School's started. Hold back NOW?

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz  September 21, 2010 06:00 AM

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Hi Barbara,

Our daughter recently started 2nd grade at a new school, and after 7 days, we were asked to come into the school to meet with her two teachers and the principal. What we were told is that after some initial testing and school work at this level, they recommend that she go back to the 1st grade. However, they are leaving the decision up to us, and have assured us that they will support our decision, whatever it may be, including getting Mary the help she'll need if we choose to let her continue on with the 2nd grade.

So far she seems very excited about her new surroundings and eager to attend 2nd grade. She is generally a very happy child who seems to have no trouble fitting in with other kids her age, and seems to love going to school, learning new things, and making new friends. Upon approaching her about the subject of trying the 1st grade again she initially got upset and emotional, and stated she preferred to stay in 2nd grade.

My initial reaction to their recommendation is to get Mary the extra help she needs to continue on with the 2nd grade, and to at least try to bring her up to speed. However, my wife believes we should go by their recommendation because she is so far behind. I realize that there may not be any right or wrong way of doing things, but I'm very concerned about any psychological or adverse social affects it may have on her if she is sent back to 1st grade after already starting 2nd grade, especially at a new school. Are we giving up to easily on 2nd grade now if we send her back? I'm afraid that she could become a target for teasing or bullying by some of her peers once it is known she was sent back to 1st grade. Am I being too over protective? Once the school year starts could it be more damaging to sending her back, even if it is only 7 days, compared to her repeating from the start? May it be worse to continue on with 2nd grade, and have her struggle, and then have her repeat 2nd grade anyways? Could her repeating 2nd grade next year be more embarrassing for her then or set her back further academically?

Any insights you offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Barbara.

From: Jack, Norton, MA

Dear Jack,

Teachers have the best seat in the house when it comes to evaluating children because they have a large base from which to make comparisons. In my experience, they do not make recommendations like this lightly. I would take their advice.

Keep in mind that they could also have just given you a heads up that they are keeping an eye on her, that she seems to be struggling, and that they want to give it a little more time. But they didn't take a "wait & see" approach. They recommended to do it, and do it now.

As far as your concerns that she might be teased by her peers, I would be worried if this were third grade or higher. But children this age are much more forgiving than they will be in just a few more years. However, I absolutely would have a meeting with the second and first grade teachers, together, so that everyone understands the issues and also to see what ideas the teachers in both grades have about helping her with the transition, second grade teachers for smoothing her departure, and first grade teachers for transitioning her entry, for instance, assigning a "buddy" to her. Even ask to visit the class she would be in, to see how you think she would fit in there, if that will make you more comfortable.

By the way, that this is a new school makes it easier, not harder, to put her back now. If you wait until the end of second grade, kids will be quick to look at her as not smart enough for third grade. But because it's early in the year and a new school, it can be explained away by saying the school made a mistake. I don't see that as a mis-truth.

No child likes the idea of "going back" but this is not a child's decision to make. It is your decision. If you decide to do it, tell Mary that this is a decision for parents. You listened to her opinion, and you also talked to the teachers and this is what you decided. Don't waffle once you tell her. Let her know that you know she can make the adjustment, that you will help her, and the teachers will help her. Honestly, it sounds like your daughter is someone who will be able to make the social transition without much difficulty.

We put huge expectations on our children these days. I'm betting you will not regret buying her this extra time.

Any teachers out there who can offer advice? Or parents who have been through this?

I answer a question from a reader every weekday. If you want help with some aspect of child-rearing, just write to me here.

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18 comments so far...
  1. I just wanted to say that I sympathize - that's a hard situation. I think if my son's teacher(s) told me this I would do it without delay, but I would be thinking all the things you are thinking. Although I'm just a Mom, I agree with Barbara's advice that a new school, in the beginning of the year, in an early grade...all make an opportune situation for an easier transition than would be if she were still in the school where she did K and Grade One.

    There are many discussions on this page about holding back, and sometimes the discussions get heated. Best of luck -- and write in towards the end of the year and tell us how it worked out.

