Minor schooling freakout

We got DC1’s standardized test scores and zie had only gotten an 83% in 7th grade math (DC1 is currently in 6th grade, but because zie is in 7th grade math, zie took the 7th grade standardized math test).  This wouldn’t be a big deal, except one of their online pieces of material says that kids need at least 90% on the 7th grade standardized test to get into Algebra Honors (along with some other requirements that DC1 has), and if they don’t have that then they go into regular Algebra.  Also, Algebra will show up on their high school transcript and be included in their high school GPA no matter when they take it.

On top of that, we just found out that there was an advanced 6th grade Language Arts class that we’d had no idea about when we moved back from paradise.  DC1 has been in regular Language Arts which might partly explain why zie has been learning so little and never had homework.  Plus the last two grading periods (out of 10 grading periods), DC1’s Language Arts grades dropped just below 90 because zie had a brief period of time where zie was completely disorganized and had been having trouble getting things to the places they needed to be (this also showed up for one grading period in math and would have shown up in Orchestra except the teachers emailed us before it became a big enough problem to affect hir grade).   The problem here is that the online sheet talking about tracking into 7th grade basically said if you were in 6th grade advanced, then you’d be in 7th and if you were in 7th, then you would be in 8th.

So I freaked out and started worrying about the perils of acceleration potentially keeping my child from excelling later on (something I have never worried about before with DC1 because we’ve never had cause to worry– and in hir defense, at 10 zie is no more disorganized than most 12 year olds).  DH contacted the counselor to set up an appointment and he called back while we were out for a walk.

It turns out that all 6th graders in 7th grade advanced math get moved up to Algebra Honors regardless of their standardized test scores.  The requirement list is only for students going to Algebra in 8th grade or later.  Whew.

And the counselor looked at DC1’s transcript and said if those last two grading periods had been higher DC1 would have automatically been moved up to advanced 7th grade Language Arts, but since they were below 90, the automatic move wasn’t tripped.  (Though if zie had had those grades in advanced 6th grade Language Arts, then zie would have stayed in the advanced Language Arts track.)  He asked why DC1 wasn’t in 6th grade advanced Language Arts and DH said we’d moved back from out of state and we didn’t know to ask about it.  So the counselor said that because DC1 is in the G/T program and has high grades in advanced 7th grade math and has As in all of hir other classes for all of the grading periods and had high standardized test scores for reading that putting hir in advanced 7th grade Language Arts should not be a problem at all, scheduling conflicts permitting. (Since DC1’s requested schedule probably looks identical to a bunch of other students with academically-minded parents, it probably won’t be a problem.)

So… no reason to freak out at all.

Still, I was not thinking that things DC1 did at age 10 could end up on hir permanent transcript!  I hope Algebra goes well!  The math teacher for the honors classes is supposed to be awesome, so that’s hopeful.  Keyboarding and Spanish will also show up on the high school transcript.  It’s a strange new world we live in.

What’s the moral?  When you’re concerned about something, talk to the school!  They’re there to help (usually).  The other moral is that sometimes you have to ask about things you didn’t know you needed to ask about (like advanced classes… or the fact that there’s an online website where you can track your kids’ turned in home works that everyone else knew about because they were told in 5th grade).

And yes, I still think we made the right decision letting DC1 skip two grades.  But we’re also taking it a year at a time.



18 Responses to “Minor schooling freakout”

  1. Shannon Says:

    We’ve been struggling this year with disorganization having negative consequences. But for the most part, we’ve let our child feel the consequences of that disorganization in middle school because for us, what happens in middle school stays in middle school. As a result, our oldest missed the presidential distinction at graduation because of one major assignment not turned in. I will tell you – it totally sucked as a parent to see that. We could have intervened to fix it, but ultimately, I think the lesson learned from not having your name announced is more important in the long run.

    I am not saying that’s what you all did here – not at all. But for me, this post seems to reflect the tension we’re feeling – figuring out when to intervene to help out and when to let the chips fall where they may. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out how to handle a situation, and it is VERY hard to let the chips fall when you know you can fix it.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      DC1 doesn’t really seem to care much about awards (unlike DC2 who is very driven by that), but zie did get super depressed about letting people down. There may have been tears.

      We talk a lot about what can we do to solve problems when they come up. (The math and orchestra teachers were also really helpful in this respect, which is probably why hir grades were affected less in these two classes, the ELA teacher much less so.) I cannot remember if I posted about this when it happened or not, I’m guessing that because I can’t remember I probably didn’t.

