Advice Needed--How do I know it's time to give up? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 33 Old 01-22-2012, 06:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I want to support our public school--not just for my own family's sake, but for the good of the community...BUT--

 

We were new to the school district last year ('10-11).  By all accounts it is a GREAT school.  Low ratings on standardized tests, etc... are excused due to the very low #'s of students taking tests.  Our tiny, isolated town has 1 school, K-12 with about 280 students--so there are limited options, to say the least.  

 

Last year, our DD was in K and it was an incredibly frustrating year.  While her teacher was a lovely, kind woman, the class was conducted at the level appropriate for a typical 3 year old, except without the hands on, creative, exploratory learning environment one would hope to find in pre school.  Without going into too much detail, it was rote "drilling" of colors, shapes etc...  Letters were started mid way through the school year, covering 1 letter and sound per week.  The only books available were toddler style board books. 

 

After meeting numerous times with the teacher, the teacher and principal, just the principal, we decided the best course of action was to keep our daughter home 1-2 days per week to supplement school.  The admin. grumbled about it a little, but we were well within our "rights" and it worked well for our daughter.  She was able to progress and be appropriately challenged academically at home, and do the things she liked at school. She loved everything about school (riding the bus, seeing friends, talking with the adults, art, music, PE, library), but the academic element simply not a fit for her.  

 

So, after getting to know the K teacher and other parents a bit last year, it seems there is 'quiet' frustration about the slow pace of K, but it seems to be accepted as just the way it is and will be.   The one and only pre school option in the area is a 40+ year old private nursery school, operating 2 am's per week.  It provides a play group environment.  The K teacher told us her hands are tied, as there is not adequate pre K so she does the best she can to catch the K's up to speed on the very basics.  The admin at school said they have no $ for school pre K etc, no money for any enrichment, etc..    

 

First grade is a little better, but... 2nd grade teacher is widely regarded as a joke, and we have a rising 3 year old who will likely be in the same boat for her school experience.  My son's experience, also 10th grade is academically marginal at best....  I guess I point this out to let you know we are looking at the big picture, not just the early grades.

 

I did some additional fact finding, and discovered our school is the only district in the area (and it's a pretty large range) that does not offer any kind of school supported pre K.  As I had "followed the proper chain of command" the previous year w/no adequate response, this year I took my concern to the school board level, requesting the school to look at various options to improve opportunities in the early grades.

 

Again, I won't go into too many details, but despite support from a few other parents, objective information provided, a polite and respectful attitude on my part, the BoE pretty much rolled their eyes and dismissed my concerns.  They are clearly not used to being questioned about anything.  While they should be commended for their willingness to volunteer for school leadership, they also shown themselves to be pretty small minded, and lacking in any kind of professionalism.  I was prepared for not having them agree with me, but disappointed at their outright dismissal.

 

....BUT, 1 BoE member (also a board member of the pre K), in particular, saw this concern only as being against the long established pre-K.  Apparently the pre-K has sacred cow status, and anything seen as less than glowing reviews of that program is blasphemy.   At the last BoE meeting (last week), my concerns, proactive suggestions, etc.. were twisted and turned, dismissed as invalid.  My family was really portrayed poorly for questioning the status quo, and being some kind of nutty academically pushing extremists.  

 

I thought I had pretty thick skin, but apparently not.  I am really frustrated and hurt by some of the comments made, and the attitudes shown.  We have been made to feel unwelcome.  It's a tiny, tiny town, so this unwelcome attitude extends well beyond the school environment.

 

I am ready to just give up.  It seems like the only option we have is to home school.   Right now I want to isolate my family entirely, but that is likely just me feeling so raw.  Advice??  Ideas??

 

Thanks.

 

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#2 of 33 Old 01-22-2012, 06:57 AM
 
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this is just a suggestion, and my own personal opinion, but...

 

... what is wrong with homeschooling a more advanced curriculum whilst simultaneously sending one's children to the un-rigorous public school for the:

1) academic review of what was already learned at home;

2) practice reading and writing;

3) art, gym, music and other "specials" curriculum;

4) social opportuniities.

 

it seems to me your child would have the best of both worlds and be a poised to be a top performer at school.

