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Old 08-25-2014, 12:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Unhappy Need to know my options and how to handle this...

I have posted before seeking advice from wonderful parents here and got a lot of useful advice and information.


We have been struggling with the school administration for My son. I always knew he was gifted and asked school to give him more challenging work. The teachers didn't listen. He was reading at three well before he started pre-school and when he started kinder he could already add ....subtract. He however did have poor muscle tone and his handwriting was sloppy. Being smart he knows that's his weekpoint and gets easily frustrated.


So last year .... his teacher recommended him to be evaluated as he was having trouble in class (which I repeatedly heard was calling out of turn) in his report card he was getting all 4s (that's doing beyond what is expected for the grade) so I was surprised when I got the paper work. Anyway once the evaluations were done we got to know that he has high IQ and fared well in all aspects apart from the evulation done based on questionnaire filled by the teacher, according to which he was basically depressed and should be watched for suicidal thoughts. Rest of the evaluators said apart from co-ordination and handwriting issue he excelled at everything. In IEP he was offered OT, which I am actually okay with.


If you have read through the rambling on backstrory. Now the issue is....the teacher... who is no longer teaching and was fresh hired last year. He told my son the teacher's name for the coming year and told him she is going to make sure he gets a mean teacher who will straighten him up. Then he will appreciate how nice she was. I got to know over the summer....when he freaked out about going to school.... saying that his teacher has said he was a bad kid and he knows he will always be in trouble with this mean teacher. I e-mailed the principal... explaining everything and telling the name of the teacher (I had no clue if she was the one assigned but I wanted them to know of the incident) I got and e-mail that Principal was out on vacation and that she'd contact me in a week. I never heard back from her.... and then now I do get the letter that he is indeed assigned to the same teacher. I e-mailed the Principal again.... and am getting automated out of office response from her. My son is freaking out and right now so am I. He had a horrible school year.


I am just trying to figure out my options. If I do try to homeschool.... what do I need to know or have access to?


Thanks


Amee
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Old 08-25-2014, 01:07 PM
 
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First you didn't say what state your are - that make a huge difference in homeschooling.

Personally I would be homeschooling (I am) - I would be on the phone - the heck with emails! People do not read them. Ask why when they tell you (as they will ) why they are too busy, or what ever excuse for not answering your email, and I'm also sure your will hear there is nothing that can be done about moving him.

You do pay taxes (as that is how MOST states do funding for schools) thus you should have better service - good luck getting that!

That is awful but I hear it all the time. Gifted seem to be at the bottom rung when it comes to most things, at least in my area. If a child is under performing that directly effects the school, gifted they usually don't do that much for even with a fight.

Post your state and really good luck, you should be able to TALK not just email someone, as a parent that is inexcusable.

 

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Old 08-25-2014, 01:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Serenbat... I am in NJ. I would be calling but considering that school hasn't officially started it goes to voice mail. Also the Principal and the administration in the school have in my experience from interacting last year they go back on whatever they might have verbally said....and I want a paper trail.
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Old 08-25-2014, 01:47 PM
 
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Makes sense about the paper trail, but what are you going to do with it? Do you have a plan of who would see it?

Most schools have some sort of administrative summer hours. Does yours? If you have any trust in the principal, I would go look on their door and see. You didn't say how old he is, but I'm assuming elementary age since he's got one teacher. Do you know any parents of kids who had this teacher last year? If you do, I would contact them and see if they think the particular teacher would be amenable to discussing it before school starts. I'm guessing that should probably go through the principal in most cases, but in my kids' particular school I would skip him because he's just kind of lame.

I'm really sorry you and your son are in this situation.
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Old 08-25-2014, 02:11 PM
 
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Are you sure you believe everything last year's teacher said about this year's?

I would absolutely want to talk to the principal, because one of the possible outcomes here is that you meet this year's teacher, and she's fine. Sometimes, the teachers with the greatest reputations for being strict are fantastic educators, but it might be that this teacher doesn't even *have* that reputation - I would not consider last year's teacher to be a credible source.

It was awful of last year's teacher to poison the well for your son about next year, and that's the issue I would raise with the principal. Because of this conversation, your son is now incredibly upset about his classroom assignment. How were classroom assignments made? How does this teacher deal with children like yours? Would it be possible for you to meet with her? If a different classroom assignment seems adviseable, in light of your son's evaluation, etc., can it be made before the school year starts?

