that you don't rule it out. His teacher obviously cares enough about him to know that he is struggling and wants him to succeed. Good luck to you and your family as you decide how to handle this situation. :love:
     
  4. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    I just wanted to add that I think the poster meant his son would repeat the second grade (if recomend), but they are considering moving because the school seems to be headed in a direction that they don't feel comfortable with.

    That said, I think if you truly feel that the school and/or district is not offering the best educational experience, you should consider moving. On the other hand, you have to be realistic about dealing with whatever hardships it would bring on your family? Does the good of moving to a new school outweigh the possible negative effects of moving? Honestly, if it was me and i was truly unhappy with the school and the teachers are not supportive of the administration, I would leave or find a private school.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Would private/religious school be a cheaper alternative than moving? Are you otherwise happy with the area or is the school a sign of the way things are headed there too?
     
  6. teachingmomof4

    teachingmomof4 Groupie

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    I hope that I was not offending you by stating my opinion so please do not think that I am saying that you are leaving your troubles behind you if you choose to move. If you are unhappy with the school then I would say, yes...take your child somewhere where he can get the help that he needs. However, as I read your post, it sounds to me as though you really like the teacher and the school but are worried about the possibility of retention. Do you know the reasons why the teacher and the principal are leaving the school? Maybe they have different assignments for next year? Family issues? Spouse being transferred? You said that the school district was headed in the wrong direction??? What is happening? I hope I am not prying I am just trying to give you my honest opinion.
     
  7. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I have seen three different students held back in either first or second grader. I really think it is harder on the parents than it is on the student. I think it is worse for a child to be held back after 4th grader. After 4th grade I think it is not socially accept by peers to stay back. This is just my personal opinion. And I really think it also, depends on the region you live in and the school that the child attends.
     
  8. michelb366

    michelb366 Comrade

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    I am a little concerned that the child has been recommended for special ed AND retention? Usually the special ed students are held to a different standard for passing to the next grade. Have you spoken to the special ed department to get their opinions?
    I also agree that retention at this age is so much better than a few years down the road, if it is required. Kids are amazingly resilient at this age. I would be a bit concerned, however, that he will be frustrated having to do 2nd grade math again if he is mastering it now.
     
  9. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Many schools will let you be in a lower grade for most of the day and then get pulled out and put in another grade level class for something the student is on level with (like math).
     
  10. loraxian

    loraxian Rookie

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    Thanks to everyone who responded. I'm seeking honest, intelligent opinions and I hope that I'm not too thin skinned to hear potentially painful comments.

    teachingmom - no, we are not interested in trying to dodge retention. We just want to do what's best. My reasoning on the move is based primarily on the situation within the school district. Due to redistricting, the teachers will be dealing with larger class sizes, a poorer demographic and standardized test scores that are already unimpressive. The principle has had to ride the bus because of fights and there have been other issues. The PTA, in which my wife and I have been active, has all but disappeared and will probably be dissolved officially next year. All that having been said, we like and respect the staff.

    Our thinking was, If our son is going to be held back anyway, maybe this would be a good time to move on to a school that enjoys a better reputation and one where our son is not known and therefor less likely to have the retention rubbed in his nose.

    I don't know the reason that the teacher and principle are leaving. I do know, however, that they both have young kids who used to attend our school. Both kids have been moved to the schools in the areas where their parents reside and now the parents are moving on.

    Aliceacc - Yes we have definitely thought about private schools. Our concern is that they may be even less equipped to deal with our sons issues than the school he's at now and may not even accept a student that requires special ed. We are going to explore this issue some more.
     
  11. loraxian

    loraxian Rookie

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    michalb366 - yes, that is exactly what we were told. Because of the special ed (which hasn't started yet, they just finished the evaluation), they view the retention issue differently. I want to make clear that at this point nobody at the school is pushing us hard on retention. They are trying to get us warmed up to the idea They clearly feel our pain and are interested in doing what's best for my son - so are we.

    cutnglue - nobody mentioned that possibility. I'll be sure and ask
     
  12. teachingmomof4

    teachingmomof4 Groupie

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    Thanks for clarifying...that makes more sense now about the idea of moving. I would explore the idea of moving schools if I were you too. Good luck to you.
     
  13. teachingmomof3

    teachingmomof3 Rookie

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    I am going through a similiar situation with my first grade daughter. It sounded as if you had discribe my daughter.

    Have you ever checked into dyslexia. Your son seems to have the same red flags as my daughter...difficulty reading but otherwise on level or slightly above level in other areas. You did not mention it, however, I want to take a guess. Did your son show delays in gross motor (physical) development as a baby/toddler. I read that that is a characteristic of dyslexia.

