Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Report Card Day

Today was our very first report card day, as parents.  I was anxious all day, to pick R up from school, hoping that all of our struggles and hard work had paid off.  I needed so badly to see that we were getting somewhere, making some kind of difference in his life.  Well folks, the proof is in the pudding!  He made us so proud.  Take a look at his end of the year report card, from his last school, with his previous family.  And then look at his first nine week report card with us.
End of year report card, June 2012, with previous family

First 9 weeks report card with us

Granted, he should be showing improvement, because he is repeating the third grade.  But the way the school year started out, you would never have known it.  The first 4 weeks of school, he was bringing home numerous D's and F's.  My husband and I had a very hard time with this.  It was completely unacceptable for him to bring home these failing grades.  People would comment, "Maybe that's the best he can do."  Or, "If there's something wrong with him, then you can't punish him or get upset with him for his grades."  We pretty much called BS on that from the get go.  We firmly believed it was a lack of education and effort.  And low and behold, our beliefs were right on.  After four weeks of seeing D's and F's come home, we bypassed the teachers who didn't think we should be concerned, and went straight to the principal.  She scheduled a meeting with us and his teachers, right away.  I typed up a letter that listed all of our concerns and we went in there ready to play ball.  It was a very successful meeting.  It seemed as though we opened their eyes to things they weren't seeing in the classroom.  A plan was put in place then and there to get R help.  Would you believe at the end of that very same week, he came home with a 100 on his spelling test?  Every spelling test before then was an F.  His spelling grade was an F.  Not only did he finally seem to be catching on, but for the first time in his life, I think he understood that his education was important and he should strive to be successful.  I don't believe anyone ever told him how important school is or cared enough to help him do well.  As far as I know, none of the family he spent the first 8 years of his life with had graduated from high school.

It was our decision to hold him back in the third grade, and it wasn't a decision we made lightly.  I talked to numerous teacher friends and my brother, who is an elementary school teacher.  When we went to enroll him in school, we expressed our reservations to the principal about him going on to fourth grade, and we showed her his previous report card.  She immediately agreed with me, that he should repeat the third grade, and she said now was the best time to do it:  new family, new school, new friends.  It was a shock to us though, that we had to hold him back.  During the 5 month adoption process, we were told he was a great student, an honor student.  The weekend we went to pick him up and bring him home, Grandma handed me his report card.  I was dumbfounded.  How dare she lie to me!  Or maybe, to her, he was doing well, for what her expectations were.  It became even more apparent after bringing him home and spending the Summer with him, that he was definitely behind, education wise and maturity wise.  I won't lie, it scared us and caused us a lot of anxiety.  We just hadn't prepared ourselves for this part, and we hadn't been with him every step of the way, where we could all ease into it together.  It almost felt like someone had thrown him in our laps, and said, "Here you go, he's your problem now."  And by golly, we took him and haven't quit yet.  We know he has the potential.  Now it's just a matter of continuing to make him believe that he has the potential and pushing him to succeed.
3rd Grade School Picture 2012-13