However things go, I'd try to arrange a meeting between your DS and his currently assigned teacher, in the hopes that he might see that it's better to judge people himself than it is to rely on other people's reports.
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Old 08-25-2014, 05:58 PM
 
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Thanks Serenbat... I am in NJ. I would be calling but considering that school hasn't officially started it goes to voice mail. Also the Principal and the administration in the school have in my experience from interacting last year they go back on whatever they might have verbally said....and I want a paper trail.
Do you have a district office? I'm in PA and we have office staff year round, especially this time of year with people turing in forms prior to the start.

I agree with the others - talk to someone, in writing is fine but you aren't even getting that.

Good Luck

 

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Old 08-25-2014, 06:06 PM
 
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Makes sense about the paper trail, but what are you going to do with it? Do you have a plan of who would see it?
I wonder this too!

I'm really sorry you and your son are in this situation.
me too


In my district it wouldn't mean a thing having a paper trail, even the school board doesn't care unless it's a subpoena (they get a lot of those) - my district has been sued (rightfully IMO) because of super dumb things - the ALCU knows my district!

I have no faith in my school system. Any paper trail would cost me $$ to hire an attorney and I still wouldn't get anything above basic.

Hope your district does thing but given they didn't return your emails, I won't hold out a lot of hope.

 

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Old 08-25-2014, 08:11 PM
 
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Go in person and talk to the principal and the teacher. They should be there the week prior to school starting. Don't make any decisions until you've talked to them.

Sorry for your son. What an awful thing for an adult to do!

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:06 PM
 
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There really ought to be someone -- a secretary, someone -- in the office. I think what you need to do is to meet with the new teacher and let your son see for himself what she/he is like. While specific people can be hard to reach, they've got someone there to handle the tremendous paper work.

It can be hard to meet with people right before school starts because they have meetings they have to attend, and sometimes the voice mail for new teachers isn't set up yet. None the less, I think it is worth it to try to get a hold of the teacher a head of time.

I'm glad his old teacher is gone, and I hope she never teaches again. That was a dreadful thing to do.

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Old 08-25-2014, 10:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi! Ladies,


Thanks for being so awesome with advise. Right now I am not even sure what course of action I want to take. This issue being ignored by the school administration (I cc'd the superintendent too) is actually making me feel bad. The Principal ignored the issues I was having with the teacher whole year last year and actually later said ...its just one crummy year for your son but thankfully its ending.... looks like issues are starting before he even heads back. The teacher assigned is experienced teacher and as such I am sure might not be all that bad...however considering the previous teacher has already scared my son and has used this teacher as a threat... I am not sure how comfortable I am with him still being assigned to her. Also its not that I didn't inform them.... the administration just seems to have chosen not to pay any attention which worries me.
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Old 08-26-2014, 07:38 AM
 
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My advise is to go lower, not higher. It is the TEACHER you need to see, not the superintendent.

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Old 08-26-2014, 02:44 PM
 
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My advise is to go lower, not higher. It is the TEACHER you need to see, not the superintendent.
I know in my are (neighboring state) it's the higher ups that are there prior to the start of school, not the teachers.

Also teachers often can't do a thing without higher up, changing students etc., that approval comes from above.

 

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Old 08-26-2014, 02:48 PM
 
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Hi! Ladies,


Thanks for being so awesome with advise. Right now I am not even sure what course of action I want to take. This issue being ignored by the school administration (I cc'd the superintendent too) is actually making me feel bad. The Principal ignored the issues I was having with the teacher whole year last year and actually later said ...its just one crummy year for your son but thankfully its ending.... looks like issues are starting before he even heads back. The teacher assigned is experienced teacher and as such I am sure might not be all that bad...however considering the previous teacher has already scared my son and has used this teacher as a threat... I am not sure how comfortable I am with him still being assigned to her. Also its not that I didn't inform them.... the administration just seems to have chosen not to pay any attention which worries me.
that's awful!

Just a crummy year - oh well! What a load of BS!

If you child was under-performing and causing the schools testing scores to be effected they would come talk to you!

NOT how things should be.

