parental rights for retention in 1st grade - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 21 Old 05-20-2014, 06:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi I need some help and insight.  I have a first grader who I from the bottom of my heart believe should be retained this year.  His dad agrees (we are divorced), his teacher agrees, he gets extra support in school now and it seems like his extra teachers agree (altho they cannot really admit to it and neither should his teacher but thru their conversations with me that are Oh so tactful they really seem to agree), his therapist agrees, his pedi agrees and he is asking to do 1st grade again.  I know most of the studies out there talk about how kids who are retained do not graduate from HS but that is not a concern for me (unless his needs are not met which I am trying to do).  My obstacle is that the super intendant at school refuses to even allow a conversation because our district does not retain.  I cannot find anything that would help me with my legal rights or any resources to help me advocate since most people do not want to retain their children and he is not special needs.  Can anyone help me with any resources or good studies talking about benefits or anything?  I would really appreciate any help I can get....I am starting to get very frustrated.  Thanks so much in advance :)

Heather

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#2 of 21 Old 05-20-2014, 08:22 PM
 
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I think if it is the policy of the district then they do not have to hold him back. You could take your son to another school district that does and then just place him back in first.
Sorry this is stressful for you. Hope you figure it all out.
Best
Eta
I don't think retention is normally helpful but if I were to want a child of mine to be retained, 1 st grade would be the best because there are so many foundations laid down in first and it is important to have a solid grasp of the concepts.
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#3 of 21 Old 05-20-2014, 08:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, unfortunately I would need to move in order to switch districts and that is not very realistic.  I LOVE our school and teachers and principal and this really is the right place for him so I won't take him out.  I agree that retention is not ideal on many kids but I really feel it is the right choice for THIS kid.   I am putting feelers out there every where I can so hopefully I will find something to help :)  I just wrote an email to the superintendent requesting a meeting and I have some feelers out there for the school board so we shall see!  Thanks for taking the time to respond!

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#4 of 21 Old 05-20-2014, 08:40 PM
 
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Just out of curiosity, why do you feel your son needs to be retained?
Also, is it possible to give him some sort of enrichment during the summer so that he can be brought up?
Just curious and you don't have to answer.....
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#5 of 21 Old 05-20-2014, 10:18 PM
 
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The reason schools don't like to retain students is because of overwhelming research showing it to typically not be helpful and even harmful. A good look at the research shows that some of the reasons that this is an ineffective measure is because other issues need to be considered regarding the students lack of success. Retention can be useful in limited circumstances if it is paired with identification and addressing of those other issues. Your advocacy might be more successful if you start from the place of identifying and dealing with the issues that led to his lack of success in 1st then work with his team to determine if remediation can be added to the plan.

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#6 of 21 Old 05-20-2014, 10:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyGG View Post

The reason schools don't like to retain students is because of overwhelming research showing it to typically not be helpful and even harmful. A good look at the research shows that some of the reasons that this is an ineffective measure is because other issues need to be considered regarding the students lack of success. Retention can be useful in limited circumstances if it is paired with identification and addressing of those other issues. Your advocacy might be more successful if you start from the place of identifying and dealing with the issues that led to his lack of success in 1st then work with his team to determine if remediation can be added to the plan.
This rings true for me as I was retained in first grade( and ironically became a first grade teacher) and there were other issues as to why I was not meeting benchmarks.
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#7 of 21 Old 05-21-2014, 04:43 AM
 
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I dont have any wisdom for you but I just wanted to let you know you are not alone..I am in the middle of all the brewhaha to also have my 6 year old repeat 1st grade...I just had my Meeting with the principle yesterday...Next is a Meeting with all parties involved..Dont give up...Demand your right to be heard and the meetings...I flat out in as nice way possible told them that I will listen to everything they had to say but they were also going to listen to me..I am the parent and would make the final say and if they refused and I still felt retention was the best thing for my L(and it is) I would not hesitate to move her...
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#8 of 21 Old 05-21-2014, 06:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I do not think he is developmentally ready for the content he needs to master.  He is already getting extra support in school every day and has been since Jan of kindergarten.  He is slipping farther behind.  He will be getting summer enrichment and I am working on an IEP but that is only part of the battle.  If he is not ready then no matter how many services we throw at him that will not magically make his brain more mature....

