I Feel as Though My Child Has Been "Left Behind"...

Updated on September 20, 2006
K.S. asks from Oklahoma City, OK
19 answers

I have recently discovered through school testing that my 3rd grader has a Kindergarten/1st grade reading and math level. Both of my girls attend a good (or so I thought) Putnam City elementary school that I handpicked based on test scores, etc and transferred them to from Kindergarten on. I have been told by her previous teachers that she was doing very well in school and up until now she was "earning" grades based on S (satisfactory), P (progressing) and H (having difficulty). Now that she actually has to earn a score to achieve the grade, she's not able to do it! I noticed from the first couple of days that she was becoming increasing frustrated with school and not doing very well on papers. I contacted the school and inquired about tutoring. This was within the first 4 days of school and I still haven't gotten a response from then.. Since that time, I have been in contact with her teacher and principal regularly because it has become more and more evident that she was not prepared for the 3rd grade. It's almost like 2nd grade never happened. I am having her independently tested for learning disabilities but feel like the school system has a level of accountability that they need to own up to! I am so disappointed in the system for allowing this to happen that I want to scream and scream until I have no voice left. They have not provided any solution or plan for a solution to me at all!! I feel like everyday that goes by is another day that my daughter is getting further and further behind and no one else is concerned but me. I don't know how to reverse my learning to explain the work to my daughter on a level that she will understand. Do any of you have any ideas of how I can help my daughter or do you know of anyone that has time and knowledge to tutor her? I've looked into Sylvan, but unfortunately, it is very expensive making it not really an option right now! Thank you all for reading!

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So What Happened?

I took the advice from many of you and contacted the psych for my daughter's school today. She seemed as frustrated as I that she was not alerted to the situation with my daughter. She was sending emails while we talked to the principal, teachers (past & present), LD teachers, and PC schools intervention team, requesting a meeting with all of them, myself and her. I am so relieved because I truly feel like someone is taking an active interest in helping Kati succeed! Thanks again to all of you! I will update later with how all of this turns out!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! To everyone that responded, I am overwhelmed by your support! I had no idea when I was invited to participate in this website that the support would be so amazing. I don't really have a "so what happened" update yet, but had to let you all know that I am taking everything you all said to heart and currently waiting on hold to talk to the prinicpal, AGAIN! :o) I most definitely will let you know what ends up happening as soon as I know!

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L.

answers from Kansas City on

There is a place in Olathe called the Heartland Learning Center, and it is supported by the Olathe Public Schools. They have all kinds of programs and tests for children, and the staff is very attentive to kids.
Good Luck,
L.

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R.

answers from Oklahoma City on

I know you said Sylvin is expensive, but it help me in reading when I was in the 7th grade. None of the work made any since to me. Everything from math to English was very difficult. I hated to read. I would do everything I could to avoid reading. However, I now enjoy it very much. I read when ever I can. When I went there also was an adult man going as well his reading level was that of a 1st grader. In the few months I went his reading improved tremendously. He even got to the point he would help me some times. They really have a great learning system. I was fun!!! I had tutors before and they were not fun which made it harder to want to learn.

I also had a math tutor in grade school. I failed my first class in 4th grade. My parents when to the local college and found a girl who offered her services as a tutor. I think they paid 20.00 a week for it. That might be a more ecomoical route. I have no idea how much Sylvin runs. My daugter is two so I am not to the point of needing a tutor.

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C.P.

answers from Kansas City on

K.,

Everyone has been giving you GREAT advice. If you need a private tutor, I do tutoring on the side on occasion. I started off as a teacher and then I taught at KU and received a Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Now I am a few months away from receiving a Ph.D. in Education. I specialize in teaching teachers how to teach better and travel the country every week conducting inservice trainings for them. Sadly, there are so many schools that need help that I have a waiting list of principals wanting me to help them.

I am about to have my first child in November so I would not be able to tutor during my maternity leave. Let me know if you are interested. I assure you that with some tutoring, this problem right now WILL go away and your daughter will be caught up with her peers.

C.

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J.S.

answers from Kansas City on

Hi, K.. In my former life (ie...last school year), I was a literacy teacher and became a literacy tutor this August.

So, a couple of things to alleviate your anxiety, first. One, third and fourth grade typically introduce students to expository (informational) text, for the first time. Prior to this, they have been reading narrative (stories) text. So, a lot of students fall behind, at this time. Your daughter is not alone.