    Some characteristics that I have read about are:

    - delay in gross motor development
    - ability to memorize facts
    - ability to remember places and events that occured at a very young age
    -have good oral language abilities (have a vocab. beyond his years)

    I found the Wikipedia helpful.

    I would suggest asking your Pediatrian for a referral to a pediatric nurologist. The school would not suggest this...but as a professional and a mother, I do.

    Do you mind me asking what state you live in. I'm very familiar with the PA laws and it does not seem as if your school district is following them.

    Good Luck
     
  14. teachingmomof3

    teachingmomof3 Rookie

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    I have one more thought...

    If you and your wife opt for private school, keep in mind that they are not required by law to follow the laws of IDEA. It will be harder for your son to get the services that the public schools are required to provide.
     
  15. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    This is my experience here. The identified students are promoted with their peers, but are working toward different grade level expectations as outlined in their IEPs.
     
  16. ctopher

    ctopher Comrade

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    In my district we can't/don't hold students back that qualify for special ed services as long as they are meeting the progress detailed in the IEP.
     
  17. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    It almost sounds as if they're considering holding him back if he doesn't qualify for special ed.

    I don't think there would be ANY harm in going ahead and having him tested... then you know the reason for his difficulty.

    ok, re-reading and see that he already HAS been tested. Do you have the results from those tests? I don't think I'd hold him back AND put him in special ed... do one or the other, I don't think I'd do both at the same time.

    Remember, too, that getting special ed services in 2nd or 3rd grade doesn't mean he'll "be special ed" the rest of his life... lots of kids with what sound to be his type of difficulties "graduate" from that kind of a program. If he truly has a reading difficulty, holding him back without anybody targeting specifically what he needs help with isn't going to help him. But if it's just a weak area for him, it might help.

    I don't know if that helped or not.... but I hope so. ;)
     
  18. loraxian

    loraxian Rookie

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    teachingmomof3 - he has exactly the symptoms you describe with the exception of the delay in gross motor. That seemed to be about normal. The primary problems are reading and writing. Homework is agony. We've hammered away at common "site" words; the, and, or, what, etc. The next day it's like he never saw them before. If I ask him how to spell "them" he can tell me easily. If I ask him to write a sentence using the word, he might write "thm".

    We live in Missouri.

    clarnet73 - why would you not hold him back and do special ed? They've just finished the testing and we had a meeting with them Monday regarding the results. The consensus was that he qualified for special ed in reading and writing. We were told that the testing indicated a memory deficiency which kind of contradicts our observations.

    MrsC/ctopher - our school has made a big deal out of the fact that there is a big difference in the academic expectations between 2nd and 3rd grade. It is for this reason that they are leaning towards retention. If he moves on into 3rd grade, while receiving special ed, but is unable to do the work of his peers ??? I don't know? Is that worse than being held back?
     
  19. Pigger

    Pigger Companion

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    i think retention is a tough call for the parent and the teacher....because in truth you never know.

    i have only retained one kid and i think it was the right decision. I have had three retained kids in my class over the years (this is only year 4).

    take into consideration all factors, maturity, skills, attitude everything!

    i teach third grade and i think the one student who was retained benefitted from staying back....the problem i see with retaining kids at such an early age is my fear of setting them up for failure down the road....

    for example....i have a student this year who is very far below grade level (first grade reading level)...writing is very basic, bad behavior problems, etc. he was retained in kindergarten......is he at grade level? no.....but i do not believe retaining him again will benefit this child as a whole in the big picture.....im not sure he would pick up the skills if he stayed with me another year...and his home life plays a part....he won't be doing any homework, until he matures a bit and realizes that school is important.....

    i teach elementary, but i'm not interested in setting my kids up to drop out.....in my school, they love to retain kids in fourth grade....what if i retain this child this year (2nd retention) and he is retained again between fourth grade and graduation.....

    my advice, is to think about everything.....i know retention works, and i know some/many who are retained move on and have a great schooling/life......that isn't what i'm trying to say....

    just think about the child, and what is best for him...is retention at an early age going to benefit him down the road....

    the flip side which i didn't mention and i can't write a long comment on because my lunch break is up......is, will sending him on to third grade be overwhelming? work is to hard? child knows he is falling behind? can't do anything "right"? develops a bad attitude towards school.....

    i know i didn't give much advice.....i as a teacher, think it is a hard call because you never know.....good luck.
     
  20. GardenDove

    GardenDove Habitué

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    I decided to retain my own daughter after a month of first grade. She was a July 16th birthday, and our cutoff was August 1st, so she was small and less developed than the other kids. The teacher said she was holding her own, but was supportive of my decision. The Principal tried to talk me out of it. My main reason was that I felt that my daughter was extremely stressed out by first grade, was not as physically mature as her peers, and would benefit from another relatively carefree year. I'm a strong believer in not pushing kids, and pushing kids earlier and earlier seems to be the educational norm these days, which puts less mature kids at an even greater disadvantage.