    Posted by RH September 21, 10 07:50 AM
  1. I would show up for a meeting with the principal and both Gr 1 and Gr 2 teachers with a LONG list of questions headed by the following:

    --show me the exact tests you used
    --show me the grade 1 end of year report card
    --show me an EXACT list of Grade 1 and Grade 2 skills
    --show me an EXACT list of areas to be worked on
    --show me the teachers qualifications to make assessments of holding back as opposed to offering guidance for enrichment
    --remind me WHY this wasn't mentioned in June
    --tell me again WHY holding back is your choice???

    Somebody is off the mark--one of the two teachers. This is something that really should have been dealt with over the summer--including remedial work if it was really necessary.

    My sister teaches third grade and she knows that the normal range of function at 8 yr old is all the way from 4 to 12...Maybe the Gr 2 teacher does not have this kind of experience.

    You HAVE to ask why your child went from pass to fail before YOU make a decision that will make your child miserable.

    I would like to remind Barbara that seven year olds were reported in the Boston Globe this spring to have engaged in classmate harassment. That's GRADE TWO. Meaning, RIGHT NOW in the life of this capable little girl.

    Posted by Irene September 21, 10 09:00 AM
  1. Since this is a new school for the student. I am assuming that the family is new to the town and the district was not aware her weaknesses when she enrolled over the summer. Retention is a huge deal for teachers - the district is putting itself on the hook for another year of education - so I would take their concerns very seriously.

    Here are the questions I would ask. Are the delays due to weakness in the prior district? Did you move from a weaker to a stronger system? If so, intensive tutoring might be able to correct the problem. Are you willing to put in the time/money in at home? When the school states it is going to provide supports, what do they mean exactly? Are they going to provide one-to-one remediation of missing skills, or are they just going to help her muddle through as needed? Is she a late birthday? If she is then I would return her to the previous grade immediately given that she's behind academically..

    Once the decision is made, I would pursue Special Education testing given that you describe her as "so far behind." It takes a while to get the results so I wouldn't wait to base the decision on it. Put the request in writing with a date. The school HAS to do it within a certain time frame. You'll then have a better idea of where her weaknesses stem from.

    If you do hold her back, I'd just describe it in terms of your old district having different guidelines and the new district is just placing you where she wuld have been had she started there. Yes it will stink a little, but it is going to stink a lot more in middle school when she struggling for hours over her homework because she doesn't have a good foundation of skills. I wouldn't worry at all about the other kids at all - honestly, they are so wrapped up in their own thing this will be old news in a day or two.

    Best of luck in your decision!


    Posted by PatD September 21, 10 10:36 AM
  1. Irene, the child is at a new school - not the one that made the decision to advance the child from 1st grade.

    I really like Barbara's advice and worry that parents today are too quick to be defensive of their children. When I was a kid, what the school said was final. It's nice that there is more give and take here, but if you don't trust the school's opinion enough to really consider their advice, why do you trust them enough to send your kid there every day?

    Posted by Q September 21, 10 10:37 AM
  1. i agree entirely with Irene. If she was that far behind, it should have been noted at the end of first grade, and this subject broached before the beginning of this school year, so the child didn't have to start in 2nd grade before being "moved back". Despite average parent attitude, teachers do NOT know everything, nor do tests tell you the full story. I'd want ALL the details, just as Irene outlined.

    Also, as parents, why are we not questioning the "pushing" that is going on in schools, the work that is far above what would have been taught at that grade level only ten years ago, and the over-emphasis on test results? These are valid questions that need to be asked.

    If, after gathering all info, I would consider moving her back, but only with a LOT of assistance from the school (guidance counselor, etc.) so that I was assured that the school was doing everything in their power to aid in what will surely be a challenging transition.

    Posted by Robin September 21, 10 10:38 AM
  1. You definitely need to get all the information mentioned by the posters above. However, it is rare that they would do this at this point, so soon in the year, unless it seemed very necessary for her sake. It could be that she was just getting by, or average at the other school and maybe the new school has higher standards, which puts her too far behind the children that attended the previous years.