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#9 of 21 Old 05-21-2014, 07:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you!!! I totally get the research, I have read it over and over again but the research is not on my kiddo.  I know my kiddo and I honestly from the bottom of my heart feel an extra year would benefit him.  I wrote an email to the Superintendent last night requesting a meeting and I am waiting to hear.  I am also trying to find advocacy groups in my state to help out.  I think retention is part of the solution but not the whole solution so I am also looking into learning differences and getting an iep. he is already on a plp and still slipping.  GOod luck with your battle and hang in there!

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#10 of 21 Old 05-21-2014, 07:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was retained in 2nd grade and diagnoses with dyslexia in 11th grade after years of struggle.  I understand that there can be negative effects but with my kiddo I really feel more negative will come from not retaining then it will from retaining....I know the research but it is not on Gregory....He needs a year!  He wants a year!

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#11 of 21 Old 05-21-2014, 10:38 AM
 
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I have kids who needed grade advancement in a district that claimed not to do skips, or that at least wasn't readily willing to do them. And like you I agree that while statistically speaking age-grade adjustments can cause problems or fail to address pre-existing issues, in carefully selected cases with other supports and accommodations in place, they can be an important part of the solution. We ended up homeschooling, and at the point of subsequently entering the school system my kids did get adjusted placements pretty easily. It seemed to be much easier for the school officials to say "This child was in nth grade this year as a homeschooler, so he'll go into (n+1)th grade in the fall" than to consider breaking their own rule about not skipping or retaining.

 

Would a year or two of homeschooling be an option for you?

 

Miranda

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#12 of 21 Old 05-21-2014, 11:03 AM
 
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Grade retention is a problem when teachers and parents think that retention alone will solve the problem, that magically another year to mature will fix whatever led to the problem in the first place. Research shows that overwhelmingly this is not the case. However, grade retention as part of an overall plan to meet a child's needs is another story. Basically in order for grade retention to be seriously considered something different needs to be happening during the repeated year to allow the child to be successful where they previously weren't. It sounds like you are aware of this and working on getting appropriate accommodations in place. 

So from an advocacy standpoint I'd start with "what do we need to have in place to allow my child to be successful in school?" then move on to "how are we going to deal with the gaps in knowledge that the unsuccesful 1st grade year left", and finally ask for "now that we have a good plan in place, and given our child's unique temperament and needs let's talk about retaining him in first grade to solidify our accommodations and allow him to learn the materials he wasn't able to learn the first time in that grade". 

 

I don't think it will go well if you start from a place of wanting to retain him in grade. I think you need to work up to that accommodation from the other ones. 

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#13 of 21 Old 05-21-2014, 07:00 PM
 
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Stand firm and demand your right to be heard...I got my phone call from the principle today...I won...My child is repeating 1st grade...I thought we were having another Meeting but they said it wasnt needed..The one person that was opposed to her being retained threw all the estudies at me too...I calmly and firmly said they mean nothing to me...Those studies had nothing to do with my child...

Dont let them Bully you out of your right to have your say....
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#14 of 21 Old 05-21-2014, 09:36 PM
 
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I'm confused by your posts.

Quote:

Originally Posted by heather hopkins View Post
 

 I cannot find anything that would help me with my legal rights or any resources to help me advocate since most people do not want to retain their children and he is not special needs. 

 

but you also say:

Quote:
Originally Posted by heather hopkins View Post
 


He will be getting summer enrichment and I am working on an IEP but that is only part of the battle.  If he is not ready then no matter how many services we throw at him that will not magically make his brain more mature....

 

IEP are for students with qualifying special needs. Under what category is he getting an IEP?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by heather hopkins View Post
 


. he is already on a plp and still slipping. 

 

What does plp stand for? We don't use that acronym where I live.

 

Has he had an evaluation?


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#15 of 21 Old 05-21-2014, 10:01 PM
 
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When I was in student teaching, I was told that the reason district DO NOT retain children has NOTHING absolutely to do with "the child's best interests".  BS! Spare me the "studies".

 

Use some common sense.

 

I was told that the state does NOT pay for the child to repeat the grade. The state pays the first time, but not for a child repeating that grade. That is why the superintendent is ignoring you. He wants his ADA $ from the state, and if he agrees to retain your child, he will not be paid for your child to be in the same grade a second time, even if that is the best for him.

 

Sometimes the principal does not allow retention because some principals pay close attention to their financial flow sheets.

 

I am going to suggest that you

 

1. homeschool and hire a very qualified tutor to work with your son in areas that you may not be able to help him.

2. put your son in another school district and simply register him in first grade. Period. No questions. No answers.

or 3. can you register him in first grade in a private school ?

