Retention

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by MissKH81, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. MissKH81

    MissKH81 Rookie

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    Jan 22, 2010

    I have always been dead set against retaining a student. However, after 8 years of teaching, I think I may have to do so for the first time. Here's the scoop.

    To make a looooong story short. Boy in my class comes to my 4th grade class and is doing terribly. No homework, reading way below grade level, and unmotivated. Since his parents missed parent night way back in september, a week later I had a "Back to School night" for mom in order to orient her with how my classroom works. Boy cries and doesnt want to come to school...so she keeps him home CONSTANTLY. This pattern continues. Misses school at least twice weekly. I suffocate him with positive reinforcement, use interventions/differentiated instruction. Send an enormous amount of emails to mom. Mom continues to keep him home from school "because he doesn't like it."

    Parent teacher conferences. Parents skip it. Have to reschedule (and they were 1 and 1/2 hours late to the reschedule.) Mom and dad getting divorced and pointing fingers at each other. I tell them I want to follow up in Jan. She now writes his homework for him (literally pen to paper)

    Here's January. Principal now has to be involved in our follow up meeting because the parents are uncooperative and the boy is SERIOUSLY falling behind. He's now missed 29 days of school. We've had to reschedule this follow up twice. Only way parents will come is if it's at 7 pm...so we agree. This will be next week.

    The problem is....this pattern has been this way since Kindergarten. Due to his excessive absences....it's difficult to tell if he has a reading issue or it's just his home life/attendance. Why am I the first teacher bringing this issue to the table???

    I may need to retain him. Any thoughts?
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 22, 2010

    No help.

    Just an observation: Compulsory education is the law around here. I think it's time for the principal to get a whole lot more involved.
     
  4. MissKH81

    MissKH81 Rookie

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    Jan 22, 2010

    What's sad is the parents are making me "the bad guy." The parents do not make him responsible for homework at home when he misses, and they do it for him. They let him stay at home when he wants.
    I am the ONLY person in this kid's life who pushes him to work hard. Not to brag, but kids love my class. We work hard and have fun. But when you are constantly having to "catch up" on material that you don't understand, that's not a whole lot of fun. His parents are making school an "option" and trying to be a friend. So I'm the bad guy because I make him work hard and mommy and daddy don't.
     
  5. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Jan 22, 2010

    We have an attendance court in our county. Parents go before a special judge at the courthouse if a child misses so many days of school. They can be fined quite heavily. After ten days absence, the parents get a notice form the school. After fifteen, they get an official notice from the county. Then they are brought in.

    But with your situation, without that resource available, I think I would go ahead and suggest that he be retained and see what the parents say. Will it change the pattern? I think I'd also see if the principal is willing to get the county/district social worker involved.

    To me, he's a definite candidate for retention.
     
  6. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Jan 22, 2010

    I can retain students if they miss more than a set number of days. I never have done this, but mentioning that it is a possibility has gotten through to parents who are lax about attendance. That may not be the case in your state, but I would definitely investigate truancy consequences in your area and start whatever legal actions are necessary.
     
  7. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jan 23, 2010

    In my area a child is mandatorily retained if they have a certain number of unexcused absences. They are also sent to truancy court and parents have been jailed around here for allowing their child to become truant. The judge who runs that court is very fair to the parents and gives them every opportunity to improve but some parents just need the book thrown at them to bring them to their senses. Children's services have been called in because this is also neglect. I agree that you can't justify a decision to send that child to the next grade. He needs to catch up on too many skills.
     
  8. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jan 23, 2010

    I just spoke with my 1st grader's dad yesterday about how I do not if his son will be able to pass to the 2nd grade. The boy has ADD and we do not have any special services at our school to help him. On top of it, it is an English speaking school, and this just compounds the problem because English, for almost all of these kids, are their 2nd language. The father was very receptive and put the responsibility on his son, which has seemed to be very typical at least here. The kids, even 1st graders, have responsibility. I suggested that a Spanish-speaking school might be better for him. In any case, when a child has to be retained, then that's what we need to do for the betterment of the student. I used to teach at a highschool where if the student had X amount of unexcused absences, they were to be retained. I think that fact that his parents skipped out on parent-teacher conferences says a lot about how seriously they take this, which doesn't seem to be very...Just han in there, it seems you have this student's best interest in mind...
     
  9. tgim

    tgim Habitué

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    Jan 23, 2010

    How in the world did he ever get to 4th grade!? He must be intelligent if he made it this far - but what is missed in the classroom that cannot be made up via make-up work is INSTRUCTION. Seriously, if I had a parent doing a student's work - no way I can know if the student KNOWS the material. It would go in the trash. Can you also get the school social worker or counselor involved? It definitely sounds like a truancy issue and parenting issues and educational issues all wrapped up into one bundle. Missing 29 days out of approximately 100 (we hit our 100-day mark this week :) ) without a major illness is quite irresponsible on the part of the parents. How will they ever parent this kid as a teen when they give in like this????
     
  10. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

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    Jan 23, 2010

    If a student misses 3 unexcused days we have to turn the parents into truancy monitoring. I'm retaining 2 students this year. One is 2 years below grade level, fights EVERY DAY, and refuses to do the work that is on his level. The other student is on the kindergarten level in both reading and math.

    We have no choice to retain some kids. Did you refer this kid to get evaluated? Make sure you document all the interventions you've been using.
     
  11. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    Jan 23, 2010

    The whole family needs to GET WITH IT!:help:
    The kid is running the show and now that his parents are getting a divorce, he's going to have a lot more PLAYING GROUND. He's going to be playing his parents against each other and little does he know, THAT HE IS THE ONE THAT IS GOING TO SUFFER in the long run. He NEEDED SOME SERIOUS HELP, like yesterday!
    You are doing wonders and don't let the parents tell you any different. I hope you will be able to get the right people involved. The teachers b4 you should have done something a long time ago. What are their justifications? (NO:(TIME?)
    May you find joy in knowing that you are the one who can make a POSITIVE:angel: DIFFERENCE in this child's life.:hugs:
    Rebel1
     
  12. tgim

    tgim Habitué

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    Jan 23, 2010

    Well said, Rebel1!
     
  13. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

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    Jan 23, 2010

    Do you have a counselor at school? I would refer this to them. At our school there is a social services person for the district who will conduct home visits. The couselor could refer this student and family to social services. The unecused absences is a red flag to me of child abuse or neglect. Perhaps it is not the child playing the parents, but the parents neglecting or using this child.
     
  14. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Jan 23, 2010

    Same here - and the number is pretty low, like 6 days per semester. Find out your laws. You may not decide to pursue retention, but you may be able to scare the parents into sending the kid to school.

    We also have a PPW (pupil personnel worker) who tracks down non-attendees, has parents in for meetings, and basically, just bugs the heck out of them until they get better attendance. Do you have a staff member with that role? Or a truant officer? If not, it may be time to include DCFS. This kid is getting the short end of the stick.
     
  15. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Jan 24, 2010

    The principal/super can file a truancy complaint at the town court
     

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