Hope you find a good solution. I hope you DO get some place and don't have to "see how it goes" and come Dec be told nothing can be done when you have to ask again.

 

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Old 08-26-2014, 10:01 PM
 
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Also teachers often can't do a thing without higher up, changing students etc., that approval comes from above.
most teachers start at least a week before the students.

I think what would end this whole mess is for the mom, the child, and the teacher to have a face to face chat for 10 minutes. The mom could explain that the child is afraid because he was told she was mean, and the teacher could talk to him and assure him that she isn't, and that they will have a great year. Then she could tell him some of the cool things she has planned.

Just because last year's teacher is a few fries short of a happy meal, there's no reason to flip out.

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Old 08-27-2014, 04:48 AM
 
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most teachers start at least a week before the students.

I think what would end this whole mess is for the mom, the child, and the teacher to have a face to face chat for 10 minutes. The mom could explain that the child is afraid because he was told she was mean, and the teacher could talk to him and assure him that she isn't, and that they will have a great year. Then she could tell him some of the cool things she has planned.

Just because last year's teacher is a few fries short of a happy meal, there's no reason to flip out.
Yes this.

And then, if the new teacher is actually problematic, you can start agitating with the principal, using actual direct examples from that teacher's behavior.
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Old 08-27-2014, 05:47 AM
 
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most teachers start at least a week before the students.

I think what would end this whole mess is for the mom, the child, and the teacher to have a face to face chat for 10 minutes. The mom could explain that the child is afraid because he was told she was mean, and the teacher could talk to him and assure him that she isn't, and that they will have a great year. Then she could tell him some of the cool things she has planned.

Just because last year's teacher is a few fries short of a happy meal, there's no reason to flip out.
If you read what the mother wrote her, she DID speak up last year and was ignored. It's not just last year's teacher that is an issue, it's the administration that blew her off. Crummy year?
Regardless, the way LAST years teacher acted, that behavior should not go under the carpet! So what if she is short of fries (I find that mediator bizarre but) you just don't let those things go. It's called accountability. The mother deserves to talk to a "higher up". They work for the parents actually.

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Yes this.

And then, if the new teacher is actually problematic, you can start agitating with the principal, using actual direct examples from that teacher's behavior.
good luck with those things happening, typically that is not how things work and my state is a neighboring state, most things are very much the same

You can't just get things changed by talking to a teacher, their hands are tied. If one wants to wait, go for it, usually that does not work, changes are made before the year starts, even mid year most schools fight it. Why wait to mid year anyway?

Here is a mother how can't get her emails answered, she talks to the the teacher, the child still has an issue and what?

Frankly I would go in, if you get no place. File a formal complaint with the district and the state.Our school board also has open meeting. You have a right to be acknowledged, things in the system aren't working. You pay for this, get your money's worth. IF this teacher said it to your child, there is nothing from stopping that teacher from doing it to others. Foot dragging never seems to end up good.

 

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Last edited by serenbat; 08-27-2014 at 06:08 AM.
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Old 08-27-2014, 06:13 AM
 
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No, you can't get things changed just by talking to a teacher, but what does the OP want changed? Last year's teacher is no longer teaching, so pitching a fit about him to the school administrators is kind of pointless. Today's issue is finding out whether this year's teacher is a good or bad fit, and for that, the OP needs to meet with the teacher.

She may need to go to the school to set that meeting up. If she thinks the new teacher is a bad fit, she needs to be really persistent and annoying to get it done. But she might not need to. She needs to find out.

If this year's teacher is a bad fit, I have all kinds of ideas for raising Cain with the school, but raising Cain without finding out is a bad idea.
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Old 08-27-2014, 08:56 AM
 
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No, you can't get things changed just by talking to a teacher, but what does the OP want changed? Last year's teacher is no longer teaching, so pitching a fit about him to the school administrators is kind of pointless. Today's issue is finding out whether this year's teacher is a good or bad fit, and for that, the OP needs to meet with the teacher.

She may need to go to the school to set that meeting up. If she thinks the new teacher is a bad fit, she needs to be really persistent and annoying to get it done. But she might not need to. She needs to find out.

If this year's teacher is a bad fit, I have all kinds of ideas for raising Cain with the school, but raising Cain without finding out is a bad idea.
I don't think it's pointless to file a complaint against last years teacher. We have seen what "bad apples" do, they move around. From one district to another, from one school to another, they comeback in and sub. Good thing many kept after the Catholic Church and pursued their complaints.

