stressed about retention meeting

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by SueHue, May 23, 2007.

  1. SueHue

    SueHue Comrade

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    May 23, 2007

    I have a retention meeting on Friday. It's not my first, but it's making me nervous. I really want some help mentally preparing myself for the meeting with mom.

    The meeting for this child was actually held last week, but mom did not show up (despite 5 phone/paper/mail reminders). The principal and I decided to retain him for many reasons. After the paperwork was sent to his house, his mom called the school on Monday to reschedule! The AP rescheduled, not realizing that the meeting was already held. The principal really wants the mom to come to school, so she is accommodating the request.

    Our reasons for retention include: He is the worst behaved student in all of kindergarten. He doesn't know all of his letters, he knows 4 letter sounds, and he can barely hold a pencil (poor fine motor skills). He missed +40% of the school year. If he started first grade next year, he would be so far behind, his behavior issues will only get worse.

    Part of me thinks that mom is going to argue that he should be in special ed. She will get an additional $160 per month of welfare money if he qualifies (who made up that rule?). However, she has never fulfilled her part of the bargain in his behavior contract, so I feel that can't be considered at this time because we haven't exhausted all options yet.

    I want to be prepared and professional when she walks in the door. How do I tell her in a professional manner that he must be retained? Also, he should not be allowed to attend the first week of school next year without his mother present (I'm afraid he will have one of his violent reactions, scaring the younger children and the other parents). What can I do to make myself heard by this mother? How can I require her to stay with her son at school when I know she is poor and should be working? UGH! I am not looking forward to this meeting!
     
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  3. mommaruthie

    mommaruthie Aficionado

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    May 23, 2007

    wow, are you allowed to require such requests from the mom. If this child is not ese then how can you make such a demand on the parent?
    Retention should be based on facts. Take a deep breath, and remove any EMOTIONS from this issue. This child did or did not meet the required goals for promotion or this child did not attend the required number of days for promotion.

    as you said:
    Our reasons for retention include: He is the worst behaved student in all of kindergarten. He doesn't know all of his letters, he knows 4 letter sounds, and he can barely hold a pencil (poor fine motor skills). He missed +40% of the school year. If he started first grade next year, he would be so far behind, his behavior issues will only get worse
    Do you have documentation to substantiate the reason for retention, such as your parent conferences thru out the year, work logs, behavior logs, grade book, attendance card, lay out the key concepts of the grade level and put check marks on those the child DID do well, and X for those DID NOT MASTER.

    Think of some positives also because mom might need to hear it FIRST!
     
  4. Musicalgator

    Musicalgator Companion

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    May 23, 2007

    At our school, if a student has a horrible attendance record we won't test b/c you wouldn't be able to rule out between what they should being there all year and what they don't know b/c they weren't here.
     
  5. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    May 23, 2007

    My district is like Musicalgator's. I don't think parents that can't get their child to school should be getting public assistance. They wouldn't get paid at a job if they weren't there.
     
  6. Sheila

    Sheila Comrade

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    May 23, 2007

    I agree with sticking strictly with the facts. "The district's expectation for alphabet is this _____. Your child's alphabet score score is this _____." Make sure you have your scores readily available during the conference and the district expectations.
    In regards to the behavior, I would really consider rephrasing the "worst behaved student in all of Kindergarten" Something like very poor social skills is a much nicer way to say her son is immature. "__________ has very poor social skills. The district has certain behavioral expectations for Kindergartners. Fo example, one expectation is how to wait and take turns. ______________ has a very hard time doing this. One example was when _____________________".
    Be very specific and keep reinforcing district expectations so it does not seem you are picking on the child. I agree with mommaruthie about starting off with the positives. "_______________ really enjoys ___________." "____________ has shown growth in _____"
    I hope these help and wish you luck with your conference.

    Also, have information and ideas handy to give to her so she can work with her child over the summer. Even if you know she won't, it will look good that you did.
     
  7. SueHue

    SueHue Comrade

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    May 24, 2007

    Hey everyone, thanks for putting everything into perspective for me. I really needed to vent about the situation to get it all out of my system before I see the mother on Friday. When I typed that, I was at the height of my anger. It was really unprofessional for me to say that "he is the worst behaved student in all of Kindergarten." That was my anger speaking. It was a really emotional day, especially since other teachers were sharing their thoughts about him. I really believe that he will thrive with consistency in his life, so I want to do everything in my power to provide it. Thanks for helping me see the most professional way and most sensitive way to approach the meeting!
     
  8. Sheila

    Sheila Comrade

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    May 27, 2007

    So...how did the meeting go?
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 27, 2007


    Nope, not at all. It might have been unprofessional to SAY it at the meeting. Venting is what we're here for... you did exactly the right thing. You got it in writing ahead of time them got perspective and the chance to re-think your points before the meeting.
     
  10. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    May 28, 2007

    Keep stressing that you want him to have time to mature so he can have a successful year in kindergarten before moving on to the demands of first grade. After all, we do what we do because we want what is best for each child. Right?
     
  11. SueHue

    SueHue Comrade

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    May 28, 2007

    I think the meeting went as well as could be expected. She did sign the required paperwork to retain. I remained really calm (until school was out, and I could vent privately to other teachers). Overall, I was professional. Below are some details:

    Mom cried, I think it was due to the stress at home trying to deal with him. She said he missed school one day last week to go to counseling. I'm not sure I trust that, as she's said that before. The principal must have been aware of this, because she told mom that it may him qualify for special services, so she should keep taking him.

    The principal and I took turns explaining our reasoning behind placing him in kindergarten. Mom didn't want to hear it. She was foward enough to tell us she wants him placed as a first grader in a special day class next year. We explained that he needs to qualify for the services, so we described the process of having him assessed for special education, ie tests that he'll be given, time lines, etc. I started to say that there will be an issue regarding his attendance (usually, the student needs to be present for 80% of the days he is registered), but the principal politely cut me off. I think she just wanted to get those retention papers signed. One thing at a time, right?

    Eventually, mom asked us who his teacher would be if he was in kindergarten again. We both stated that it has not been determined yet. Mom gave me this look of distasted, like she did not want it to be me, but I might have been reading into it. We told her that it had yet to be determined. She asked if he could be in the afternoon class next year. I looked at the principal with the "NO!" look, but she still said we could make that happen. Afternoon kindergarten has a very inconsistent schedule, and this child needs consistency! The mom said that she needs him to be in school in the afternoon due to her work schedule. I have several theories:
    1. She thinks I will be teaching AM next year, and this will give him a different teacher.
    2. She doesn't want to have to wake up early to get him on the bus before 7AM
    3. She's telling the truth

    Anyway, next year, the afternoon teachers will be me, a teacher who is about to retire who can't stand him, and a male teacher known for being really mellow (he teaches another grade right now.) Honestly, I think it will be best if I am his teacher again. I know his triggers, I know what needs to be done for him, and I'll be pushing his mom next year. Tomorrow we sit down to tenatively create the class lists for next year. We'll see what everyone else says!

    In the end, I accomplished what I set out to do. Of course, I was emotionally spent afterwards.

    I appreciate everyone's assistance and support! The whole year has been trying, and I've had a bunch of help from everyone here. Thanks!!! I couldn't have gotten throught the year without you all;)
     

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