Two, the SRI (Scholastic Reading Inventory) test that many schools use is helpful, but inexact. A headache, hunger, or bad mood can alter the results of the test. Testing first thing in the morning typically produces the best results.

Now, for the suggestions.

First, the school needs to give you a list of tutors in your area, like yesterday. More like a month ago. That is inappropriate and negligent. Noisy parents get attention, much to the dismay of those of us who like to be diplomatic. My advice is to show up at the school and wait to see the principal. Lay out a timeline and make sure she/he knows your concerns w/ their lackadaisical approach and apparent lack of concern for your daughter's academic well-being.

Second, having her tested for learning disabilities is very good. Whatever agency you use to test her should have resources for approaching any learning disability she may have.

Third, real strategies. Take a chunk of text and retype it. Leave the first 3-4 sentences in tact. Then, leave a blank space every ten words. Read it aloud to her, all the way through. Instead of saying "blank" at the blank spots, say "mmmm." It feels weird but it is less distracting than actual words in the middle of text. Then, let her work to figure out which words go in the blanks. Giving her an example before the actual text will work best.

Email me and I'll be happy to send you some work. But, I think working with her homework is best. My email is ____@____.com. I'm happy to help.

Jen

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L.K.

answers from Kansas City on

K.,
Unfortunately you are experiencing many a parents nightmare. This issue goes on more and more but few parents know what to do. I went through this when my daughter was in high school and I feel that was the beginning of these types of problems. That was sooooo long ago now. My daughter will be turning 26 in December. I have been working on my step-son for over 2 years now and am slowing learning the system.

There seems to be "magic" words needed by school systems before they are legally obligated to respond to you. Otherwise ALL you will hear is that they "are doing everything they can do for you". They make you feel like everything is your fault and even that you could be a bad parent for not doing more. Do not listen to this. The best of parents are having just as many problems as the worst of parents. Each and every child is different in their growth and learning experiences.

You need to learn the words I.E.P. That seems to be the first of many needed. The school is obligated to whip out help for your child. Next you will have to find funding for an educational advocate. They are expensive but will fight tooth and nail for your childs rights with the school. Just because you now have an I.E.P. does not mean that the school is giving you everything you need for your child. They have a basic I.E.P. that may not fit your child and you will endlessly argue over. That is where the advocate will step in and help. They can give you advice for having your child tested, what tests are needed, any observations needed and so forth to prove to the school that your child deserves this help. AND the advocate knows all of the "magic" words. Besides they will fight with the school even if it needs to go to court. Hopefully you never need to go that far.

I do not know where you are located but there are several places you can contact for help in Lee's Summit, MO and Kansas City, MO. Do not let the following list scare or intimidate you. You may not need this detailed of help. This is just what I have used in the past. Most individuals like you seem lost and need help and I just want to give what help I can. Research, call and question where and who you can. Keep plugging away for your child. That is what makes for a good parent.

S.S.I.
Social Security Administration
4240 S. Lee’s Summit Road
Independence, MO 64055
###-###-####
1-800-772-1213
www.socialsecurity.gov
(If eligible for S.S.I. request from them information on Food Stamps or Medicaid)<This funding could help with the funding for the advocate>

E.F.E.C.T.
(Encouraging Families with Exceptional Children Together)
EFECT
PO Box 2345
Lee’s Summit, MO 64063
###-###-####
www.efect.org
(Good support group, ask to help find Educational Advocate)

MO Dept. of Social Services
6801b E. Longview Rd.
Kansas City, MO 64134 (Longview Shopping Center)
(Food Stamps) ###-###-####
(Medicaid; MC+ First Guard; doctors & eye care
Cenpatico; mental health
Doral; dental) ###-###-####
(Free Legal Services) ###-###-####

K.C.R.C.
(Kansas City Regional Center)
821 E. Admiral Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64106
###-###-####
(Application for therapy, respite care, range of service benefits)

Joshua Child and Family Development Center
7611 State Line Road, Suite 142
Kansas City, MO 64114
Voice: ###-###-####
Fax: ###-###-####
Email: ____@____.com
or ____@____.com
http://www.joshuacenter.com/

***Important***

· Get current copies of all school records to include any testing, evaluations, grades and IEP’s for each child.

· Get social security cards for everyone in family.

· Get current pay stubs x 6 months and last years tax forms.

