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<p>it's difficult to be a mom who's living in subsidized housing yet not for the "usual" reasons. i came here to save my daughter and my self from domestic violence, i am disabled and have a fixed income, and her father has never paid child support. my job is to shop for and apply for the offered social benefits that improve my daughter's quality of life, i can't let my pride get in the way. we're here, now, and we will continue to make the best of things.</p>
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<p>that being said ... after 3 years, we still don't fit in with any of our neighbors. my daughter is a real social butterfly and very savvy about finding her place in the "pecking order" of any group of children. when she's only invited to one child's birthday party yet all are invited to hers - and enjoy it greatly - i feel so sad for her! our house is the "arts and crafts" house, especially during bad weather. rumors and gossip seem to fly faster and get more twisted and longer-lived here, perhaps it's the New England regional mentality? some of it may be simply socioeconomic concerns.</p>
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<p>my biggest worry is: in my daughter's public school class, she's with almost all of her friends from housing. in my experience thus far in pre-school interviews and the registration process, the moment any school staff member hears our address, they're immediately able to identify and label us as "poor." therefore she's supposed to be an at-risk child who will be slower and need help. when anyone sees how bright and motivated she is, they're very surprised. which i think is a good thing, it's nice to shake up people's notions of statistics and labels once in a while.</p>
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<p>my main worry right now: getting my girl promoted to first grade without coming across as the "pushy parent who just knows her kid is incredibly gifted." after her initial interview, we were told she'd be in kindergarten for a few weeks to orient her to school (after being home-schooled), then going to the first grade class. yet after the first tests, my girl "dumbed herself down" (i didn't know 6-yr-olds could even do that!) to perform on the tests as the testers seemed to expect her to perform - because the kids her age here had told her they wanted her in their class so they could pay. she said that tests were presented to her with the words, "you probably won't be able to read this, but try anyway." some children might take that as a challenge, my kidlet took it as instructions on how to stay in a class with her youngest friends and play with them.</p>
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<p>i wasn't there to see both sides, but she's quite accurate at reporting and has a large vocabulary and a good emotional quotient. i've discussed with her that she needs to do her absolute best every day, not just at home, and that if she moves up a grade she'll have more books and learning resources available, which she very strongly states she wants! she loved being with her friends at first, but now she's getting really bored and sometimes angry at the teachers for not teaching her "anything new i don't know yet."</p>
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<p>there are three kindergarten classes at my girl's school. after seeing all three of them on family night, i realized that my girl is in the class with the highest ratio of housing kids. they've all been in Head Start programs for 2-3 years. some are on their second year of kindergarten because they were held back (i didn't know that could happen, either!). when i introduced myself and my daughter at her first day orientation, the moment i said that Willow was home-schooled, the teacher cut me off with a patronizing, "Don't worry, she'll catch up." (she's normally a very sweet woman, i've learned.)</p>
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<p>now, however, my girl is expected to be a leader, a mentor, and a tutor to her classmates. she does love being able to help the other kids, but she asks "when is someone going to help me?" i have a conference set up for December, couldn't get one sooner. i'm going to propose that she be moved to first grade for 4 weeks and then be evaluated - i'd rather have her be the "slowest" kid in first grade than the "fastest" kid in kindergarten. her school has absolutely no resources for kids who are ahead in any way, although they have a tremendous amount of resources for the kids who need the extra help.</p>
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<p>my daughter comes home with a backpack full of busy-work, mostly worksheets. the teacher said that she asks for "work" during play time and doesn't seem interested in the toys, so they give her as much work as she wants. my girl is learning new things, but only in the social realm and nothing new academically. i continue to home-school her after school and on weekends, thank goodness she's still very motivated to learn!</p>
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<p>there just seems to be a pervasive classism in her school. it's assumed that when a "housing kid" comes in, they're going to need all sorts of special lessons and resources, and that they're going to be major discipline problems. when the school staff encounters a child that doesn't meet their expectations of our statistic, they seem at a loss how to educate the child. unfortunately, there does seem to be a percentage of kids with learning and behavior problems in our community, but it's not the norm.</p>
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<p>one neighbor's solution is to keep her young child inside all day year 'round, rather than play with the "pieces of sh*t children" here. other parents put them out in the morning and let them in at night. i made the choice right after we moved here to let my girl choose her friends, because i want her to be able to fit in to any group she wants, and i feel it's healthy for her to learn about all the different types of people in the world. yet the other parents seem very wary of us both, especially if my girl does anything scholarly (like teacher her friends to read or do math). she's a fantastic little tutor! she feels she needs to hide her light under a barrel, so to speak - she can sense the negative vibes around her when she's just being herself.</p>
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<p>since she started school, even her best friends started calling both her and i "stupid" quite a lot; when asked, the kids say they heard their parents say it. <span><img alt="greensad.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/greensad.gif"></span></p>
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<p>she's got a scholarship to a martial arts school and we go to a church with some Montessori education each week. i work hard to keep her motivated and challenged, and she does extremely well for the most part. she ends up in tears, though, when she doesn't understand why a kid her age doesn't know a certain letter, or can't count above 10, or why some kids make lots of noise so the whole class has to keep stopping - i explain to her that we all grow and learn at different speeds, just like the dandelions in the field. socialization, she is getting aplenty! education, not so much, so i still home-school, as a supplement.</p>
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<p>i truly wish that a child's address could be kept private at school somehow, so that only one person sees it and works with it, a clerical person who isn't in charge of the child's educational choices. i honestly wonder how my daughter would be treated in school if we had an address just two streets over in the spiffy section of town.</p>
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<p>anyone in a similar situation? i'd also love to hear a teacher's or school administrator's side of the story.</p>
 

