**UPDATE**: Son Retained in 2nd Grade

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by kmom, Jun 27, 2006.

  1. kmom

    kmom Rookie

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    Refer to this thread to see what I'm talking about:
    http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=20391

    Summer school is over on tomorrow and Ive had a talk with one of the principals and she's saying that they want to speak with me and hear what I think.

    Now I'm at this crossroad again. To retain or not. I've got tonight to think about it before my meeting in the morning.

    She basically states that although his reading is fine, he has considerable trouble with math and finishing assignments. She stated that they can test him for a learning disability (I asked if they could do this before and they said maybe I should go to my doctor which I did and she didn't see anything medically wrong with him).

    I'm 50/50 on this decision now. He has barely passed the standards for getting into the third grade. I asked the teacher would anything be done differently for his case and she stated that he would have a new teacher and her style would be different. That was about it. the curriculum would be the same.

    I think he needs considerable help but then I don't want to keep him back if all it will take on my end is some really good tutoring help in math.

    Please help again with any suggestions on questions that I should be asking before my meeting tomorrow.

    Thanks again everyone for all of your help.
     
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  3. WITeach

    WITeach Cohort

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    Is he having trouble finishing assignments in class or for homework? Did they tell you in what areas of math he is struggling in?
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    This is your decision. But it seems to me that your son is struggling an awful lot just to keep up. Second grade shouldn't be that hard. Sure, SOME studying, but not what it sounds like your son is going through. I've tutored HS math for 6 years. That hour a week (and the $60 I charge) is a lot for some kids, particularly the ones who are really trying their best from 8:30 to 3.

    I vote for retention.

    The best of luck with you as you grapple with this one.
     
  5. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    I agree that a lot of red flags are going up! Don't ignore them. Retention may be the gift of time he needs. You owe him that.
     
  6. kmom

    kmom Rookie

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    He is struggling with finishing schoolwork and homework. He is just not able to do most of the assignments alone. As far as math, he's struggling with the basic math like adding and subtracting. Especially double digit numbers. This is like 1st and 2nd grade math he is still taking a long time to complete, if he does that at all.
     
  7. kmom

    kmom Rookie

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    I have to stop listening to family and others who don't have first hand info. They see him and know him and think he is a smart kid, which for the most part I think he is but they just don't really know how hard it is.

    I have another question. Could television be the culprit also? I must admit, while I'm trying to get prepared for the night and the next day, I let him watch tv. Do any of you think this is a problem with his attention span?
     
  8. kmom

    kmom Rookie

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    I'm thinking that is what he needs too. I've been told by the school administrators that third grade is going to be difficult for him. They have to work independently and the math is going to be harder.

    Do any of you have any insight on third grade work?

    And I think I know deep down what I have to do, but there's something inside going well "maybe you can work REALLY hard with him with the math and he'll get it".

    Oh God help me. I just don't want to make a mistake either way and mess him up. I feel like I already have failed him and to do it again would be just terrible for us both.
     
  9. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    I'm glad you did! I had and have the same problem with my well intentioned family! They don't see my son's as having autism or ANY kind of disability. I don't bother trying to convince them.....it is a waste of my time.
    I'm not sure if I understood you correctly about testing. I definitely think you should have tests run on your son. A complete work up.
     
  10. kmom

    kmom Rookie

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    What is a complete work up as far as testing is concerned?
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    OK, I'm a totally unbiased stranger. All I know of you is what you've posted here. So you can take my word for this.

    YOU HAVE NOT FAILED HIM!!!!! Read that again... and again. YOU HAVE NOT FAILED HIM!!!!!!

    Each of us enters this world with different strenghs and weaknesses. It's not something we can control. Your son may be incredibly bright. He may have all sorts of talents. He may be a good son and a great friend. He may grow up to be a wonderful teacher who really understands how some kids struggle. He may be a great artist or speechwriter or lead a political party. (I'm saying that as a good thing :) )

    But right now, he's struggling in school. And it's breaking your heart, just as all of our hearts break when we see our kids having a problem that we can't fix for them. All you can do is think and pray and hope with all your heart that the decision you've made is the right one.

    But do not, ever, for a second, think that you have failed this child. FAiling him would be making a decision based on convenience or appearances. You've sweated long and hard over this one.

    Take it from one mom to another: :you're doing a GREAT job with your son!!!!
     
  12. WITeach

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    I teach 3rd and the kids who have the hardest time in math are usually the ones who are not proficient in basic fact recall of addition and subtraction facts. We begin multiplication early in the year and dip into division. We do 3-digit addition and subtraction which require knowledge of the basic add/sub. facts.
     
  13. Rosieo

    Rosieo Enthusiast

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    kmom if they said they can test him for a learning disability then that would be my first step BEFORE making my decision to retain him.
     
  14. kathy2215

    kathy2215 Companion

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    I ama special education teacher. Look inside yourslef, if you believe that he hasa disbailty have him tested and don not retain him. He can get modifications that will help him out. But do what you believe in
     
  15. kmom

    kmom Rookie

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    I see. I still struggle with math so I know the pain my son faces. But I got lost when fractions came along. It's so vivid I remember the grade and even the desk I was sitting at. LOL

    I have a hard time getting him to do subtraction problems alone. I know division is going to be a bear. He still needs work on his foundation.
     
