Monday, March 25, 2013

Back to School, part 2-First Report Card

In October, I had my first Report Card Conference of 4th grade

As usual, each teacher schedules each parent (or set of parents) for a 10 minute meeting where you receive the report card and talk about the child’s progress (small school). Now we have access to grades as soon as they are entered into an internet system the school has and they bring the grades home. Plus we have regular conversations and emails. So that way there aren’t a lot of surprises on Report Card Day.

I didn’t have the sense of dread I have had the last two times I went to one of these conferences. My daugher Arianahas been working hard and for the most part been cooperative. She is grateful to have been able to remain at her school and I think she is beginning to see everything that is going into helping her. The teacher (Mrs. F) was hired late in the summer so we didn’t get to have a sit down meeting with her until a few weeks into the year, but I could tell from my initial conversations with her, she was going to have an understanding of how to reach my daughter. So with the goals and plan she has we (Asst Principal and I)met with her and she made some additional adjustments. Mrs. F has worked with challenged children before. At the time of the hire, from what I understand, no one involved in the hire knew that. And I couldn’t have asked for any more with the first full school year after the diagnosis.

Patience is required. Most of the progress I see right now in Ariana is emotional. There is a whole team responsible for that. Between what we do at home, the reading specialist I hired with whom she meets once a week, her teacher, her school's Resource teacher, the Foster Grandparent (volunteer in the classroom), and the assistance of her 3rd grade teacher (Ms. W) who helped her with math over the summer and continues to work with her an hour each Monday and Thursday under Mrs. F’s direction, Ariana is more confident in a lot of tasks that used to send her screaming from the room.

Her handwriting has improved immensely too. When she really takes her time, it is downright exceptional especially for a student dealing with Dyslexia. Time doesn’t always allow her to write that slow, so we are going to practice more on the weekends when we are working on vocabulary to put a little more speed in with the neatness. My main goal had really been to make sure she puts space between her words, (something a significant percentage of children with learning challenges neglect to so) and helping her get what is in her brain onto paper when she needs to.

She has had some oral tests, but the teacher gives the whole class oral tests. She does have a reduced spelling list, (14 instead of 28 words) but the students have various ways of earning extra credit. For her, she gets extra points if she does the any work associated with the words on the list she is not required to learn. Because there is reading homework each week and she reads 4th grade material at slightly less than half speed, her math homework is reduced; her tests are not, but she gets more time.

4th grade is a big step up from 3rd, especially in the areas of Language Arts and Reading. The report card had an A in Physical Education, an A in Bible and Cs in everything else (Math, Language, Spelling, Reading and Spanish). Personally I was thrilled. Ariana not so much and that’s fine, because I want her to want to go up from there. But I wanted her to find the place of wanting to continue to improve and stop short of feeling bad about herself for getting Cs. Last report card at the end of 3rd grade, she had an A in the Bible, Penmanship, and PE. There was a C in Reading. Math and Language were both low Ds, Spelling, an F.

I’m just as proud of her as the parents who have straight A students. What really was nice to hear from her teacher was was, “Ariana knows the material.” She’s learning!

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