· Get copies of all medical records to include any testing, evaluations, diagnosis and recommendations for each child.

· Get current letter from each doctor, therapist, psychiatrist or psychologist. Have letter state who they are, their diagnosis, how long seeing the child, any meds currently taking, what the child experiences, how they cope, and any direction for contact of the doctor for each child.

· Make a list of all difficulties each child has no matter how menial to you.

· Make a list of all medications, dosage amount, frequency of need and reason for each medication for each child.

· Keep records separate and up to date for each child.

· You may want to invest in a small file cabinet to keep these records in. As you start receiving any help you will have to fill out records on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis. These things will be needed again from time to time. I keep all pay stubs current and just file them with the tax forms at the years end.

REMEMBER:
* Any waiting list is worth the wait as this is a life long adventure you are on for these children.
* Any amount of help is worth the trouble as it is more than you have now.
* GOD LOVES YOU!!

Lilly :)

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K.

answers from St. Louis on

You have definitely been let down. My daughter is in the 2nd grade and for the first time, recently received a note from the teacher (that must be signed be me) stating that her reading comprehension score slipped below the average. This is what all schools should do. As much as I appreciate being notified, the note did not offer me any resolution to the problem. I contacted the reading teacher at her school and am still trying to get her accepted into the tutoring program. Although her scores have slipped, her standardize test scores from the 1st grade are too high for her to get extra help at school. Therefore, it looks like I will need to hire a private tutor on my own. This can be expensive, but some of the teachers also provide private tutoring for around $20 an hour. The reading teacher gave me a couple of really good websites. HelpMeRead.com website. Its called MindSprinting. Copy this link into your browser to get there:

http://www.mindsprinting.com/Mindsprinting/index.aspx?sit...

They have small stories that you can print with comprehension questions. I think it costs $20 a month. The stories are interesting and you can do them as often as you want.

There is also a free site called Book Adventure at bookadventure.org. They have free comprehension tests online, but you have to find the book somewhere else. Your child can answer questions about the book online and earn points for prizes.

Good luck to you. I definitely feel your pain. As mothers, all we can do is keep trying. It is going to take time to resolve this issue. Keep talking to the principal and teachers. I know it gets old, but you need to be perseverant. I hope to take some of my own advice!

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R.N.

answers from Kansas City on

I must admit, I did not read all of your responses as they are very lenghty and I don't have much time (we all know about that!).
When your child was tested you should have been given a copy of you rights to DUE PROCESS. Find them and read them. Since the testing revealed significant delays in the area of reading and math, she should have qualified for special education services in those areas and should be receiving them, even if the testing was conducted in another district. If she qualified and no services are being provided the district is violating your daughter's rights. If she is receiving services, you have the right to call an IEP meeting at any time to discuss the current goals and objectives and services provided. This is where changes can be made. I would make the request in writing as well as by phone.
At the very least, don't pay for an evaluation. That's the school's job. You also have the right to have your child tested at your request. Once you ask for testing or an IEP meeting a timeline begins and they only have so long to complete it (or they are in violation of your rights).

If you want more information, e-mail me back. I worked in special education for 7 years before I had my child.

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S.G.

answers from Peoria on

you could also put a notice at a local college on their bulletin board saying you need someone to tutor your child and you live in this city and would be willing to pay a minimal fee for their services...as college students are always looking for a way to earn a few bucks.
i tutored some kids in math at the college and i had a few friends who tutored kids at the library in their towns. you could also ask to put a sign up at the library if they have a message board. that is how my nephew got his tutor for science and reading. they meet at library once -twice a week. hope this helps you and good luck with the school.

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K.B.

answers from St. Louis on

K.,
Check out "KUMON" in your area. Kumon has Math and Reading program, and it is very affortable not like Sylvan, and children will gain not only Math and Readign skills, but also they will build self-steem, confidence, and study habit. I am sure that teacher at Kumon Center will tell you all about it. I know they are all over the place, but get on their website www.kumon.com, and find the one close to where you live. I know the one on the Dorsett Villiege (where the Schnuck's is at) is a good one. It definitely worth to try!!
K.