 

Boys mature more slowly and they read later than girls. Your son will learn soon enough, and he does not need to be put in a classroom where everyone continues to progress and he is lost, and even more lost as he is pulled out for his special ed sessions.

 

I did #1 with my daughter. She is an October baby and was a bit immature. I hired a tutor to bring her reading up to speed.

With my son, I demanded an IEP, and I hired a lawyer who came with me to the IEP meetings.

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#16 of 21 Old 05-21-2014, 10:05 PM
 
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I wonder if an IEP would help. I have a friend whose child is being retained even though our district doesn't generally retain kids. But her child had a brain tumor, missed lots of school, and really medically needs to repeat the grade. The IEP was very detailed about how retaining decisions would be made over the next few years.

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#17 of 21 Old 05-22-2014, 06:41 AM
 
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This one size fits all approach to education- that NO child can be retained, is one of the major problems in education. And I teach in a public school.

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#18 of 21 Old 05-22-2014, 09:03 AM
 
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I think you're missing one key figure here - the school principal. Our district does welcome retention. I believe that process is initiated by the principal with input from teachers and parents. What does your school principal say?  

 

My child had a minor LD recognized in 1st that lasted until this year (it seems to be almost all the way resolved just now at the end of 6th grade).  One thing I know schools look it in terms of progress isn't how much support a child needs but how many weeks, months, or years worth of progress the child has made that year.  During the really challenging phases of my own child's education I always watched that progress meter. 

 

If you are not allowed to retain, another option would be to sink whatever extra resources you have into some summer work. I now our city offers many, many free programs in the summer and throughout the school year. 

 

Good luck and feel free to post her if/as you navigate the IEP process. I don't have experience with that but I have friends who have and I know many parents find they need support.  Welcome to mothering! 


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#19 of 21 Old 05-25-2014, 07:18 AM
 
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Yes...ask for a meeting with your principal....I had mine last week...we sat down and talked for a good 1/2 hour...he called me at work the next day and told me my request was approved..he didnt agree with some of what I had to say and I def didn't agree with what he said but it was it was a needed meeting...
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#20 of 21 Old 05-25-2014, 09:32 AM
 
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Quote:
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This one size fits all approach to education- that NO child can be retained, is one of the major problems in education. And I teach in a public school.

 Tell me about it.

I wasnt aware of this silly rule. Its revolting.  Some kids do need a little more time to mature, some of them  are on the cut off and are literally almost a year younger than other classmates.  Parents know best. They know their child, and know whether or not maturity is one of the main factors behind a childs issue. I would want to read those co called studies to be convinced of something that is so overwhelmingly illogical. I would guess that studies show that retention costs more money.

So glad my son is in a private school where they combine 3rd/4th grade, so that one year my son will  be one of the youngest, and  next year, he will be somewhere in the middle. If not for that, i would want him to repeat as well.

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#21 of 21 Old 05-25-2014, 10:08 AM
 
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 So glad my son is in a private school where they combine 3rd/4th grade, so that one year my son will  be one of the youngest, and  next year, he will be somewhere in the middle.

 

I think this is one of the biggest benefits of split classes -- the flexibility and fluidity in grade-levelling that can arise within them. My kids go to a tiny rural K-12 school where all classes cover at least two grades, and some cover three. The classroom instruction is always multi-level, open-ended and flexibly adapted according to need and readiness, and the kids seem to pretty much lose track of who's in which grade within the group. I was recently helping with yearbook editing, and the kids' individual photos were supposed to be grouped by actual grade page by page. The kids whom I asked for help were just as muddled as I was about who was in which grade in each classroom ... I finally had to ask the school secretary for the roster.

 

The bonus at our school is that over the summer, there are always some kids leaving the class to move up to the next level (eg. from this year's 4/5/6 class to the 7/8 class for the next year, or maybe next year it'll be a 6/7/8 class), and by design there are always some who are not. That means that much of the stigma around grade-skipping and grade-retention is lost. My dd11 is mostly homeschooled, but is under the umbrella of the school and attends class occasionally. She was in the 4/5/6 cohort last year when she was 4th-grade age, and moved to the 7/8/9 cohort this year. No one really noticed or cared that she was "double-grade-skipped." She was just one of the handful of kids who moved up a class. At the same time there was a boy who stayed an extra year in that younger class. Again, the kids don't really seem terribly aware of the fact that he's now back a year, since he was just one of many not changing classes.

 

Miranda

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