    So, I insisted my daughter go back to kindergarten. I asked that she be placed with the other kindergarten teacher so that she would have a different experience. I still would not push her to reading, and she entered first grade the next year with the same teacher, not reading.

    By 3d grade she was the top reader in her grade. By 5th grade she was reading at a High School level. She is now in 6th grade and got straight As, and really enjoys reading Agatha Christe and Mary Higgens Clark, has a great group of well adjusted, high achieving friends, and is very, very happy.
     
  21. AbbyR

    AbbyR Rookie

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    If he is small for his age, I might consider retaining him, but ONLY if he does not go to special ed. I would also take a good look at his tests and see if he is honestly a special ed student or if he has a learning disability. I might also be inclined to let him go on with his class, if he is mature enough, and hire a very good tutor for reading and writing skills - and use that tutor more than once a week. It's not my child, and you know him best, but if retention is in the cards, far better to do it now than at a later grade level, if it will help. I do think you need to talk to the teacher, principal and counselor to find out exactly why they think he belongs in special ed, and why they want him retained and what effect they think either or both will have.
     
  22. teacheratheart

    teacheratheart Companion

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    Mar 27, 2007

     
  23. siverine02

    siverine02 New Member

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    As someone stated earlier, I think children at this age are a lot more resilient than we think. I've been teaching for years, and last year, fot the first time, I retained two students in first grade. They adjusted very well to their new first grade class and are now performing at a proficient level, which they would have not probably achieved had they moved on to second grade. I don't think kids in K-2nd grade are being set up for failure if they get retained. Older than that, and the failure probably comes from the social stigma of being the kid that flunked, but in second and younger grades, I really don't think that stigma is there.

    Having said that, it seems to me that your son has more issues than just "not getting it". Dislexia sounds like a possiblity, as does processing deficiencies. If that's the case, then retention will probably help very little. Your little guy will then probably need the help of a resource specialist at your school, which it sounds like he'll be getting soon.

    Best of luck. I know how frustrating the homework can get for you. I've had students with similar difficulties in my classroom, and it's unbelievable that we can review "the" one day and then it'll be gone the next. Hopefully your son will have someone patient enough and who will keep this in mind.
     
  24. loraxian

    loraxian Rookie

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    How do I get a yes or no diagnosis on the Dyslexia? Everybody says "well, maybe" but they wont commit.

    Processing Deficiencies? Who makes the call on that nasty sounding diagnosis?

    When you say "resource specialist" do you mean the special education teachers?

    Teachingmomof3 mentioned a pediatric neurologist. I don't have a problem taking him to one but our pediatrician looked him over asked a lot of questions and then told us that on the basis of the exam he appeared to be a healthy, happy kid. She told us that any diagnosis of ADD, or the like, would be based pretty much on our comments and those of his teachers.

    AbbyR - We have him with a tutor about three times a week right now and previously we tried Sylvan.

    What determines whether a kid is held back or goes to special ed? I think I understand the logistical side of it (the series of test and evaluation by Special Ed, etc)?

    Here is my point - a battery of test interpreted by an "expert" indicates that our son needs special ed. At the same time I have two teachers and an administrator, who I'm putting my faith and trust in, hinting strongly that he should be held back. SEVERAL veteran educators/parents on this forum are saying one action or the other may be in order but question why our school would want to do both.

    Why would they suggest doing both? Why the conflicting opinions?

    I greatly appreciate everyones comments and I apologize if my tone sound unappreciative. It's just frustrating.
     
  25. Mizz Lucy

    Mizz Lucy Guest

    Mar 27, 2007

    What does your son think?
    Sometimes they have some answers.
    Does he play with children younger than him?
    Was he a late bloomer in other things?
    If he wasn't a late bloomer elsewhere, repeating may only temporarily solve the problem.
     
  26. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    It seems to me that if he's really only behind in language arts, but on target in math, what benefit does repeating the ENTIRE 2nd grade curriculum have? It will make him stronger in stuff he already knows, but I think I'd be more likely to retain a kid who's behind in SEVERAL areas.

    That being said, I know 3rd in most places is a HUGE step from 2nd, and he needs to have solid reading skills, OR a good plan in place to help him, to have success in 3rd.

    The reason I said I probably wouldn't do both at the same time is simply because I know that a lot of kids would see repeating a grade as a failure... but also because a lot of kids would see the "extra help" as being a failure... you son might be able to handle both, but a lot of kids probably would have difficulty with that. Does that make sense?
     