    My kids go to a school that is classified as "academically challenging", and when students transfer from another school, they very often make them repeat the grade they just finished at their previous, public school, even if they had done very well. Some parents don't like it and refuse to send their child at all. Some parents do it reluctantly, thinking it may be wrong, but once their child is there, they realize they would have been too far behind the rest if they had started in the next grade.

    Posted by mom2boys September 21, 10 11:28 AM
  1. Wrong, wrong, wrong! I was held back in first grade and socially it was hell on earth! She WILL be teased and there WILL be a social issue regarding this. If you must take her out of second grade, then put her in a different school and NEVER put her back into the old school. I paid dearly (socially speaking) through Jr High for that!!!

    Posted by merilisa September 21, 10 12:48 PM
  1. Irene and Robin, this is a new school! This school could not have made any assessment at all about this child last year; they did not know the child. This is from Norton -- Norton has no k-1 school, so this is a family new to town.

    This sort of thing can happen when a family moves over the summer and the town to which they move has a more rigorous curriculum and higher standards.

    As for "show me the teachers qualifications to make assessments of holding back as opposed to offering guidance for enrichment" -- what would you be expecting to see? Remember, the teachers and the principal are making the suggestion. Unless this is a teacher fresh out of college in her first 7 days iof teaching, you are dealing with someone who likely has more experience than the parents in education.

    Posted by jlen September 21, 10 12:54 PM
  1. In regards to Irene's comment: "My sister teaches third grade and she knows that the normal range of function at 8 yr old is all the way from 4 to 12." - I surely would not want my child to be in any third grade teacher's class if the teacher believed an 8-year-old is "normal" if functioning as a 4-year-old. Think of what your child was like at 4 years old!!! Barbara, can Irene's statement in this regard possibly be correct?

    Posted by Starlight September 21, 10 03:48 PM
  1. If Norton has no k-1 school, then HOW does this little girl go back to Grade 1? Shouldn't Norton pre-assess new kids in August to prevent such cruel surprises?

    I am concerned that remedial work for a fixed time (2-3 months) was not suggested as the first answer to the "poor" function. Does it not make more sense to do that with a child whose social function appears to be just fine?

    Why not ask what teacher qualifications are? You may well find out that you have a teacher who really is new, or who has previously been teaching high school. Teachers should expect this question from every parent at the first teacher-parent meeting. They have pre-empted that normal development to the parent-teacher relationship, but that doesn't excuse them from the simple question.

    And on the subject, my sister does not like the fact that some 8 year olds function like 4 year olds, but she has them in a public school and she has to accommodate them. Anybody got a sure-fire recipe for guaranteeing that each kid is functioning at his/her numerical age level all the time? Because you would be a billionaire from all the world's formal school systems if you could sell that.

    Posted by Irene September 21, 10 05:49 PM
  1. Put her in first grade again. Explain to her that it is to her advantage. You can't keep learning new stuff unless you get the basics in place. She's in a new school...very few of the other kids are going to remember her being switched so early in the term so I doubt she'll get teased very much. Act positive about it so she'll feel positive about it; the thing she wants most in the world is to please you and her mother.

    Posted by Another View September 21, 10 06:02 PM
  1. I have not one, but two, close relatives who were pushed ahead of their ability because "nobody in OUR family repeats a grade." (They had each missed months of school due to serious health issues.) Both say it was the worst thing that ever happened to them. They never could really catch up academically, barely graduated, and one of the two was also very socially behind because he'd missed most of a year of socialization.

    I'd say it sounds like the kid is borderline--maybe needing more evaluation before you make a decision--but better to repeat a grade than go 11 years behind the curve.

    Posted by di September 21, 10 06:41 PM
  1. As a Norton resident, she very well may have moved to St. Mary's in Mansfield as her new school. A lot of assumptions being made here that have nothing to do with the question.

    Posted by RH September 21, 10 07:04 PM
  1. It's nice that there is more give and take here, but if you don't trust the school's opinion enough to really consider their advice, why do you trust them enough to send your kid there every day?