I feel she has every right to do so and frankly this should be taken to the school district and/or the school board. She was ignored when she complained last year. I do not see the school as taking her serious if they brushed it off as just a "grummy year" and let it go at that.

Why make a child have unneeded anxiety to begin with? Not to mention the parents too.

I see this "wait and see" always going into months with "give it a little time" thrown in, next you know it's mid year and "oh, too late".

Point is this is not how things are to be addressed- period. She was not treated correctly last year there is not much to say she will get heard this year either.

 

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Old 08-27-2014, 09:07 AM
 
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If the new teacher has been at the school for several years chances are her email address can be found somewhere.
I agree - start with the teacher. Send her an email asking to get together before the year starts. Don't take the word of one bad teacher about how this teacher will treat your son. I have found that going into a school year having a positive attitude will often make things much smoother. If she knows you want to work with her to make the year a success for your son there's a greater chance that she will work with you to meet a common goal. If she senses tension before she's even met your son it might make the situation more strained.
In the end, if the fit between your son and the teacher isn't positive then go higher up the chain. You never know - this teacher might be exact what your son needs to succeed this year.
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Old 08-27-2014, 09:19 AM
 
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I'm not suggesting a wait and see approach. I'm suggesting one meeting with the new teacher, as an information-gathering exercise to determine whether the OP needs to bug the school about changing teachers. One meeting. This week, if possible, so that if it goes badly,theOP can raise specific issues and get her son into a ddifferent classroom, ideally before the first day of school.
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Old 08-29-2014, 05:11 AM
 
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Yes this.

And then, if the new teacher is actually problematic, you can start agitating with the principal, using actual direct examples from that teacher's behavior.
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I'm not suggesting a wait and see approach. I'm suggesting one meeting with the new teacher, as an information-gathering exercise to determine whether the OP needs to bug the school about changing teachers. One meeting. This week, if possible, so that if it goes badly,theOP can raise specific issues and get her son into a ddifferent classroom, ideally before the first day of school.

These look like two different statements, like you changed your position.

I don't know how one would agitate the principal with direct examples if one is not waiting. How does one gather example of teacher behavior in just one meeting? Having a meeting doesn't usually show how the year will go or give you many "examples", it show a one side POV on the other's behavior and you have a one said/one said scenario (he said/she said) and most schools do squat about that. Your first statement, IMO looks like a "wait and see". IMO this mother did that last year and went through the channels and got no place, thus the reason for my comment.

OP I hope you don't "wait" around for another year like last and hope you got someone's attention at this point to resolve it - best of luck

 

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Old 08-29-2014, 06:37 AM
 
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Serenbat, I didn't change my position - I think it's possible to gather enough information to proceed on in a 30 minute meeting. (And if I were a school administrator, I'd be very dismissive of parent concerns about teachers they'd never met.) Half an hour won't be perfectly predictive of the entire school year (nothing but the school year itself will do that), but it is enough time to give you material to articulate specific concerns if you do want a classroom switch.

One thing in the OP that worries me is the report that last year's teacher was newly hired, and has now left the profession. That's unusual for teachers, who take a lot of time and education to be credentialed in the first place. However, it's not all that uncommon for Teach for America participants. TfA is typically a two-year commitment, but some do burn out (or get fired) mid-program. If the OP's school district is doing a lot of staffing from TfA, there may be only a few experienced teachers in the school, and the rest may be totally unknown quantities, except that you know they will all be new. I would be wary of agitating for a classroom change under those circumstances - meet with the teacher and find a way to work with her if at all possible, rather than demand a switch to some bright-eyed kid who thinks they can play Jaime Escalante for two years and then apply to law school.
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Old 08-30-2014, 10:20 AM
 
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How terrible for your son. I know what you mean by the school not doing anything. I have experience of it but not with the principal. It was a complaint made to the school counselor about a bully sitting right next to dd. I was told by a parent that next year the children will not be in the same class as I had made a formal complaint. Guess what? Not only was the bully there he and dd were again seated next to each other. But for some unrelated reason (I forgot now what it was) the teacher had to change their places and after that I didn't worry about it.

Good luck with it.

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