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#3 of 33 Old 01-22-2012, 07:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks--good suggestions that support what we have been doing.  I was hoping to advocate for more from the school...but it doesn't look like that will happen.  We try to enrich and support our DD's education as much as possible at home, in ways that are both fun and help her academically.  While she isn't academically challenged at school, it is a long, tiring day just the same.  It is too much to expect her to have energy and enthusiasm for additional challenges at home after a long, long day at school.

 

There are new rules and regulations here (NY state) that govern the amount of "unexcused absences" a child can have.  Keeping a child home to learn is considered "unexcused".  We were within our rights last year because Kindergarten is not mandated, but if we were to keep her home 1-2 times a week in First grade (or after), we would exceed the limit and be subjected to possible legal/social service interventions.  I don't want to lie and say she is sick, nor I am not willing to take that chance on unwanted attention from "authorities".  

 

I feel like our options are increasing polarized..... accept the with school's staus quo or home school.

 

I need to better educate myself on the fine points of home schooling rules and regs in NYS.  It is my understanding that in our school district, if you choose to home school, a student is not allowed to participate in any school activities (music, art, PE, teams, etc...).  

 

 

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#4 of 33 Old 01-22-2012, 02:50 PM
 
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That is unfortunate that it was taken that way. I live in a small town, larger then that but we did live in a town of that size, probably smaller for a few years. It often can be, "this is the way it has always been, it works, and it shall remain this way". I don't know your state laws, here we can still access school activities as homeschoolers and one in-town elem school, there are only 3, has a shared schooling program where homeschoolers can do twice a week to do the PE, etc... I don't have any real advice, but it seems like you rightfully feel stuck. 


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#5 of 33 Old 01-22-2012, 03:32 PM
 
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I am biased against public schooling so my suggestions may not be what you are looking for :-/ from my perspective though there are really amazing home schooling opportunities out there that offer ample amounts of peer to peer activity in addition to the accelerated learning environment and critical thinking instead of just the regurgitation of memorization. My suggestion would be to really look further into the different homeschooling opportunities available to you and just make the leap to get out of a system that sees your babies as sheep instead of individuals.


You know go with a system that you are in control of and then you know for sure that your babes are getting what they need to succeed in life. If they arent willing to work with you now its only going to get worse and its jus tnot worth your frustration when there is a better alternative that you are able to do.

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#6 of 33 Old 01-22-2012, 07:43 PM
 
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I'm generally a big proponent of public schools. But when you've got a tiny town and a BoE that doesn't care to spend the $ to make sure the children are educated, your options are pretty limited. I think that's one of the reasons I couldn't live in a really small town; I'm too much of a big city girl to want more choices for my kids. So, I know, in the back of my mind, that if our public isn't working for our kids, I can first try a different public school, and then try a private school before homeschooling. (For a lot of reasons, homeschooling would be a really really bad fit for our family right now. I realize it's some people's first choice, and that's fine.)

 

Are you in a position to homeschool? If you are, I would. Are there any activities that your daughter can be in that will keep her socially connected? Is there a homeschooling group in the area? Are you stuck in this town?

 

2nd grade in many schools is the year that they make sure all the kids can read and add/subtract numbers up to 10 or 20. If your daughter is bored in 1st grade, and the 2nd grade teacher isn't very good, I'd pull her for 2nd grade. Right now, our bright dd is frustrated by 2nd grade despite a great teacher who's going out of his way to meet her needs, and about 60 minutes of differentiation a day (30 for reading and 30 for math).

 

 


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#7 of 33 Old 01-22-2012, 08:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tropicana View Post

this is just a suggestion, and my own personal opinion, but...

 

... what is wrong with homeschooling a more advanced curriculum whilst simultaneously sending one's children to the un-rigorous public school for the:

1) academic review of what was already learned at home;

2) practice reading and writing;

3) art, gym, music and other "specials" curriculum;

4) social opportuniities.

 

it seems to me your child would have the best of both worlds and be a poised to be a top performer at school.

