Friday, November 17, 2006

Ten Weeks Later

First quarter has come and gone, and this is where we are:
  • Of the 0% who could demonstrate mastery on the parts of speech, 73% are at that 80-80 mark.
  • Of the 0% who could identify the parts of plot structure, and articulate the conflict-climax connection, 93% can now reasonably do so, although still not on grade level text, but utilizing grade level vocabulary and analysis
  • Of the 60% who could write the alphabet correctly, in order, and identify the vowels, 98% now can (don't ask about that 2%)
  • Two kids moved from High Point A (3rd grade standards) to High Point B (4th grade standards 2.5 months ahead of schedule
  • One kid moved to a more restrictive, but far more appropriate SpEd environment after his elementary deigned to send the CUM file along.
  • Two more kids are headed in that direction.
  • When I say I need to cancel Saturday Academy because I need to go renew my driver's license, leaving out the part where I'm commuting 110 miles a day on an expired piece of plastic, there are audible groans.

This is the point in the year where things really start. Not that I wasn't running a hundred miles an hour before, but they weren't running with me. It's taken this long to drive home the fact that the five homework assignments a night are going nowhere, failure to complete them on time results in lunch detentions, failure to read an hour a night results in 7th period reading program, full and complete participation will be the norm, not the exception. Pride is required. You have no right to fail. I don't care about your headache, cut finger, or the heat. They've stopped giving me the run-over-by-a-bus look, and have started anticipating and acting with initiative. The absurd pride they take in getting to the right page before being asked the third time fills me with those sick-sad joys: happy that what we're doing here is starting to connect, a little, but depressed as hell that the success remains so small, and trying, as always, to strike that balance between communicating a message of good-job that doesn't lose track of that fact that you're-still-not-close.

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