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Home : 2002 : Dec : 23

    Retention Decisions
    By Amanda K.

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    I agree completely with Jennifer... the work gets tougher and many kids hit a road block. When you look at the rates of high school seniors who go to 4 year colleges (and remain to get a Bachelor's), it becomes easier to see that many students deal with this issue.

    I am dealing with this situation right now with one of my former first graders. She was not one of my best students, but was never low enough for me to even consider holding her back at any time. Anything below 70% is not passing in my school district, and she was always in the high 70s to low 80s. Now, she's in second grade and her teacher tried to send her back to first grade! I see there being three possible reasons for this, and you may find that these apply to your students, as well: 1) Her teacher is known to be the toughest teacher in the school, and I think the student is having problems adjusting. She may not be getting the support in class that she needs. 2) We have switched to a new, much more tough reading series this year and the student is having problems adjusting. Differences in textbooks can mean much to a student. My own elementary school used Scott Foresman for K-5 math, and then switched to ABeka for 6-8. My own stumbling block was that 6th grade year in math... and I have always been good in math except for that year!

    And the reason that came out the most in the retention meeting is that last year, her mother had time to help her at home. This year, her mother went back to school full time herself and the student is not getting the support she needs. So, perhaps that is why your former students are having problems. Maybe there has been a change in the home situation. A friend of mine who has been teaching for 30 years says that, in her experience, when a child suddenly stops doing well, it is more than likely the result of some change at home.

    The bottom line is, you shouldn't feel guilty for not retaining a child who met the standards in your class. You can't predict the future, and if that child truly met the first grade standards, then you did your job and the fault does not lie with you.

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