Friday, November 20, 2009


Today marks the end of the first grading period at AJ's school and the beginning of Thanksgiving break. AJ is far more excited about getting his first real report card than he is about having a week off from school.

In AJ's school, third grade is the year they start traditional letter grades. I find this a little odd. I'm pretty sure we didn't have letter grades until junior high -- just a system of checks, pluses and minuses. AJ is sure he's doing great -- and I'm sure he is too. But I'm also prepared for surprises. Past experience suggests there will be some.

I'm much less interested in the report card than in our conference next week. We'll meet with both the classroom teacher and the gifted teacher. I'm trying to assemble a list of questions. The big one is about why the math in the classroom is so much easier than the gifted math and why can't there be more advancement. The other is why are the spelling words easier than first grade.

But the big thing I'm looking for, I won't ask about. I'm gearing up for what is likely to be the next big fight. The financial troubles our district is having are dire and art, music and the gifted program are probably going to be eliminated next year. I'm trying to prepare for what to do if and when that happens. It is likely we'll petition for acceleration. It would be easiest to do it next year or the year after, as next year there will be a big student shuffle as they redistrict schools and the following year, in fifth grade, all of AJ's grade will be merged at one central middle school.

Big things ahead.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We get number grades on assignments (15 out of 15, for example) but there's a system for "skill mastered" "skill in progress" etc. at second grade. Third grade transitions to letter grades.

I am deeply torn about public education right now. On the one hand, I deeply believe that special needs kids are best served by being in school, by having low student-teacher ratios and participating in the lives of "normal" kids. At the same time, that money could be spent on the arts, gifted programs, etc.

Hoover tried to save the nation's economy by balancing the budget and look where that got him.