difficult child repeating 4th grade.....

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MoonDancer, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. MoonDancer

    MoonDancer New Member

    I had put this in the daily thread, but decided that it should be a topic on it's own.

    I don't know if y'all have this in your elementary schools? difficult child was in 4th grade last year and she had two teachers. One for Math & Science and the other for English & Social Studies. This year she is going to have 4 different teachers, one for each subject. I think that's too much for 4th graders!

    difficult child struggled with the classes last year. But she also shot herself in the foot for not turning in her homework. husband & I always made sure her homework was complete and checked, but it is her responsibility to turn in her work. difficult child also has a bad habit of "christmas tree-ing" her tests. She'd just mark whatever answers without reading the questions. Often the teachers would make her re-take the test. difficult child even fails OPEN BOOK tests! She had to attend summer school and they were going to pass her, just because she attended summer school, but not on her merit.

    I asked a lot of questions about what to expect in 5th grade. I found out that the 5th grade teachers are way stricter and do no have any flexibility. husband and I felt it was best to retain difficult child in 4th grade after going over all the factors between 4th & 5th grades. I'm going to push for another IEP again this year.

    husband & I, and her teachers factored in a lot of stuff. All the stuff from the previous IEP, her dyslexia, the ADHD, and her age, which she was born mid April. difficult child's maturity level isn't where it should be among her peers. We all felt that repeating 4th grade will give her the opportunity to grow up a little and be on the same level as her classmates.

    One of difficult child's friends is also repeating the 4th grade, so she is finding some comfort that she's not the only one. difficult child is accepting the idea better now, which makes me feel a little better. I'm just worried about how she's going to handle changing classes and teachers 4 times a day. It's just too early, I think!
  2. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    I know that some schools start doing that around that age to get the kids ready for middle school when they sometimes have different teachers for each class. When difficult child was in the 4th grade he had three different "core" teachers in addition to the art/pe classes.

    If you have concerns about it, first I would talk to your difficult child and let her know what will happen. If school hasn't started yet maybe you could go in with her and talk to the teachers and show her the different classrooms if she will be changing. Talk to the school also about your concerns for her (I would keep it specific to her) and see what you can do if it becomes an issue. You never know...she may think it is cool and that she feels more like a teen or something and will like it.
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Sounds familiar!
    We held back our difficult child and it really helped. He still has some of the issues you mentioned in your note, but ea yr gets better.
    Right now I think he's got 3 teachers--homeroom and most of the classes, science and computer, and Spanish.
    As the subjects become more difficult and specialized, the teachers break out onto their own subjects.
    Best of luck!
  4. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Moondancer, I'm a firm believer that you have to look to your child and ask "what does she need to master school?"
    If that means repeating the year, then that's what you need to do but.... what will be different this year than last? What will be adjusted to help difficult child get to the next step? You don't want to do the same thing over and over then expect different results.

    I think you are wise to not push her to the next grade.
  5. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    Retention is unusual for the 4th grade. Most educators advise against it after 2nd grade. There's a stigma involved and, overall, it's not very affective. Is is really a matter of her not being able to do the work, but simply not making the effort? There is a difference.

    Randomly marking answers was something that Daughter has done. Especially, in middle school. So frustrating for me! Plus, she was so oppositional that getting her to do the daily work was a constant battle that I stopped fighting it with her. She now regrets that behavior as a senior in high school.

    You say she has had an IEP, maybe you can have it written that the teacher requests her homework? I hate seeing her get gigged on that one if she has done it. I know you want her to have some responsibility, but maybe there are other areas she can be responsible for.

    Four teachers in 5th grade? That is a lot. I work in an elementary school, and for the last two years they did ability leveling in reading instruction. It is being dropped for the most part because the transition was just too hard on the kids. Very unsettling and disruptive because for elementary students a personal relationship with their teachers is very important. It's hard to develop one with students if they are only in their classroom for a short time.

    As far as immaturity. Son is much less mature than his classmates. He's also much smaller, too. It is always a concern for me, especially when he started middle school last year (also the time he got four teachers). He goes to a big school and I was afraid he was going to be a target. I expressed that to his teachers and counselor.

    Turns out it wasn't a problem. Son is so outgoing (sometimes too much) that he made friends easily. Especially with BIG older boys. Then, and I know this isn't a positive way, but he got suspended (first time)for fighting in class. His teacher, expressing her dismay, said his status went WAY UP with his peers after that. Though, I certainly do not encourage him to fight, or be violent, in any way. In all honesty, I feel like he can take care of himself at school.