    Posted by Q September 21, 10 10:37 AM
    ----

    Uhm ... because so many of us can't afford private school, or can't afford to live decent school districts?

    Anyway, I very reluctantly held my daughter back in first grade. She was heartbroken at first; and I was heartbroken to see that in her. But at least she was held back before the school year began. She survived, and in recent years (she's in middle school now) she has talked about how it was the right choice. But that was before the school year - not two weeks in. Why doesn't Norton test its new students over the summer?

    Posted by reindeergirl September 21, 10 08:07 PM
  1. So she's not attending the same school she attended in first grade?
    If that is correct, then obviously the new school has an advanced curriculum in comparison to the previous school. So either send her to 2nd grade in her old school if possible, or send her to the first grade in the new school, since "she is so far behind."
    If it is carefully explained to her that first grade at this school is like being in second grade at her old school, she won't feel as embarrassed, and she can tell that to her classmates should it become an issue. In fact the new first grade teacher can be in on the explanation as well.

    Btw, if she among the heads of class during the school year, the teacher should take notice and challenge her-- and the others. If you find the work is too easy for her, take steps and confer with the teacher.

    Posted by SherryLane September 21, 10 10:53 PM
  1. I feel for Norton here.

    As a teacher, believe me when I say that holding a child back means there is are SIGNiFICANT delays and concerns. It is next to impossible to hold a kid back (and in the end, even when you're doing so for the best interest of the child...it makes the district look back as it affects their scores under "adequate progress"--attendance, retention, all of those are considered when deciding if a school is up to par) and often not in the best interest of the school

    When I taught in Cambridge, I fought as hard as I could to hold back a 5th grader who desperately needed to be held back (6th grade is a big year in terms of deciding how that child will be tracked for the remaining 6 years, and affects opportunities like whether he'll be in a college track....he had so many gaps and so many issues that he NEEDED the additional year or we were setting him up for failure). He was not held back--I was told to talk to his mom but no one in the administration attempted to back me up. I feel sorry for him, because I can say with certainty he is not heading to college, if he is even still in school.

    If you have the chance to rectify major gaps, do it now. It won't be that big a deal a few years down the line, and sometimes your job as a parent (and I speak as a parent as well as a teacher) is to make your kid unhappy because you're doing the right thing.

    Norton is a good school district and depending on where you moved from, it's not surprising that your child not be up to speed. I would ask to see all the assessments, to get a clear list of goals, and to insist on a special needs evaluation. The earlier an issue is caught, the better the chances to do everything to support it.

    Posted by C September 22, 10 12:52 AM
  1. We held back our son in first grade a year ago...as he had a late birthday, was a little immature and just wasn't ready for second grade academically. He just started second grade this year in a new school and is doing great! He is a year older now and is so much more confident than he was a year ago.

    It was the right decision for us.

    I will add that my son has never been teased about being held back, that was a big concern for us as well...his friends didn't seem to care...in fact I think they were sad that they wouldn't be in class together anymore...

    Posted by Madison September 24, 10 10:03 AM
  1. im having the same problem here... but believe it is the teacher that has it in for him... she gives him a yellow for behavior when the reason she gives it is bc he forgot to bring a signed paper back or if i forget to sign the paper...... he has high functioning autism but is doing well his teachers for math says he is getting it now ...as for reading he just doesnt like reading no matter how much we push him to do it... he just doesnt wanna do the work that doesnt mean he doesnt do well.... but bc of this the teacher wants to hold him back i made a meeting with the principal to see whats going to happen ..... when i told the teacher my decision she said she would talk to the principal WHY? to convince her to hold him back since the principal has guidelines to follow and hasd the last say!!!! its unfair!

    Posted by shelly May 25, 11 02:00 PM
 
18 comments so far...
  1. I just wanted to say that I sympathize - that's a hard situation. I think if my son's teacher(s) told me this I would do it without delay, but I would be thinking all the things you are thinking. Although I'm just a Mom, I agree with Barbara's advice that a new school, in the beginning of the year, in an early grade...all make an opportune situation for an easier transition than would be if she were still in the school where she did K and Grade One.