  16. flteacher7

    flteacher7 Rookie

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    Retention vs. promotion

    Kmom,

    I've been keeping up with this thread since it's been created and have been following along with you as you have been working with your son. I hesitated from replying again because I didn't want to offer advice without being in the situation, seeing and working with the child, and reviewing the test scores. As a first grade teacher moving up to second grade, I would hope that my students are able to add/subtract numbers with little difficulty in order to ENTER second grade (some might still use counters or a number line, and the facts might not all be automatic, but they should be comfortable with addition and subtraction). We did double digit +/- (without regrouping) and as I look at the curriculum for second, it does get more advanced. It seems like math is the area of difficulty for your son.

    You said that the school said his reading was "fine." Does fine mean that he is on grade level? Does he have difficulty completing work involving reading comprehension - passages and other activities? As you might know, as students get older, the emphasis shifts from learning to read to reading to learn. If he has any difficulties with reading or comprehension, that could come into the decision making for next year. Here in Florida, there is a HUGE emphasis placed on a test that students take called the FCAT which begins in 3rd grade, and from what I have heard, third is A LOTmore difficult than second. Like I said, I do not have enough knowledge about the third grade curriculum (and your son) to determine how much he would struggle.

    How is his writing? You said he had difficulty completing assignments - in all areas? What is his attitude towards school? Does he feel frustrated that things are difficult for him?

    Like I said, I cannot (even as an educator with seven years experience) really feel comfortable offering specific advice on a child I haven't worked with and observed in more detail, but from what you seem to say, I feel that you think that retention is in his best interest. This is NOT a failure on his part OR your part, and retention is sometimes the best way for a struggling student to catch up, gain self-esteem, and develop a love for reading, writing (and who knows - even MATH!) Don't let your family, friends, and even well-intentioned strangers cloud your best judgement because you and your son's teachers know him the best academically.

    As for testing for a learning disability, sometimes this option is given to parents when the retention issue comes into question or for students who are not progressing sufficiently, but if you (and the school) feels that he is going to benefit more from the retention and time to develop his skills more, I wouldn't just send him on to third with the thoughts that he might qualify for a special program after being tested. Yes, if he does have a learning disability he will be offered assistance, but testing for a learning disability can be a lengthy process, and one that most likely cannot be completed by the start of the new school year. (In our large school district it takes about a whole school year to identify, test, assess, observe, monitor, and ultimately place a student in special education if he/she qualifies for these services). That would possible mean the END of his third grade year if he does go on. It doesn't mean that he can't receive tutorial services next year, depending on what services that school provides. It really depends on the school.

    Anyway, I can see that you are truly a caring individual and want to do what's best for your child. That is one of your greatest strengths and will serve you and your son well throughout his educational career. I know that the school wants to know your thoughts and I don't think that there's anything wrong with telling them that you are unsure. See what other information they have to offer, the results of working with him so far, and what they would recommend in their best educational judgement. I would see what they have to say, and then if necessary, take a few days to think over what you discussed.

    Well, that's enough for now - I do tend to go on and on! :) Best of luck, let us know how it all turns out, and don't hesitate to post again if you have any questions. I'm pretty new to this board, but it seems like a great and supportive group, full of teachers, parents, professionals, students, etc. who are all eager to help and/or provide support for you. Best wishes! :)
     
  17. kmom

    kmom Rookie

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    Thank you so much for your positive words. I needed that. I know I can do better though. I know deep down that he will succeed. I feel like though I almost have to become his second teacher in order to get him together. And I just don't have a lot of time. My schedule and resources are already stretched thin, so I really have to think outside of the box to figure out what I'm going to do.

    I've thought about changing schools but I've already done this once. I've thought about private school with smaller classes. He seems to do much better with more attention. But the cost I'm not so sure I can afford.

    Thanks again for your words!
     
  18. kmom

    kmom Rookie

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  19. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    kmom,
    From your last post I would suggest talking to the teacher and principal about whether your son is struggling with understanding/comprehending the work he is supposed to do, or struggling with following through and doing it due to some other problem.
     
  20. Bookworm

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    You are at the point you need to make your decision and move forward. Have you asked your son what he wants? Maybe he would consider it a relief to be able to repeat 2nd grade. He would have a chance to be one of the stronger students in the class and really shine. Once your decision is made move forward and don't look back. Ask you self one question. Do I want my child to be successful? Choose the answer that best answers this question and go with it. I have had several students who were retained that became very successful students. Their parents felt the same way you did and had the same fears, but when all was said and done never regretted their decision.
     
  21. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    OK- when they say have you checked with your doctor what they really mean is there are probably some attentional issues. Your doctor should have a checklist for the school to fill out about behaviors, impulsivity, attention that would indicate any problems that could be treated medically. Also keep in mind that if you want your son tested by the school you should put your request in WRITING. In most states the written request for testing a child for learning problems/disabilities must be responded to within a set number of days. If your son has a disability that is not treated/serviced, leaving him back will do little good. It's important for you and for his teachers to have a complete picture of what you are dealing with in terms of his abilities/disabilities.
     