While in someways this seems ideal. I think it would be hard to let them have down time, and just have fun playing and being children, having them do both at the same time. JMO
 

 


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#8 of 33 Old 01-23-2012, 05:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies everyone.  So much of what has been mentioned resonates with me.  We have a lot to think about over the next several months.  I'm thankful for her first grade experience this year.  Her teacher is very talented and a true professional and she is able to work creatively within the constraints of all the standardization to make sure each child is appropriately supportive and challenged.

 

I did look into our District's policies about home schoolers participating in 'a la carte' school programs, and it is not allowed (NY state supports local decision making on this topic).  Too bad, as there are some opportunities I do not think we could provide without school, such as participation in band and chorus.  The other thing our school provides to each student is a full ski pass to the ski mountain here (includes downhill and groomed xc trails).  I'm not sure we would be choose to prioritize the $800 + to do this for 2 kids on our own, and skiing is a significant part of the the culture here.  

 

Lots to think about, for sure, but I would much rather take a proactive tact than waste time banging my head against a wall of people who can't seem to think beyond the status quo.

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#9 of 33 Old 01-23-2012, 07:50 AM
 
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 The other thing our school provides to each student is a full ski pass to the ski mountain here (includes downhill and groomed xc trails). 




Wow.  So cool.

 

 

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#10 of 33 Old 01-23-2012, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, skiing is a cool and unique aspect of school here.  The school also provides transportation every day to the mountain.  I admit it-- it's neat.

 

Unfortunately, the emphasis is on making sure the athletic programs are strong, strong ,strong... The district is NOT(edited!) so great at addressing some of the other reasons for school, like for example, academics....

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#11 of 33 Old 01-23-2012, 10:23 AM
 
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just to let you know how "lucky" you really have, next door in PA we do not fund kindy at all- it is up to each district and that is a total crap shoot! as with many education related things this state does not mandate

 

you really seem without many options - HS looks the best -IMO and just skipping the local PS - you seem to be ruffling some feathers locally- most districts (as with here) do not move unless there is a mandate for doing so

 

good luck


 

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#12 of 33 Old 01-23-2012, 02:07 PM
 
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now I have some time - wanted to add

 

depending on the type of curriculum you plan to use (if you HS) you may want to give it serious thought- while I believe in HS flexibility I do have real issues with bouncing in and out of school- often this can cause more problems academically- it take a lot to balance the social aspect but it can be done (many do - do it!) - my deep concern is the issue that arise when you take a year out and go back and the child is not on the same "level" the others and the material coved is a duplicate or not up to the rest, etc - plus the whole re-adjustment that is added to the child

 

if it was me, I would plan for a longer time out, given the tiny school district and focus more on the academic and the social will most likely take care of it self 

 

again, good luck


 

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#13 of 33 Old 01-23-2012, 05:20 PM
 
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I'm curious, serenbat, whether this is an actual or theoretical problem you've observed. I would have said the same several years ago, but having watched my own and a dozen or so other children enter the school system at a variety of ages and levels, I'm amazed at how easily the kids have adapted and how beside the point any supposed gaps or lags have been. There's tremendous variability even within a classroom of always-schooled 4th-graders. Some of them may have learned and retained only a small fraction of what was taught in 3rd. A homeschooler with a 30% "gap" in the 3rd-grade math curriculum will be in fine company with the 4th grade kids who need copious reinforcement, review and re-teaching. A homeschooler who didn't touch on the solar system at all in 3rd grade won't notice any lack at all since 4th grade focuses on cells, weather and extreme environment, and when he reaches the astronomy unit in 7th grade, all that solar system stuff will be retaught anyway. 

 

Parents who are considering re-inserting their children into the school system before too long tend to keep themselves informed of and take into accoutn the level the schoolchildren are working at. I'm generalizing here, but where I've seen homeschoolers struggling with significant lags and with the transition it's been when they've been out of the school system for years and had not had planned on enrolling. 

