Former LYS Principal and current LYS Coach, Lesa Cain, reflects on the following:
Retention only REALLY works over the long term in certain situations.
1. Something changes at home to put all focus on education and the child, or
2. We actually do something DIFFERENT at school.
Most kids sit through the same material for a 2nd time and because they’ve heard it once and do better, we all think it (retention) was a good idea. Then the next year comes and when exposed to new material, the retained student once again falls behind. Add to that the social stigma of retention and for the student not much good has occurred.
Retention in Kindergarten is misguided in almost every single situation. Of course there are a few exceptions. If a student has missed a ton of school due to health reasons, we MIGHT consider retention. Or if the child of migrant workers, who has missed a lot of school but is catching on to everything we do and just needs more time to solidify the foundation, again MIGHT be a good retention candidate. But I say “MIGHT” because it also means we have to put that student with the absolute best teacher we have and we need to believe that the student will remain on our campus.
If you believe (moving towards “know”) that a student has a learning disability I would rather place the student in the next grade and then begin testing. The harsh truth is that in many cases retaining the student allows him to score just high enough so that he never qualifies for services and then we all (student, parents, teachers) wind up being sad and stuck.
Teachers going outside the school and talking to parents before an internal decision is discussed is wrong – very wrong. I had conferences with every teacher about her students each six weeks. We kept data and tracked progress all year, so at the end of the year we could look back and make a sound decision – which was very rarely to retain (even if they failed the test in 5th grade by the way).
Just remember we always make the best decision for the little people. If the big people don’t like that decision, they still get paid.
Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…
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