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K.B.

answers from Wichita on

I understand completely. When my oldest daughter(who is now 8 in third grade) was little she was always at the top of her class. In preschool she was actually ahead of her class. Then we moved, and in Kindergarten she was ahead of her class, one of the top five. This is what her teachers always said. Then we moved again while she was in the first grade and then she was in the bottom of her class. Her teacher told me about sight words and other things that other school did not do nor tell me. These items they were talking about were straight acroos the academic bored. All first graders had to pass these things in order to move to second grade. But this teacher did not let me know how to help her out. My daughter did not read anything. Her math was good though. In the second grade I transfered her to another elementary, even though she passed the first grade but I felt as though she barely did it and the school didn't educate me on what books I should have her read. They let me know exactly what her reading level was. She was Kindergarten. Of course going through my mind she should have been at least at first grade, after all she did pass with an M(meets the standard). Well that teacher was the best. She let me know exactly how to help her and always congratulated her on her accomplishments. At the end of the school year she was average in reading. Now is the third grade and I don't know how she is doing, we haven't had conferences yet, but I know they are coming.
My suggestion to you for reading is to get lots of rhyming books such as Dr. Suess. He may make no sense at all, but these words help build the vocabulary and pronunciation. If you have a list of sight words then work with her on those, if not then make your own. This list of sight words is are small well known words. Like the numbers, colors, an, and, the, what, who, where, etc. Words that are used all the time.
Now with the math, I don't like my kids to count with there fingers because they will always do it, instead of in there head. So I have them get something like dominoes or marbles, or you can use M&M's. Have about 20(because she is in the third grade). Do math problems. Like 14+3=? So count out fourteen marbles and then ask her what else do we do? If she doesn't get it then tell her and show her. you count out three more. Then have her count them all and that is the answer. That's how I did it with my oldest and now I am in the process of doing it with my second oldest, she is in first and I won't let something like this happen again. I remember what was expected of me when I was in the first and its pretty much the same now.
Good luck, you may need to stop some of you extra activites until she is on track, after all which is better? Education or being limber on some beams?

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B.M.

answers from Tulsa on

Try taking the problem to your school board, that is the first step in making them own up to the fact that apparently a teacher failed somewhere. I had the same problem with one of my children which led to him disliking school, finally quiting at age 16. He's a very bright child but had some behavioral problems in the beginning, so the teachers labeled him all through out school. There should special testing at your school to determine where the problem lies. Keep calling and visiting your child's school until you receive some answers.

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K.G.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Hi, Sadly enough I don't have alot of encourgement for you. I took my son out of the PC school district myself for not challenging him enough. I now homeschool him this is our second year. Trying to get them to do anything or listen to you is like pulling teeth or taking candy from a baby. My suggestion is to go above them since they don't seem to want to do anything about it. With the no child left behind law now I can see how it happened and how its going to continue to happen. My other suggestion would be to go into the learning store or Mardels and get her some self taught math books that will bring her up to speed same with the reading. Spectrum has wonderful workbooks that are very easy for the kids to do on their own if they have to. GOOD LUCK!
K. Mom to Zaiah (9)

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K.H.

answers from Rockford on

I can sympathize with what you're going through. When my daughter entered 1st grade last year, I was completely blown away at the GIANT leap from K to 1st. It, too, seemed that there was no preparation and being the youngest in her class, she was also falling behind. I talked with the teacher, but in the smaller town we're in I quickly found out that was a no-no. (I was new and apparently the ONLY one who spoke up.) Now, a year later, I find out from other parents how unhappy they and their children were last year with the curriculum. (Hello... should've spoken up)

Anyway, 2nd grade is SOOOOO MUCH better! My daughter LOVES her teacher and is doing fairly well.

Aside from just sharing my story to let you know you are not alone, I wanted to throw this out there...

I just had my daughter's (7 yrs old) eyes tested. Turns out... SHE HAS HORRIBLE VISION. I'm talking really bad!!! And here I sit with a huge plate of guilt because I had NO idea! She wasn't squinting or complaining she couldn't see words. There were absolutely NO indications from her that there might be a problem with her eyes. My husband's eyes are about as bad as you can get and it is hereditary. But again, I tell you, there was no way we would have known w/o taking her to an eye doctor.

It's something maybe you wouldn't have thought of... something to try before spending a lot of money on other things.

I hope this is a suggestion you can use... Good luck and let us know what happens!!!

~K.

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B.

answers from St. Louis on

You didn't mention your school or district. If it is a public school district you might try speaking with the guidance counselor. She will schedule a meeting with the "resource" director for your district. She can then assign the appropriate resources for your daughter. It is part of the "no child left behind law".