  27. teachingmomof3

    teachingmomof3 Rookie

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    I hate to be the one to tell you this, but a pediatrian can not look over your child and determine if he has a learning disability. Your son NEEDS to be seen by a nurologist. Tell...don't ask...your ped. that you need a referral.

    Having dyslexia or anyother LD does not mean your son is not healthy and happy.

    I wish there was a way to have contact with you and your wife. Shared resources would be grate. There are support groups for just about everything in my area but none for Dyslexia.
     
  28. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I am a firm believer on second opinions anyways. For example, a doctor told my father that I could hear perfectly fine. Guess what....I'm deaf. My point is, I wouldn't go by a general ped as teaching mom says. Any way you look at it, you have many choices to consider and I personally think it is highly admirable of you as a parent to look into multiple choices and consider them before deciding to follow someone blindly. There are parents who are contrary sometimes I think based on ego and there are parents who are too clueless or lazy to do anything. Anyone who is taking the time to see where this issue lies and where it can go, is a heck of a good parent. Hopefully I don't get flamed for that highly flammable comment. I made it to point out that being open to all opinions and taking time to listen is important.
     
  29. jitterbug2

    jitterbug2 Rookie

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    I can truly relate to you right now as I am dealing with a similar situation with a child in my second grade class. He is very behind in his reading and language skills and we are in the process of evaluating him for special education. I must say that I have forwarned his mother that there may be a possibility that we want to hold him back in second grade again even if he does recieve special education simply because he has missed so much the past few years. I don't know how far behind your child is in second grade, but I know that in my circumstance, this child is still on an emergent level (he could not spell his name when he came to me at the beginning of the year). I would be very afraid for my student if I simply moved him to third grade, even with an IEP.

    As for the social aspect of retention, I can say that I was never in agreeance with retention until I saw what it can do. I am a first year teacher and I always thought that retention would bring kids down psychologically. I have found that it truly does exactly the opposite when it is done effectively. I have a child that was retained last year, so I am having him his second year in second grade. From what I have heard, he had a horrible year last year trying to keep up and develop his reading. Now he is soaring! His self-esteem has gone through the roof because now he is suddenly one of my top readers. He made new friends very quickly and rarely mentions the fact that he was held back. He truly has confidence in himself now and I think he has begun to love school again.

    As for the math thing, I have to say that any decent teacher would move him ahead if he is that good at math. They wouldn't hold him back in that area simply because he is back in second grade. Also, this will be one of those areas that he can "show off" in. He already knows this stuff and he will be able to build his confidence through math.
     
  30. cb4pebbles

    cb4pebbles Companion

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    Mar 27, 2007

    Thoughts and Ideas

    If your child has a tendency of flipping letters and numbers when he writes or if he tends to read things/sound things out backwards he may be Scotopic. Ask him if the words and letters move when he writes. Ask him if the white on the paper bothers his eyes. Scotopic Sensitivity (or Irlen Syndrome) is a visual perception disorder. This is sometimes the cause of poor reading. Children with this problem usually need a colored overlay. Reading will usually improve with an overlay. Also, if you go to www.etacuisenaire.com you can find highlighter tape to use in his books. I have been using the tape to highlight phonics "tricks" (such as the "th", "ch", "sh", "tion", "oy", etc.) so that the child remembers that it is a trick and the letters don't need to be sounded out individually. I also use the tape to highlight words that are repeated in a text. It is a visual reminder to the child that they have seen the word before. If there is a occupational therapist at your school he/she may need to observe your child for a visual perception disorder. He also may have a left brain/right brain issue, such as having trouble crossing the midline of his body. Can he take his right hand and touch his left knee with no problem or vice versa? These are things that the occupational therapist can watch for when doing the observation. I hope this helps.
     
  31. teacherlissa

    teacherlissa Comrade

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    Mar 31, 2007

    If your child has average to above average comprehension and is about average in math, I would think that he does have some issues related to dyslexia. For some reason, teachers and special ed don't want to recognize dyslexia. It is considered under a "Reading Learning Disablity" label. My principal and special ed teachers recently visited a presentation on RAD lenses. A student, who I had and was diangosed special ed, also attended. RAD lenses are a special pair of "glasses" that students wear when reading. The student that attended fumbled over a reading passage, skipping words, reversing letters, etc. When he wore the glasses he read the passage fluently and efficiently. His mother started crying. Please check out this website and see what you think. My principal was so impressed that she is scheduling a presentation at our school along with purchasing several pairs of glasses (whether she has to pay for them out of her pocket or what school funds).

    http://www.readfluent.com/?trigger=cjstory

    (I don't know much about the product- just what I heard word of mouth from my principal and special ed teachers.)
     

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