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<p>I am sorry that you are feeling singled out per say.</p>
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<p>I have  two points of view:</p>
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<p>First as a parent of kids that were in an 'at-risk' PreK program. I felt that we had a fantastic teacher and in no way felt made feel poorly for the fact we were in the program (we did have to disclose were were on WIC and food assistance at the time). My kids were advanced and academically inclined. The teacher worked with them and another child that was in the same range. It was a talented teacher and fantastic class. It was also very diverse and we did not feel that there was  any stigma for anything. It was great that they also were able to help us get eye/hearing screening- when at that time in our lives we could not afford it.</p>
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<p>Second, as a teacher. I did not know my students addresses unless I looked them up. (I only did that if I had to mail something and it was often not until later in the year). Generally, my younger students did not know their address at the start of school so unless I personally knew the family--it was an unknown to me.</p>
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<p>If you have  concerns- talk to the teacher and/or administrator. They are unlikely to move your DD if she is not 'testing' advanced or at or beyond the 1st grade level. If your school does have a high percentage of students that are at or below poverty level, the school does often get additional resources to help keep them learning and engaged on grade level because the risk of drop-out/ parental involvement/ homework completion, etc is lower statistically speaking (obviously not in ALL or even a majority of cases, but it is risk factor). That said, I have worked in schools that are in areas that are struggling----some are great communities full of fantastic supportive teachers that have active parents and others are slip sliding along and have low attendance and family involvement. A lot has to do with the school atmosphere and the staff.</p>
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<p>I would try to get in touch with the staff, bring in work your DC does at home. Try to get her involved with kids in your area that will challenge her and keep her involved (at 6 she is unlikely to tell if it is a good or bad influencial crowd of kids).</p>
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<p>Three cheers for the martial arts, that may also introduce her to a new group of friends. Keep your head up and try not to worry about anyone else in your housing area. I am sorry you are feeling biased against for your housing situation.</p>
 

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<p>I would have your child retested and/or request that she be advanced.It is nice she can help others,but that should not be an everyday thing in her class.She is missing out by not being put in the next grade. If the school would not move her up I would enroll her in another public school,seek a private one that does scholarship,try an online charter public school,or  if possible homeschool.</p>
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<p>Wishing you both well!</p>
 

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<p>My situation is a little different than yours, but I do have a 6 year old who a) isn't a great test taker and b) knows how to game the system when it comes to tests, too. All through kindergarten, I noticed that his test results suggested he was unable to do things that I knew he could do very well. The same happened at the beginning of 1st grade. After a lot of questioning, it came out that he had figured out that if he did poorly on the test, he would be put in the lowest groups in class, and the work would be easy. I, too, was stunned that he had worked the system.</p>
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<p>Talk to the teacher. Explain what you suspect happened with the test. In our case, when I talked to the KG teacher, she was dismissive, but when I tried again with the 1st grade teacher, she was also becoming aware of the disconnect between DS's test scores and his performance in class, and bumped him up to more challenging work. Even if you can't get a conference right away, could you email the teacher or call her with your suspicions of your daughter's motivation for throwing the tests? That way she could pay extra close attention to your daughter's class performance between now and the conference.</p>
 
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