    There are many discussions on this page about holding back, and sometimes the discussions get heated. Best of luck -- and write in towards the end of the year and tell us how it worked out.

    Posted by RH September 21, 10 07:50 AM
  1. I would show up for a meeting with the principal and both Gr 1 and Gr 2 teachers with a LONG list of questions headed by the following:

    --show me the exact tests you used
    --show me the grade 1 end of year report card
    --show me an EXACT list of Grade 1 and Grade 2 skills
    --show me an EXACT list of areas to be worked on
    --show me the teachers qualifications to make assessments of holding back as opposed to offering guidance for enrichment
    --remind me WHY this wasn't mentioned in June
    --tell me again WHY holding back is your choice???

    Somebody is off the mark--one of the two teachers. This is something that really should have been dealt with over the summer--including remedial work if it was really necessary.

    My sister teaches third grade and she knows that the normal range of function at 8 yr old is all the way from 4 to 12...Maybe the Gr 2 teacher does not have this kind of experience.

    You HAVE to ask why your child went from pass to fail before YOU make a decision that will make your child miserable.

    I would like to remind Barbara that seven year olds were reported in the Boston Globe this spring to have engaged in classmate harassment. That's GRADE TWO. Meaning, RIGHT NOW in the life of this capable little girl.

    Posted by Irene September 21, 10 09:00 AM
  1. Since this is a new school for the student. I am assuming that the family is new to the town and the district was not aware her weaknesses when she enrolled over the summer. Retention is a huge deal for teachers - the district is putting itself on the hook for another year of education - so I would take their concerns very seriously.

    Here are the questions I would ask. Are the delays due to weakness in the prior district? Did you move from a weaker to a stronger system? If so, intensive tutoring might be able to correct the problem. Are you willing to put in the time/money in at home? When the school states it is going to provide supports, what do they mean exactly? Are they going to provide one-to-one remediation of missing skills, or are they just going to help her muddle through as needed? Is she a late birthday? If she is then I would return her to the previous grade immediately given that she's behind academically..

    Once the decision is made, I would pursue Special Education testing given that you describe her as "so far behind." It takes a while to get the results so I wouldn't wait to base the decision on it. Put the request in writing with a date. The school HAS to do it within a certain time frame. You'll then have a better idea of where her weaknesses stem from.

    If you do hold her back, I'd just describe it in terms of your old district having different guidelines and the new district is just placing you where she wuld have been had she started there. Yes it will stink a little, but it is going to stink a lot more in middle school when she struggling for hours over her homework because she doesn't have a good foundation of skills. I wouldn't worry at all about the other kids at all - honestly, they are so wrapped up in their own thing this will be old news in a day or two.

    Best of luck in your decision!


    Posted by PatD September 21, 10 10:36 AM
  1. Irene, the child is at a new school - not the one that made the decision to advance the child from 1st grade.

    I really like Barbara's advice and worry that parents today are too quick to be defensive of their children. When I was a kid, what the school said was final. It's nice that there is more give and take here, but if you don't trust the school's opinion enough to really consider their advice, why do you trust them enough to send your kid there every day?

    Posted by Q September 21, 10 10:37 AM
  1. i agree entirely with Irene. If she was that far behind, it should have been noted at the end of first grade, and this subject broached before the beginning of this school year, so the child didn't have to start in 2nd grade before being "moved back". Despite average parent attitude, teachers do NOT know everything, nor do tests tell you the full story. I'd want ALL the details, just as Irene outlined.

    Also, as parents, why are we not questioning the "pushing" that is going on in schools, the work that is far above what would have been taught at that grade level only ten years ago, and the over-emphasis on test results? These are valid questions that need to be asked.

    If, after gathering all info, I would consider moving her back, but only with a LOT of assistance from the school (guidance counselor, etc.) so that I was assured that the school was doing everything in their power to aid in what will surely be a challenging transition.