My son is 16. When he was in 5th grade he needed help with speech. We were in a private school. We had to go to the public school district we lived in for assistance. We eventually moved him to the public school (Orchard Farm) and things went even smoother. Orchard Farm is fantastic about helping kids. I think most public schools are because they have the financing. In addition to "free" assistance... that could range to one-on-one sessions, help in the classroom just for those two classes, or having a high school student assigned as a "free tutor". There are many options. Start with the guidance counselor or principal. Good luck.

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K.B.

answers from Ocala on

Have you looked into the Kumon learning center on Murlen between 151st and 135th Street? It may be more affordable. It's a fairly small facility...

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K.R.

answers from Springfield on

I know how hard this is for you. I have two equally effective solutions.

1) Fight with the school and DEMAND they give your child the attention and assistance she needs. (What YOU feel she needs, not what they want.) It will be quite a fight, I can almost assure you, and you will not be able to give an inch for fear of loosing a mile of progress. They will try to tell you that they can't or don't have the funding. Keep pushing the issue until something goos happens.

2) Take her out of school and start homeschooling. Homeschooling is only as hard as you make it. Really, since she knows how to read for the most part, she can do most of the "schooling" herself.

The facts are simple;
* Schools in general do not care about children or education, they care about funding. (some rare few schools are exempt from htis statement)
* Nobody will stand up for your children if you don't.

We're puling for you. Best of luck!

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S.P.

answers from Peoria on

K.-
I'm sorry to hear you have to go through this. With my son he had to be held back because of health issues and I learned the hard way that our schools don't deal well with children that need the extra help. Unfortunately the schools and teachers want to only deal with the children in the classroom that are "normal". They want all the children to learn at the same level and are thrown a curve when a child doesn't. Requesting and IEP is a good start, but with my son it took forever for them to even do that. Then, when your child doesn't pay attention because they can't understand what it is the teacher is teaching because they aren't at the level, they want to say the child has ADD and you need to put them on medication. My advice to you is to not let up. Push them for help with your child and if you feel that you're not receiving the right answers, then threathen to discuss it further with the school board. That usually gives them the kick in the bottom they need to start helping you, it did for me. Good Luck!

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K.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Hello!...
I am a special education teacher in the Putnam City School District. I also have children in the district. I have my girls at one elementary school and my boys at another. I suggest that you meet with her 2nd grade teacher(s) to look at the assessments that are given throughout the 05-06 school year. Ask the teacher(s) if they had any concerns about your daughters academics while in 2nd grade. If they did, why were they not addressed with you. If they did not, why is she struggling with 3rd grade material? What I have seen happen, and experienced myself, is that depending on the location of the school, i.e. south of 39th, north of 43rd, students get a different education. The district is set up in such a way that the less fortunate kids (south of 39th) are taught below grade level on account of socio-economic status and their inability to learn at a quicker rate than their couterparts (north of 43rd). I hate the whole set up and strongly feel that the regular ed. teachers should have to trade schools every so often. Administrators set the academic climate. But anyway...you, as a parent of a Putnam City student, can request that your child be tested by the district. There is no charge for this service. You can call Special Services and ask to speak with the school psychologist that is responsible for your daughters school. Their number is ###-###-####. Pleeeeeease do this before you put out any money. Then, if you are not completely satisfied, you can have your child tested by a private party. Also...ask you child's 3rd grade teacher to provide you with this years reading assessment scores. If you still want her tutored, I would ask the teacher at her school if she knows of any teachers that do private tutoring. I wish you the best of luck and ask that you pleeeeeease pursue this matter.

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J.O.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Dear K.,
I have a M.Ed., and I have been an educator for five years. I am working towards my PhD in Education. I am telling you this to explain that I am qualified to make this statement. PC is required by state law to test a child that is falling behind for learning difficulties and to provide remediation. You need to play hardball with this principal. Ultimately, if the teacher is not responding then it is up to the principal to see that this happens. Not servicing a child in their areas of need is actually punishable by law in the state of oklahoma. They can be fined and even sued. You need to tell the principal that if something is not done within one week, you will contact Dr. Ann Millerborg, who is the assistant superintendent. She is very tough on this sort of thing. You are right that your daughter is falling behind every minute that she is unable to unlock the code of reading. I also moved to PC for the schools. I have two sons. I would love to know what school it is if you will divulge that info. online.
Sincerely,
J.

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