 

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#14 of 33 Old 01-23-2012, 05:33 PM
 
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given what the OP said about the size, I really don't see many options- if you take a year off and go back and things aren't the greatest, doesn't seem like she could just switch teachers or get much additional resource -IMO

 

seems quite small over all and not a lot of wiggle room for "extras" at the school as far as education opportunities 

 

if the OP had a larger school system with more choices- sure, it could work but given what she has states I can see some real draw backs here

 

 

I also would not base keeping a child in a school with a just the social playing a large role in my decision (ski program,etc) I would be concerned if I felt things were not working academically, the first few years- IMO are so important and consistency is something I feel is important 

 

I think we tend to understand "big is not always better" but small isn't the greatest either sometimes


 

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#15 of 33 Old 01-24-2012, 05:42 AM
 
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I think you sound like an intelligent, well spoken woman. What you are describing at the early levels seems very much behind what most schools in this country are currently doing. I would focus your energy on changing the district policies. Attend BOE meetings, gather signatures, offer solutions,  try to get on the board yourself even. Keep hounding! Show typical curriculum of other schools. Offer suggestions like using reading/writing workshops so the kids can move at their own paces, etc. etc.  Sound like the school needs some updating. I'm not a pushy academic person myself, but if they are spending the K year working on shapes and colors in a seat work kind of way that is insane!!! Many kids must be bored with that not just yours! It's one thing if it was a play based atmosphere...... 

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#16 of 33 Old 01-24-2012, 10:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey everyone-- I really am appreciating the comments--thank you,  thank you!.  I am really curious on hearing more on how switching between school and home has worked/not worked for families.  I can easily envision growing beyond a full grade once a full school year was completed at home (especially since there are no enrichment/GT programs for those kids who are ready for more challenges).  

 

MeeToo-- you and I sound like we are cut from the same cloth.  I have tried and tried as you suggest, but I am at the point where I am banging my head against a wall and (as a PP put it) alienating myself.  Since our community is very small (and  many seem to be small minded) differences of opinion about school bleed into everything else.  I thought I had a chance at appealing to common sense by looking objectively and proactively at the topic.  I am at a point where my time and energy is better spent on improving the situation for my own.

 

We had our fledgling play group again this morning and have over 21 young children join us!  For our community, this is an unbelievable number!    We were hoping for 10, and figuring 5-6 would justify continuing the program.  If nothing else, getting this play group going has been a success.  

 

Some additional discussion has been going on this topic on the learning at home forum...I cross posted there.

 

Thanks!

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If I were you and wanted to HS,  I would focus on:

 

-developing or maintain socialising (which is different from "socialization") opportunities outside of school.

 

- work on getting ski passes, if the lack of such passes would bug you or would be missed.  I know local ski passes are available for HSers during the day for a ridiculously low price - as they are taking advantage of the non-peak times.  You may also be able to work with the school on getting the passes for cheap (do they buy in bulk? Would they be willing to buy for HSers as well?).  Lots of hills have deals - look around!

 

I have Hsed and had kids in school.

 

DD went to school from K-12, then returned in grade 7

 

Ds went to school part time from 3-6, then returned in grade 10.

 

I honestly have not had huge transition issues.  In all cases the kids were onboard with the plan, however.  Does your child like school?

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#18 of 33 Old 01-24-2012, 11:04 AM
 
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Quote:
 I can easily envision growing beyond a full grade once a full school year was completed at home (especially since there are no enrichment/GT programs for those kids who are ready for more challenges).  

 

 

that would clearly be one of my concerns since the school seems really small

 

the suggestion about getting on the school board is great but I think it would be tons of stress-IMO 

 

 

 

Quote:
I am at a point where my time and energy is better spent on improving the situation for my own.

that's what I mean!

 

I would also think about spending the ski money on some overnight educational trips or long day trips and call it even!

 

it's sad that you think a small community school would be great and instead you get a bunch of small-minded community non-help!

 

 


 

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#19 of 33 Old 01-24-2012, 11:18 AM
 
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Awww, that is too bad about the ski passes. Skiing is huge here as well so I understand that. 4th-6th graders get free ski passes at our local resort no matter where they go to school. You just need proof that they are in these grades. No one does deals for homeschoolers here except for one tiny hill. My DD1 is an avid boarder. We used to home school and then landed at a tiny private school, DD1 has been there for 3 years now and loves it. We are looking at a charter school for middle school. 