    Posted by Robin September 21, 10 10:38 AM
  1. You definitely need to get all the information mentioned by the posters above. However, it is rare that they would do this at this point, so soon in the year, unless it seemed very necessary for her sake. It could be that she was just getting by, or average at the other school and maybe the new school has higher standards, which puts her too far behind the children that attended the previous years.

    My kids go to a school that is classified as "academically challenging", and when students transfer from another school, they very often make them repeat the grade they just finished at their previous, public school, even if they had done very well. Some parents don't like it and refuse to send their child at all. Some parents do it reluctantly, thinking it may be wrong, but once their child is there, they realize they would have been too far behind the rest if they had started in the next grade.

    Posted by mom2boys September 21, 10 11:28 AM
  1. Wrong, wrong, wrong! I was held back in first grade and socially it was hell on earth! She WILL be teased and there WILL be a social issue regarding this. If you must take her out of second grade, then put her in a different school and NEVER put her back into the old school. I paid dearly (socially speaking) through Jr High for that!!!

    Posted by merilisa September 21, 10 12:48 PM
  1. Irene and Robin, this is a new school! This school could not have made any assessment at all about this child last year; they did not know the child. This is from Norton -- Norton has no k-1 school, so this is a family new to town.

    This sort of thing can happen when a family moves over the summer and the town to which they move has a more rigorous curriculum and higher standards.

    As for "show me the teachers qualifications to make assessments of holding back as opposed to offering guidance for enrichment" -- what would you be expecting to see? Remember, the teachers and the principal are making the suggestion. Unless this is a teacher fresh out of college in her first 7 days iof teaching, you are dealing with someone who likely has more experience than the parents in education.

    Posted by jlen September 21, 10 12:54 PM
  1. In regards to Irene's comment: "My sister teaches third grade and she knows that the normal range of function at 8 yr old is all the way from 4 to 12." - I surely would not want my child to be in any third grade teacher's class if the teacher believed an 8-year-old is "normal" if functioning as a 4-year-old. Think of what your child was like at 4 years old!!! Barbara, can Irene's statement in this regard possibly be correct?

    Posted by Starlight September 21, 10 03:48 PM
  1. If Norton has no k-1 school, then HOW does this little girl go back to Grade 1? Shouldn't Norton pre-assess new kids in August to prevent such cruel surprises?

    I am concerned that remedial work for a fixed time (2-3 months) was not suggested as the first answer to the "poor" function. Does it not make more sense to do that with a child whose social function appears to be just fine?

    Why not ask what teacher qualifications are? You may well find out that you have a teacher who really is new, or who has previously been teaching high school. Teachers should expect this question from every parent at the first teacher-parent meeting. They have pre-empted that normal development to the parent-teacher relationship, but that doesn't excuse them from the simple question.

    And on the subject, my sister does not like the fact that some 8 year olds function like 4 year olds, but she has them in a public school and she has to accommodate them. Anybody got a sure-fire recipe for guaranteeing that each kid is functioning at his/her numerical age level all the time? Because you would be a billionaire from all the world's formal school systems if you could sell that.

    Posted by Irene September 21, 10 05:49 PM
  1. Put her in first grade again. Explain to her that it is to her advantage. You can't keep learning new stuff unless you get the basics in place. She's in a new school...very few of the other kids are going to remember her being switched so early in the term so I doubt she'll get teased very much. Act positive about it so she'll feel positive about it; the thing she wants most in the world is to please you and her mother.

    Posted by Another View September 21, 10 06:02 PM
  1. I have not one, but two, close relatives who were pushed ahead of their ability because "nobody in OUR family repeats a grade." (They had each missed months of school due to serious health issues.) Both say it was the worst thing that ever happened to them. They never could really catch up academically, barely graduated, and one of the two was also very socially behind because he'd missed most of a year of socialization.

    I'd say it sounds like the kid is borderline--maybe needing more evaluation before you make a decision--but better to repeat a grade than go 11 years behind the curve.

    Posted by di September 21, 10 06:41 PM
  1. As a Norton resident, she very well may have moved to St. Mary's in Mansfield as her new school. A lot of assumptions being made here that have nothing to do with the question.

