Friday, January 20, 2012

Exceeding Expectations

Just got back from my weekly volunteer session, administering spelling tests in Gavin's classroom. The teacher has been working on district assessments, and was so excited to show me Gavin's results on his reading.

Little background - starting in Kindergarten, they are put into reading levels based on the alphabet - starting with letter A, and they progress up throughout the year(s). By the end of 2nd grade, they are expected to be reading at level M. Right before break, Gavin was bringing home level L books, so we knew he was on track for the end of the year.

This morning she showed me that he tested at Level N, so she is going to start him on Level O books! This is not only testing fluid reading skills, but comprehension, structure of the information, etc. Gavin has been a fair reader, but for a long time he was just reading words on a page. Comprehension was lagging. Now that this seems to have caught up, this means great things for him, because comprehension is critical to all areas of academics.

Plus that means that he has already EXCEEDED EXPECTATIONS for the year in reading! Trimester assessments are based on a 1-4 scale, 3 being "at grade level", 4 - "exceeding", 2 - "progressing", and 1 - not sure but you're at risk if you get a 1.

She also said that he had done really well one his double digit addition and subtraction assessments and that he has "been working so hard at math".

And you know what I am most proud of? Not just the accomplishments, but the genuine excitement and pride that I see on his teacher's face when she tells me these things. Gavin has this quality that just endears him to every teacher he's had. Knowing that they really care about him and are rooting for him and every bit as proud of his successes as I am - well that says a lot about both his character and the quality of teachers that we are lucky to have had so far.

Gavin has come a long way - Kindergarten we had a lot of 2's, 1st grade he was pretty avg with lots of 3's and some 2's in comprehension areas, and it looks like this year we will be seeing some 4's on the report card.

A tip for parents (whether you are dealing with a kid with potential issues in school or not) - one of the things I think has been critical in helping Gavin's success in school, has been making a connection with the teacher right away at the beginning of the school year. Gavin doesn't have any defining issues, but I did go into Kindergarten with serious concerns - not knowing the full effect of prematurity on his ability to learn, concerns over how young he was for his grade. I made those known right away to his teacher so she could keep an eye out and report back to me any red flags. I think teachers are more willing/able to spend that extra time to reach out to a parent 1:1 if they know they have a parent receptive to hearing the concerns that they see, and parents that are willing to work together with the teacher to find a solution. I think there are too many times that parents don't want to think it's their kid with the problem and want to just blame the teacher. Letting them know you want to hear what's going on in the classroom and drive towards a solution is key. I've just continued to do that with each new teacher, but with each year I have a little more information about specifically what areas may be of concern and what to continue to watch out for.

Sharing Gavin's story helps I'm sure. We all like an underdog story, right? But it also makes him a little more personal to them, not just 1 in 25 kids. I think the fact that he is just such a sweet kid and tries really, really hard also helps. When you see someone working hard, having to struggle a little bit, and sticking with it til they get it - well, you can't help but want to do everything you can to help them succeed.

Super proud of you, Gav. Thanks for making it look like I might know something about this parenting thing once in a while. (spoiler alert: I don't!)

1 comment:

The Vintage Iowan said...

When a parent tries to take themselves out of the equation and only act in the best interest of a child, they have already done a lot towards being a great parent. That's my definition, and it suits you to a tee....Love ya...and great job Gavin!