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#20 of 33 Old 01-24-2012, 02:59 PM
 
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I would consider a few things as options if I were in your situation. I might keep them in the school,and teach them on my own as well. I would look into online public schools. I would homeschool. I would consider moving.

 

 I have questioned things with teachers/school and it always seems to end unpleasant. Don't know why,but people get so upset even when you make valid points politely.  I gave up. If I don't like something then we move on if need be.

 

Best wishes finding something that works. I think switching around (schools and methods)is fine.I have seen it  with others, and  have done it with my kids and they are doing well.

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#21 of 33 Old 01-25-2012, 09:07 AM
 
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I did some additional fact finding, and discovered our school is the only district in the area (and it's a pretty large range) that does not offer any kind of school supported pre K.  As I had "followed the proper chain of command" the previous year w/no adequate response, this year I took my concern to the school board level, requesting the school to look at various options to improve opportunities in the early grades.

 

Again, I won't go into too many details, but despite support from a few other parents, objective information provided, a polite and respectful attitude on my part, the BoE pretty much rolled their eyes and dismissed my concerns.  They are clearly not used to being questioned about anything.  While they should be commended for their willingness to volunteer for school leadership, they also shown themselves to be pretty small minded, and lacking in any kind of professionalism.  I was prepared for not having them agree with me, but disappointed at their outright dismissal.

 

....BUT, 1 BoE member (also a board member of the pre K), in particular, saw this concern only as being against the long established pre-K.  Apparently the pre-K has sacred cow status, and anything seen as less than glowing reviews of that program is blasphemy.   At the last BoE meeting (last week), my concerns, proactive suggestions, etc.. were twisted and turned, dismissed as invalid.  My family was really portrayed poorly for questioning the status quo, and being some kind of nutty academically pushing extremists.  

 

I thought I had pretty thick skin, but apparently not.  I am really frustrated and hurt by some of the comments made, and the attitudes shown.  We have been made to feel unwelcome.  It's a tiny, tiny town, so this unwelcome attitude extends well beyond the school environment.

 

 

.

 


I applaud you for trying to make a difference at the school. It sounds incredibly frustrating. 

 

If I understand, you are concerned about (1) weak academics at the school and (2) a dull, unimaginative approach generally in the classroom and at the school and (3) your child's individual learning. You've been trying to motivate changes at the school to address all of these areas at once. 

 

Regarding your own child, you could approach the teacher and the school and work out individual accommodations, depending on her abilities and interests. This is essentially what happened when you adjusted the school schedule to allow for 2 days of home learning. Individual accommodations are often used for students with special learning issues (learning delays or gifted) but they could be used in other circumstances, if everyone is willing (that's the catch!!). There are many different kinds of accommodations like alternate in-class assignments, working with students in higher/lower grades, pull out programs with similar students, independent projects..... Instead of trying to overhaul an entire school and program, you may have more success with seeking out some smaller adjustments for your DD.  

 

If you continue to work for change at the school, you may want to work on one or two ideas to enrich the learning environment, rather than asking for a more comprehensive change that will seem overwhelming and will be resisted. Kind of a Trojan Horse approach - use a special project that can generate some creative, innovative opportunities across the curriculum  Something like a school garden and kitchen program (science and math!) or a literacy/book festival with a school-wide magazine publication of the student's writings and some author readings. If you can find a sympathetic teacher or two for support and some parent/volunteer help, you are more likely to be successful. Perhaps those are the kinds of ideas you broached at the Board of Education, and if so, I'm sorry that I can't provide any new ideas for you.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#22 of 33 Old 01-27-2012, 05:41 AM
 
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If you continue to work for change at the school, you may want to work on one or two ideas to enrich the learning environment, rather than asking for a more comprehensive change that will seem overwhelming and will be resisted. Kind of a Trojan Horse approach - use a special project that can generate some creative, innovative opportunities across the curriculum  Something like a school garden and kitchen program (science and math!) or a literacy/book festival with a school-wide magazine publication of the student's writings and some author readings.


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#23 of 33 Old 01-30-2012, 05:14 AM
 
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I want to support our public school--not just for my own family's sake, but for the good of the community...BUT--

 

...

