Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Not So Sure What To Say On This One

B., a high-performing student who will assuredly gain proficiency in ELA this year, comes in today with a transfer form to a school down the road, outside our District. I ask why and she kind of shrugs and says something about moving. The whole class is watching, they need to get started, so I don't press the issue.

Before I have a chance to ask her what's up, POY comes in on his new random homework checks, ("respect your homework, love your march to proficiency, or... go to lunch detention") and as I'm grabbing my homework clipboard he says "What'd the hell you do to B.?"

Uh, educated her as best I could? Provided high expectations and Saturday instruction to ensure she met them? I don't know. He's kidding, but tells me that the mother apparently told the office she was removing her from our school because she was tired of her daughter receiving F's in reading class.

[Warning: boring classroom organizational system discussion]

Now I have two groups of kids for three periods a day: ELD, Language Arts, and Reading. I used to average everything together, and all those reading F's dragged grades down, but they did not stand out. Kids don't really see how their B- used to be an A+, and so missed how their absurd lack of effort in at-home reading was hurting them. Now I separate everything out. Your grade in ELD and L.A. is a composite of everything we do -- homework, classwork, projects, quizzes, test, essays, etc.] Your reading grade is performance on reading logs and the Accelerated Reader program -- percentage of point goal attained, and percentage of questions answered correctly.

[End: boring classroom organizational system discussion]

Like a good number of kids, B. has earned two Bs (in ELD/ L.A.) and one F (in Reading) each of the last two quarters. I've structured grades this way to highlight the importance of reading to parents, especially in the absence of effort by otherwise high performing kids. Apparently it worked, because the public reason given for B.'s withdrawal is her two F's in my class.

Is this transfer a punishment for low performance?

Is it a reinforcement of low expectations and the unwillingness to face problems head on?

Or something else entirely?


Blogger Caroline said...

Inflate those grades, tmao, or your students will leave for a charter school that does!

10:51 PM  
Blogger pseudostoops said...

The disagregation of reading/ELD/L.A. grades is such a great idea. It's a shame that B. is leaving, though. Could you try to talk to mom, or is it a done deal?

4:37 AM  
Blogger Polski3 said...

Let her go....you don't need to deal with a parent who doesn't even grant you the courtsey of talking to you about the girls lack of reading performance. Someday, the buck will stop.

5:08 PM  
Blogger Mr. A. said...

I hear you on this one...I see the same thing in Math. Capable and gifted kids dropping Calculus for Consumer so that the overall GPA goes up, as does the chances for their bursaries. Sometimes its the kids idea, sometimes the parents: it's the pop tart society we live in. We must find a way to use it to our advantage though...or succumb to Darwin's way.

5:42 PM  
Blogger TMAO said...

I'm bummed because I genuinely liked her. I bummed because she's now attending a school that does not serve the needs of English Language Learners as well as we do; a place where they are not the focus of all instruction and professional development. I'm bummed because we need to make AYP with HALF as many proficient 7th graders as we started with last year, and although she was BB, she was going to end up P. Anyway...

12:13 PM  

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