    Posted by RH September 21, 10 07:04 PM
  1. It's nice that there is more give and take here, but if you don't trust the school's opinion enough to really consider their advice, why do you trust them enough to send your kid there every day?

    Posted by Q September 21, 10 10:37 AM
    ----

    Uhm ... because so many of us can't afford private school, or can't afford to live decent school districts?

    Anyway, I very reluctantly held my daughter back in first grade. She was heartbroken at first; and I was heartbroken to see that in her. But at least she was held back before the school year began. She survived, and in recent years (she's in middle school now) she has talked about how it was the right choice. But that was before the school year - not two weeks in. Why doesn't Norton test its new students over the summer?

    Posted by reindeergirl September 21, 10 08:07 PM
  1. So she's not attending the same school she attended in first grade?
    If that is correct, then obviously the new school has an advanced curriculum in comparison to the previous school. So either send her to 2nd grade in her old school if possible, or send her to the first grade in the new school, since "she is so far behind."
    If it is carefully explained to her that first grade at this school is like being in second grade at her old school, she won't feel as embarrassed, and she can tell that to her classmates should it become an issue. In fact the new first grade teacher can be in on the explanation as well.

    Btw, if she among the heads of class during the school year, the teacher should take notice and challenge her-- and the others. If you find the work is too easy for her, take steps and confer with the teacher.

    Posted by SherryLane September 21, 10 10:53 PM
  1. I feel for Norton here.

    As a teacher, believe me when I say that holding a child back means there is are SIGNiFICANT delays and concerns. It is next to impossible to hold a kid back (and in the end, even when you're doing so for the best interest of the child...it makes the district look back as it affects their scores under "adequate progress"--attendance, retention, all of those are considered when deciding if a school is up to par) and often not in the best interest of the school

    When I taught in Cambridge, I fought as hard as I could to hold back a 5th grader who desperately needed to be held back (6th grade is a big year in terms of deciding how that child will be tracked for the remaining 6 years, and affects opportunities like whether he'll be in a college track....he had so many gaps and so many issues that he NEEDED the additional year or we were setting him up for failure). He was not held back--I was told to talk to his mom but no one in the administration attempted to back me up. I feel sorry for him, because I can say with certainty he is not heading to college, if he is even still in school.

    If you have the chance to rectify major gaps, do it now. It won't be that big a deal a few years down the line, and sometimes your job as a parent (and I speak as a parent as well as a teacher) is to make your kid unhappy because you're doing the right thing.

    Norton is a good school district and depending on where you moved from, it's not surprising that your child not be up to speed. I would ask to see all the assessments, to get a clear list of goals, and to insist on a special needs evaluation. The earlier an issue is caught, the better the chances to do everything to support it.

    Posted by C September 22, 10 12:52 AM
  1. We held back our son in first grade a year ago...as he had a late birthday, was a little immature and just wasn't ready for second grade academically. He just started second grade this year in a new school and is doing great! He is a year older now and is so much more confident than he was a year ago.

    It was the right decision for us.

    I will add that my son has never been teased about being held back, that was a big concern for us as well...his friends didn't seem to care...in fact I think they were sad that they wouldn't be in class together anymore...

    Posted by Madison September 24, 10 10:03 AM
  1. im having the same problem here... but believe it is the teacher that has it in for him... she gives him a yellow for behavior when the reason she gives it is bc he forgot to bring a signed paper back or if i forget to sign the paper...... he has high functioning autism but is doing well his teachers for math says he is getting it now ...as for reading he just doesnt like reading no matter how much we push him to do it... he just doesnt wanna do the work that doesnt mean he doesnt do well.... but bc of this the teacher wants to hold him back i made a meeting with the principal to see whats going to happen ..... when i told the teacher my decision she said she would talk to the principal WHY? to convince her to hold him back since the principal has guidelines to follow and hasd the last say!!!! its unfair!

    Posted by shelly May 25, 11 02:00 PM
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Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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