  2. Rosa Says:

    I LOVE the website that shows assignments. I wish more of the teachers used it proactively – thing will be due Friday instead of thing WAS due Friday. But we have backed off most of our organizational help to reminding the child to check the website and, occasionally, threatening to go talk to the teacher if the child continues to forget to follow up (at least once this semester it really was that the thing was turned in and the teacher hadn’t updated/graded.)

    Middle school grades here can determine which high school programs kids can get into, so our current position is “as long as your grades reflect your ability, we will not intervene”. Which is easy so far because he hasn’t had problems grasping the content of any of his classes, it’s all been either due dates or understanding the directions, and he’s getting great at asking for clarification.

    For a while it looked like he would fail Advanced Math due to that one teacher not accepting late work, but she relaxed that toward the end of the school year (we did not ask her to, though we did pressure him to turn in all the work even though it looked like he wouldn’t get credit for it.) All the 6th grade teachers seemed to feel that organization and deadlines are part of what they’re teaching, which is great.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Oddly, they emailed what they’d be doing in class each week on that Monday, though math wasn’t included because advanced 7th grade math wasn’t limited to just hir group (the middle school was split up into groups each named after a predator, so like eagles and cheetahs and so on, that all had the same teachers even if they had them different class times), but they didn’t really put down in-class assignments and there wasn’t much actual homework except in math. (Apparently if zie had been in advanced language arts there would have been homework.)

      Man, that due dates/understanding directions/remembering to transfer the assignment to the locker then to the backpack then back to the backpack then to the classroom… so much trouble. Next year they’re supposed to be allowed to bring their backpacks with them to class so that might help. Though zie does get stuff squished down in the bottom and then can’t find it sometimes even if it is actually there. (Part of the solution has been to force hir to use folders, but that only works if zie puts the item in the folder.)

      • Rosa Says:

        oh yeah, part of our routine is completely emptying the backpack on thursday night. Which is useful for not having moldy food in there, getting out candy the dog might chew the backpack up for, and finding papers that needed to be signed/labeled/finished and turned in. Otherwise we were finding a lot of things on Sunday night when it was too late.

        Many of the teachers at our middle school also accept online submissions, either in a school edropbox thingy or by having google docs shared with them (the kids use google docs to collaborate at school, so they all know how to do this.) It’s all pretty great for the organizationally challenged.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        We had been doing that nightly but then DH and I got busy with work and activism and did it much more sporadically. :(

  3. SP Says:

    I missed a 4.0 in high school (no AP offered) because of an A- in keyboarding and a B+ in gym. No kidding. We had tests where we had to identify the parts of a typewriter and other arcane keyboarding trivia (the class was not taught on typewriters). At the time, I didn’t realize that it would make a difference and I knew how to type, so it is likely i didn’t take it so seriously. I can’t explain the B+ in gym, I was reasonably athletic although not on the school sports teams. It is still somewhat of a mystery why that happened, although there was probably some explanation given at the time. Or maybe I didn’t ask. Both of these classes were the first semester of high school when I didn’t realize they would be the outliers and make a difference. I mean.. It turned out I wasn’t going anywhere special for college, and that was more because have the social support to know how to get into a competitive college for an affordable price. So the impact was minimal in the long run. However, the impact of having parents who were academically minded and knew how to work within the system to advocate probably would have been huge! Way to watch out for DC1s permanent record!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Well, if we’d been more in tune with things we would have known about the advanced 6th grade language arts class and we would have known about the website with information on individual assignments and so on… but so far no harm no foul, we hope!

      Wow, typewriters. How bizarre.

      • First Gen American Says:

        We actually learned typing on typewriters so I am dating myself.

        My middleschooler would forget to bring his head to school if it wasn’t screwed on. We have had to micromanage the homework. It has been a painful year but I hear it gets better. My worst grades were in 6th grade as well.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Man, middle schoolers. If only they were still in elementary school.

      • gasstationwithoutpumps Says:

        I not only learned on a typewriter, but on a manual one. The typewriter I took to college was a “portable” as it only weighted about 20 pounds and had a carrying case with a handle. The keys on the high-school’s office machines were so stiff that I couldn’t reliably press them with my little fingers—to this day I don’t use the little finger of my right hand when typing, and use the left one only for shift keys.

      • Nanani Says:

        I learned typing on typewriters too, in the last year before the school was set to replace them with computers.
        Worth noting that I already had internet access (dial-up), and a computer at home to use it, before I took that class, which was required in grade 9.
        Academic requirements update slowly

  4. Karen Says:

    Are you concerned that you are putting too much pressure on your children to obtain high grades? My kids are not gifted and I try my best to remind them their schooling is a marathon and not a sprint.

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