  22. Julie

    Julie Rookie

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    As a third grade teacher I must say (in my state) the curriculum gets much more difficult. I have noticed the kids who leave 2nd struggeling in math or reading have a hard time learning and solidifing the new concepts. Third grade is also when End Of Grade testing starts and it is very strenious for the 8/9 year olds. They need to be able to do much work independently. I agree with the other member, if you want your son tested, put it in writing and talk to your pediatrician again if you feel strongly about this. I am obviously not going to make your decision for you, but, having the confidence going into any new grade can make a lot of difference.:angel:
     
  23. Rosieo

    Rosieo Enthusiast

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    Where I am at if you put it in writing that you want your child tested for a learning disability then they have to. The process doesn't take really long for us. Of course we can not tell you what route to take, only you and your school really knows your child. Retaining a child with a learning disability isn't always in his best interest. As a mom I would want to rule this out before I made any decisions.
     
  24. bam451

    bam451 Rookie

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    I teach 2nd grade. I requested that one of my students get retained this last year, and I will most likely have him in my class again this year. He had a complete work up this year. What they do is look at every aspect of his life. They look at his medical history, they look at your pregnancy, they look at where his struggles are, and what his IQ is. There is an entire team, and they work together, with you to see what needs to be done to help your child become the best learner he/she can be. In my case, my student was diagnosed with a learning disability and is finally getting the help he needs. We didn't retain him because he wasn't progressing, but that he didnt make enough progress. THere is a HUGE jump from 2nd to 3rd grade. In 3rd grade they are working on writing 5 paragraph essays, multiplication and division. If your son is struggling with adding two digit numbers, he will most likely struggle with the next step. I can only imagine how hard this is for you, but don't look at it as you failed him. You are working on getting him help. You are on this board trying to figure out what is best. That tells me how much you care. If your son is really struggling that much, holding him back one year is only going to prepare him that much more for 3rd grade. I would ask for a complete work up to see if there is any other services that can help him. By services I do not meen putting him in a special education classroom. Resource services are a pull out program where a special education teacher pulls students out of their classroom for help in the areas they need. The amount of time they are pulled out depends on what they found in their tests.

    Good luck! I hope this helps!
     
  25. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Does this apply to the summer months? Our psychologists do not work year round.
     
  26. krwaggieteach

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    I know this must be a struggle for you, and I am in no way telling you what to do. But from a teacher's perspective, sometimes the best thing you can do is retain your child. My niece was retained last year and of course my sister in law struggled with the idea of this. As the year progressed, she realized how much it helped her and has consistently said that retention was the best thing because it gave her the extra help she needed before moving to the next grade level. I hope this little insight helps!
     
  27. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Our child study team chair is in the district working for the summer. Most of the testing done in the summer is a result of requests made late in the school year. In any case, I would submit the letter NOW if you wanted your child tested- they will at least have to respond back to you in some manner even if testing does not start until the fall. I had a child this year who was not worked up last year and was recommended for retention in first. The parents declined leaving him back. He was very impulsive, immature, distractable as he came into second. He definitely matured a bit but his other issues kept causing him to have academic problems. The parents got the checklist from the pediatrician which I filled out but then they requested that testing be done through the school (insurance issues?) and he came up ADHD. Leaving him back without testing and interventions would not have addressed the real issue of his ADHD. At least now he has an IEP and services to meet his needs as he goes on to 3rd.
     
  28. Andrea L

    Andrea L Habitué

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    Kmom...

    When I was growing up, I struggled with school. I was always in the lowest classes or groups. My teachers suggested retention, but my parents decided against it. I can say now that retention may have been the best thing for me. I still struggle as an adult to comprehend material and to be able to solve difficult math problems such as fractions. I can do all of those things, but it takes me longer than the average person. My vocabulary skills are also lacking which is often embarassing. There are many times where I don't know what a word means and I have to stop, go get a dictionary, and figure it out...if one is available.

    Also keep in mind that as a teacher, suggesting that a child be retained, or even tested for a disability is extremely hard for us. We want what is best for the child, but it is hard to confront parents with these concerns because we know how hard it is to hear that your child is struggling. We really have your child's best interest at heart.

    As mentioned above, I don't know your child or his struggles. My district is very hesitant to retain students and it is almost impossible. In looking at some of my students that I just sent to fourth grade, some of them would benefit to be retained. Once they begin to struggle, they often do not catch up and school becomes more difficult for them. Now, he may be struggling with one or two areas, but as he gets older, it may be a third subject, and then a fourth subject.

    You might also want to think long term. What will happen when he gets into middle school and high school and struggles with these areas. Often when children are struggling, they drop out because they just can't do it. The can't pass the classes as a freshman, so they have to take those classes as a sophmore, and so on. Many just give up. Two of my cousins had this happen to them. They are now high school drop-outs with no hopes of getting a good job where they can support themselves.

    I realize that this is a long post, but I just thought I would share my point. Good luck with your decision and know that you know your child best! You are a wonderful parent and I know that because of the questions, thoughts, and opinions that you've written here.
     

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