    This term, though, I have stressed to him NO FIGHTING, and the goal is no suspensions. He would have had perfect attendance if he hadn't had that suspension. Plus, he missed out on a year end party rewarding good behavior, good grades, and good attendance.
  6. Loving Abbey 2

    Loving Abbey 2 Not really a Newbie

    If a child on an IEP does not pass for the year then the responsiblity falls on the school, what didn't they do to help your child succeed. If tests and homework were problems they should have been problem solving it all year to make sure your child was as successful as possible. Similarly, if your difficult child was struggling with class work then the school should have been looking into why that was and making accomodations to assist her with learning the material. You can have all of those things written into the IEP. Such as homework is requested each day by the teacher/aid. That's not all that difficult to implement. My difficult child is going into 4th grade and she has one classroom, and two teachers plus a Special Education teacher, but they all teach together and in the same space. My difficult child is pulled out for reading, writing, and math by the same Special Education teacher so that there are fewer distractions. If a forth grader is just filling in answers in a test, then there is probably a reason for that that needs to be addressed. Perhaps she has trouble staying on task, or tracking her answers, or get distracted or it's the visual issues with a test. My difficult child has had to have some tests broken down to the point of each question having it's own page. And you know what she can do the work correctly that way. And if that many teacher is too overwhelming then that is something else to bring to the IEP team meeting. They are legally obilgated to provide your child with an environment that your child can learn in--it's call a Free and Appropriate Public Education. Appropriate is the key word. As for the 5th grade teachers, they (and all teachers through college) have to have flexiblity if it is written in a students IEP/504plan or the child is disabled in some other way.

    I disagree with retention unless it's in Kindergarten due to the lasting social implications, but that a call that you have to make. However, I would put the onis on the school. It is thier responsiblity to teach your child in a way that your child can learn and be successful. in my opinion, they have done a terrible disservice to your child by not making simple accomodations for homework and tests and by not addressing difficult child's struggle with the material.
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    What exactly did her IEP help with?? Surely, after a few weeks the teacher had to know she was missing assignments. Did they call you? LEt you know? Brainstorm with you ways to help her get the work turned in??

    Does she have oral tests? A child iwth dyslexia may not be ABLE to take a multiple choice test - even in COLLEGE. I worked with a person who had MILD dyslexia. She was a straight A student but ONLY because she memorized everything given orally and she had longer to take her tests. She HATED multiple choice tests because she could not always tell if b and d were teh same on teh answer sheet as on the test.

    I think your daughter's failure is probably at least equally the school and teacher's fault. I am NOT saying she will be successful in 5th this year, I don't know. But you need an IEP with some real accomodations. Please check in on the Special Education forum and let them know what is going on. And get an IEP meeting - YOU can call one - to put some real help into place for your daughter.

    I am sorry. I know this is stressful.
  8. MoonDancer

    MoonDancer New Member

    Wow....I'm really glad that I posted on this because the feedback from y'all is really helpful. Sure, it's all a mindful to think about, but you're giving me ideas on what to bring up at the IEP meeting.

    This school district only allows an IEP meeting every two years. difficult child's teachers that worked with her last year are definately in my corner for stressing more help for difficult child. We all agree difficult child needs to have her tests read to her out loud. I still think difficult child needs to have some sort of supervised isolation for tests because she does better without distractions. As far as her turning in her homework? The teachers know well enough now to ask difficult child. They would call me, and every time I've said "ask her, she has it completed!" But then difficult child started "losing" her homework - and that is still a mystery only difficult child knows.

    What irritates me though? No one on the IEP board ever comes out and says "We have these resources available to your child...." Even after I asked. I never knew some of these things are available until recently. Now I feel more armed and ready with information. It's a good feeling. Thank you!
  9. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Your SD is violating federal law if an IEP meeting is only allowed every 2 years. BY LAW, a parent can call an IEP meeting at any time. Ask your SD for the regulation that restricts IEP meetings to once every 2 years -- I'm sure they won't be able to produce it.

    You might want to check out this website for more info on sped law:


    I also recommend hiring an educational advocate to help you craft an IEP that meets your difficult child's needs. You can also post on the Special Education 101 board here. The moderators Sheila and Martie really know their stuff.
  10. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think 4 teachers in elementary school is a lot. The most I ever switch for is math and that's when I teach a 4/5th grade classroom like this coming year. It sounds like you definitely need a better IEP. Be sure to have a list with you when you go of accommodations you feel she needs. Don't let them just say they can't provide you with something, you have the right to stop the IEP meeting at any time you feel uncomfortable. It might be a good idea to find a parent advocate to take to the meeting with you.
  11. MoonDancer

    MoonDancer New Member

    SmallWorld - THANK YOU SO MUCH! for that website! I've been reading and taking notes for an hour now! And now I'm FURIOUS in finding out that the 2 year IEP thing isn't so! Oh! You better believe that I'll be up in their faces about that!
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Oh, post and ask in the Special Education forum for specific accomodations for your daughter. They have GREAT suggestions AND ways to support the request so you get it in the IEP. DON'T signe the IEP in the meeting. And wehn you DO sign it - go in about a month later and compare their copy with the copy you made when you signed it. ANY changes made by school?? That is also a violation of federal law.

    If you can, order the Wrightslaw book or get it in your local bookstore. I found that just by taking the book with some postits bookmarking things in it I got better results. They didn't brush me off the way they wanted to.

    Glad you found some things in the website for wrightslaw.
  13. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    Most likely they never will. It's extremely rare that they do that. I've only had that once at a former school district with daughter when she was in preschool. A preschool resource specialist who really spoiled me. I was in for a rude awakening when we moved to a new SD.

    What a complete crock about "allowing" IEPs every two years. Unbelievable (yet,totally believable). You can call one any time you like. Yes, DO go to the Special Education forum if you have any specific concerns, or questions. Those ladies are on their game there.

    You are in charge, educate yourself.