 

Again, I won't go into too many details, but despite support from a few other parents, objective information provided, a polite and respectful attitude on my part, the BoE pretty much rolled their eyes and dismissed my concerns.  They are clearly not used to being questioned about anything.  While they should be commended for their willingness to volunteer for school leadership, they also shown themselves to be pretty small minded, and lacking in any kind of professionalism.  I was prepared for not having them agree with me, but disappointed at their outright dismissal.

 

....BUT, 1 BoE member (also a board member of the pre K), in particular, saw this concern only as being against the long established pre-K.  Apparently the pre-K has sacred cow status, and anything seen as less than glowing reviews of that program is blasphemy.   At the last BoE meeting (last week), my concerns, proactive suggestions, etc.. were twisted and turned, dismissed as invalid.  My family was really portrayed poorly for questioning the status quo, and being some kind of nutty academically pushing extremists.  

 

I thought I had pretty thick skin, but apparently not.  I am really frustrated and hurt by some of the comments made, and the attitudes shown.  We have been made to feel unwelcome.  It's a tiny, tiny town, so this unwelcome attitude extends well beyond the school environment.

 

I am ready to just give up.  It seems like the only option we have is to home school.   Right now I want to isolate my family entirely, but that is likely just me feeling so raw.  Advice??  Ideas??

 

Like you, I am a huge supporter of public school, although I have many friends who homeschool and I support that as well.  My first reaction when I read the beginning part of your post is that I, too would seriously consider homeschooling.  And that would never work for me because my dd is unwilling to believe anything academic that I have to say. 

 

I've been thinking about the above portion of your post, and the more I think about it, the angrier I get.  I'm not one to get involved about things, but I think that were I in your shoes, I would probably get angry enough and run for a seat in the Board of Education. 

 

Right now, you are new to the district, and I'm sure that it seems to you like everyone else has the same opinion the Board of Education.  But you know, this might not really be true.  Even as small as your district is, there have got to be at least a few people who think like you.  It might seem daunting, to run for an office, but I would think that it would be doable.  To win an election in an office like the Board of Education, you don't even need very many votes, because few people show up for elections in what seems to be a minor office. 

 

If I lost the election, then maybe I'd homeschool.
 

 

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#24 of 33 Old 01-30-2012, 06:43 AM
 
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Morning. Not sure if anyone has mentioned this....I only scanned thru the responses....but your note about how the K only addressed letters halfway thru the year jumped out at me.....small town or not, every public school, or rather teacher/classroom, needs to meet/follow state standards.  Every state has their own set of educational standards for each grade level--for public school.  Go to your district website or even call them up..........you can get a copy of the standards or even download them.......YES, they can be basic and it's easy to do one activity and meet several standards, but if you have a teacher that isn't meeting them, then that's a big problem.  In some schools, especially those with low test scores, the state will sometimes step in and re-do the administration team and teacher placements........teachers are usually then required to post which standard they are addressing with each lesson........(they should have this done anyway in their lesson plans). Would love to chatt more........PM if you want.


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#25 of 33 Old 01-30-2012, 08:18 AM
 
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 Have you considered grade acceleration?

 

I don't see that NY has a public school cyber charter, darn.  That might have paid for the skiing.

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#26 of 33 Old 01-30-2012, 06:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Virginia Mom View Post

Morning. Not sure if anyone has mentioned this....I only scanned thru the responses....but your note about how the K only addressed letters halfway thru the year jumped out at me.....small town or not, every public school, or rather teacher/classroom, needs to meet/follow state standards.  Every state has their own set of educational standards for each grade level--for public school.  Go to your district website or even call them up..........you can get a copy of the standards or even download them.......YES, they can be basic and it's easy to do one activity and meet several standards, but if you have a teacher that isn't meeting them, then that's a big problem.  In some schools, especially those with low test scores, the state will sometimes step in and re-do the administration team and teacher placements........teachers are usually then required to post which standard they are addressing with each lesson........(they should have this done anyway in their lesson plans). Would love to chatt more........PM if you want.

pigpokey's post suggests that you are in NY?

 

I googled new york state curriculum education standards. 

 

I got the following:

 

http://www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/

 

This website is part of the New York State Board of Education.

