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    #137706 - 09/10/12 11:10 PM Help! We fell off a cliff!
    Togo Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 09/10/12
    Posts: 2
    After a wonderful k-3, our dd moved into 4th grade in a public montessori school, with an eagerness to learn, excitement about all subjects and a TAG identification in reading/writing. Last year we were too trusting that the teacher's basic competence would instruct the kids in core subjects, but that wasn't happening. With another child coming up behind her, our goal was to make the best of it, but at fall and spring conferences, and at an end of the year meeting, we requested TAG supports... Nuthin. Beginning of school: Nuthin. And dd's academic peers had moved on to middle school, or transferred to other schools.

    She will have this same teacher for two more years. Our dd feels like she is falling behind, that she used to be good at writing, reading, math, that science used to be for a kid like her. Long story short, we've lost so much sleep, we can't think anymore:

    So, do we,

    A) Arm dd with an integrative curriculum that that goes below the superficial at home that she can work on during the school day, and then follow through with reviewing that work ourselves?

    B) Begin the motions to formally request a trade to the 4/5/6 classroom, though the school won't allow dd to spend the day there first, and a switch means a full complaint, inquiry and investigation of her current teacher, while sending her every day to this not great classroom.

    C) Find a new school, knowing she will be there only one year.

    D) Wait around for the current school to get it together to make a coherent plan and follow-thru on it?

    E) All or some or none of the above??

    Thanks for your input. Feeling so isolated! I guess I'm in good company, eh?...

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    #137840 - 09/12/12 08:04 AM Re: Help! We fell off a cliff! [Re: Togo]
    st pauli girl Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/29/08
    Posts: 1917
    I guess the thing that pops out at me is "same teacher for 2 more years." From what you've described, this doesn't sound like a good thing. I guess if I were you, I'd get the ball rolling on the 4/5/6 classroom if you think that will be a better fit (sounds like it will). If your DD is without academic peers in this classroom, and there is no support to differentiate for her, things will be very hard.

    Also, it couldn't hurt to look at all the possible options if there are other school choices nearby that may be better.

    I'm sorry you're going through this.

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    #137843 - 09/12/12 08:15 AM Re: Help! We fell off a cliff! [Re: Togo]
    Iucounu Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/02/10
    Posts: 1457
    Originally Posted By: Togo
    After a wonderful k-3, our dd moved into 4th grade in a public montessori school, with an eagerness to learn, excitement about all subjects and a TAG identification in reading/writing. Last year we were too trusting that the teacher's basic competence would instruct the kids in core subjects, but that wasn't happening.

    I'm a little confused here. Is she in fifth now, and last year in fourth was a bad year? It doesn't seem possible that she could be in fourth, since grades 1-3 went well but last year your faith in the teacher went unrewarded. It doesn't seem possible for her to be in sixth due to having the same teacher for the next two years, unless the current school goes higher than sixth.

    If you're in the U.S., in which state? What TAG identification evidence do you have, how current is it, and could you get more (e.g. through outside testing)? What other support would you have if you made a complaint? What's guaranteed to be so much better about the 4/5/6 classroom? What academic peers, and in what setting was your daughter with them? Why couldn't your daughter transfer to the peers' schools, such as one of the middle schools, too?

    I only know one thing: I wouldn't sit and wait for things to improve. We only lost time that way.
    _________________________
    Striving to increase my rate of flow, and fight forum gloopiness. sick

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    #137844 - 09/12/12 08:19 AM Re: Help! We fell off a cliff! [Re: Togo]
    polarbear Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/29/11
    Posts: 3363
    I'm confused about the classroom situation - if she's in 4th grade this year why isn't she in the 4-5-6 classroom? What's the grade range in her current classroom?

    Fwiw, it sounds like you either need to change teachers if you can, and if you can't, change schools. Montessori isn't for everyone, and not all schools implement Montessori in the same way. If other kids are transferring to other schools... I'd take that as a sign that maybe the school isn't all that great of a school.

    We had our ds in an optional school with a philosophy similar to Montessori when he was in elementary - and we had a year where he was matched with a teacher and it was totally not working out. We requested a teacher change, and it worked out well - much less of a fight back from the school administration than I would have anticipated. We approached the situation by writing a letter requesting the change - in the letter we commended the teacher and used a few examples of things we admired about her as an educator (which was stretching it at the time, to be sure!)... and then we politely explained how her teaching style was not a good fit for our ds, listed examples from his classroom experience, and gave a suggestion of a classroom that would work better with the reasons we thought it would work better. Soooo... think about framing the teacher request change not as a complaint against the teacher, but a necessity for meeting the needs of your child.

    Re changing schools for just one year and changing again - we considered that for our ds going into middle school, and he's a kid who we were worried about too much change re making friends and feeling comfortable in a new place. One thing to consider perhaps more than the change of schools is where will most of the kids at the school be going when they change again? We had a situation we considered where ds would be at one school for only 6th grade, but most of the kids at that school then move on together to middle school - so he'd be changing buildings/teachers/class setup, but he'd still be with essentially the same group of kids.

    Best wishes as you figure it all out -

    polarbear

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    #138537 - 09/18/12 09:17 PM Re: Help! We fell off a cliff! [Re: polarbear]
    Togo Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 09/10/12
    Posts: 2
    Thanks, everyone - It has been challenging for sure, but we *finally* got our daughter moved to the better classroom. (The school is all blended age classes, which is what seemed confusing in my description.) Our learning curve was letting the kiddo putter through last year and putting too much trust in the teacher, when our instincts, and our daughter's disengagement, were telling us otherwise.

    The last two weeks have been grueling - We had to lobby the entire org for support for our daughter, and we're so relieved she can have a fresh start. Her new teacher is awesome, and delighted to collaborate and communicate.

    Happy Ending: Two days in the new class, and our daughter is excited again about learning and feels good about herself again.


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    #138723 - 09/21/12 10:26 AM Re: Help! We fell off a cliff! [Re: Togo]
    st pauli girl Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/29/08
    Posts: 1917
    Originally Posted By: Togo
    Thanks, everyone - It has been challenging for sure, but we *finally* got our daughter moved to the better classroom. (The school is all blended age classes, which is what seemed confusing in my description.) Our learning curve was letting the kiddo putter through last year and putting too much trust in the teacher, when our instincts, and our daughter's disengagement, were telling us otherwise.

    The last two weeks have been grueling - We had to lobby the entire org for support for our daughter, and we're so relieved she can have a fresh start. Her new teacher is awesome, and delighted to collaborate and communicate.

    Happy Ending: Two days in the new class, and our daughter is excited again about learning and feels good about herself again.



    This is wonderful news! I'm glad you were able to get a much better situation. smile

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