Thursday, May 20, 2010


Yesterday, just as I was unwinding and thinking about the Ritter Milk Chocolate Cornflake bar waiting for me after my kids went to bed (I know I am hopeless). I casually opened a business letter from Henry's school. I thought maybe had to do with the big change next year or something else equally benign. Instead it was a letter informing us that Henry was "at risk " and therefore eligible for SUMMER SCHOOL. Then I quietly informed Matt of the letter. Got kids to bed and the many voices that my mind produces in stressful times, took over.

Voice # 1 Well, this came from left field. We just had an IEP mtg. and he was doing well, right on target, no real academic difficulties.

Voice #2 Although his teacher did gently call him the "sweet, absent minded professor" of the class.

Voice#1 Yes, but shouldn't they have mentioned this possibility weeks ago? And where is he at risk? Does he need help with Math? Reading?

Voice#3 Can't we just help him out at home? Maybe I can talk to his teacher about exactly what he needs. We can work it out at home. 3 Weeks of summer school, even if just in the morning, is a lot to ask of an 8 yr. old boy.

Voice#2 Summer school may help him. I mean he is in Special Ed. Are you really that shocked?Lots of I.E.Ps have "extended school year" written into them. Think of it that way.

Voice #1 I blame this on the school District. This place pushes kids way too much. This would never have happened where I went to school. I mean for gods sake. Around here most kids have 6 extracurriculars after school. It's a pre-pubescent rat race.

Voice #3 If you were in a different school district you might blame them for not pushing kids enough. Be honest with yourself.

And then I took a shower and cried.

Voice #3 It is not such a big deal. It could be worse. For crying out loud.

P.S Today after all this, I get this letter from H's teacher-

Hi Kelly,
Henry's name got on the list as a mistake. I spoke to xxxxx to let him know that Henry didn't need summer support. Apparently, the change wasn't made before the letter went out. I apologize for your unnecessary concern. I have no idea how his name got on the list. As a matter of fact, Henry's recent reading assessment indicates that he is readng slightly above grade level! He's made excellent progress this year. I'll check back in with xxxx so you don't get any further notices. Be in touch soon.




Lauroral said...

I can imagine how it feels to get that letter. Many of my students with IEPs are automatically receiving AIS (Academic Support) and I got a stack of summer school applications for them. Luckily I was the one to send them home and I picked and chose which ones really needed it: meaning that they won't have the kind of experience Henry will this summer: still richly literate and exposed to all kinds of things that he will connect to everything he learns in school. And he isn't the kind of kid who will lose the stuff he's learned this year... Silly school automatic mailings.

Kelita said...

Yes. And his teacher sent me a second email about how bright he is. And what his strengths are: verbal reasoning, decoding, reading comprehension, composing stories and poems and that his weaknesses are visual-spatial, attention and motor. In my email to her I told her that I knew Henry "struggled". She stressed that he didn't "struggle", that it is very important for she and I not to communicate that to his new teacher. She also mentioned that he is such a "kind, compassionate and bright little boy". This is coming from someone who I believe is the best teacher he has had. She is amazing. I think that letter was a good test for me. Sometimes life hands you these situations that are hard to deal with and I just got a bit of practice with that one.

Denise said...

oh I just love a happy ending!! you really are a very good writer Miss Kelly!! Had me on the edge until the very end and then - wham!! a sigh of relief!!

Kelita said...

I wrote that whole post without knowing. Published it and then checked my email. So I was on the edge of my seat too!!! Wish I could take full credit.

Lauroral said...

And as a future special ed. teacher, this is a good experience to have. Actually so many of your experiences with the school system and your boys will be important to help you with the parent relationship/communication piece. Honestly, I find it the hardest part of the job. It is easy for me to communicate, listen, reflect back, and show understanding and compassion to children. To adults I have to constantly remind myself that they need me to listen and reflect back ever bit as much as do the children.


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