 

On the left side bar, you want "P-12 Common Learning Standards"

It looks like at the very least, you want the pdf file for:

New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy

(especially pages 22 and 23)

--and--

New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards for Mathematics


 

You might also find this helpful:

http://www.p12.nysed.gov/part100/pages/1003.html

 


Hmm...

Also found this:

http://www.p12.nysed.gov/nonpub/homeinstruction/

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#27 of 33 Old 01-30-2012, 07:34 PM
 
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I applaud anyone trying to change a public school, but It just is practically impossible to do.  Many frustrated teachers don't try because they know how hard it is and how thankless it is.  To really change it, you need to get the media on your side and involve them as much as possible.  They will ignore you, but they will think twice if it's in the newsaper and on television. 

 

Anway, the main thing is to make sure they know their math.  If I had enough money, I would hire a tutor for the school's weak areas.  If not, you can do the work at home.  Why do I say math?

 

Well, most children will learn to read.  If they read on their own daily, their writing and reading ability will be pretty good.  However, most schools that struggle just can't get people to learn the math.  This is the biggest weakness for schools.  There are lots of kids that graduate that can't do math and yet most can read and write.  So, that would be my main concern.  Of course, there's more to life than math, but many of the best careers are math based and kids are weeded out in college based on math competency; not reading and writing (typically).

 

Personally, I think 1-2 hours of math and 1-2 hours of reading per day and your child will be light years ahead of the pack.  It all depends on what you are working for.   

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#28 of 33 Old 01-31-2012, 09:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the continued suggestions.  I had explored/exhausted so many options before even posting here, BUT your comments are very validating and I appreciate them!

 

Unfortunately, MissKitty--I have to agree with you "I applaud anyone trying to change a public school, but It just is practically impossible to do".  I'm glad I tried to make changes through the proper channels, but I'm done beating my head against a wall.  My girls deserve so much better, and as a family we are fortunately in a position to be able to make some changes to give learning at home a full time go.  

 

To further seal the deal, the district JUST went through a search for a new Superintendent.  We were so hopeful there would be positive changes--there were some excellent top candidates.  BUT--the BoEd simply promoted the K-12 principal to the position...an alumni of the district with very little experience outside of the community, let alone the school district.  sigh.....  In my opinion, this move is a major step backwards for the community and one that we will be stuck with for the next several years at least.

 

Thanks everyone!  It's been great to feel supported/validated here at MDC, especially when that isn't the case "in real life". 

 

 

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#29 of 33 Old 01-31-2012, 10:40 AM
 
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Quote:
 BUT--the BoEd simply promoted the K-12 principal to the position...an alumni of the district with very little experience outside of the community, let alone the school district.  sigh.....  In my opinion, this move is a major step backwards for the community and one that we will be stuck with for the next several years at least.

 

 

that should reaffirm what you already know----depending on what is keeping you in the area (?) you may want to move on-not every place is like that


 

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#30 of 33 Old 01-31-2012, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are committed to the area--for many reasons--and not willing to move due to the school issue.  Home schooling is not something we are opposed to doing, just not what we had necessarily planned to do.  Thankfully, we have the flexibility to make the schedule changes we think will provide the best options for our children to learn and grow.   

 

Our school district is small enough that a loss of 1 or 2 students in a particular class is significant.  It will be interesting to see what the reaction to our choice by school leadership.  To clarify, we are feeling pretty happy with our daughter's first grade experience this year, so we will continue to keep her home on a semi-regular basis to supplement her classroom experience.  Next year, we will plan for full time learning at home.  

 

FWIW--Our son (10th grade) will be going to a career/technical program for his last 2 years of school.  He was advanced in math/science and moved up in 7/8th grade to keep him challenged.  Fast forward to his Jr/Sr. years and was looking at 3-4 study halls a day as he is quickly maxing out on academic courses.  The hands-on tech program will be a good fit for him--lots of practical skills to be learned-- and he is really looking forward to a change of pace. BUT--  I do find it ironic that his academic advancement lands him in study halls and in a vocational/technical program....not going to be the case with the younger kiddos.  Live and learn!

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