Parenting 101: Do Your Research

Here’s the deal…

My Munch received a zero on a classwork assignment on 3/4/16. He’s in the second grade at a French Immersion school and he is now taking Reading and English to be prepared for the state’s standardized testing next year. His dad and I both have undergraduate degrees in English and value education immensely.  I am active in his PTSA, assist in classroom parties/events and fund-raise for the school. To say that I love his school would be an understatement. I’ve always found that the school and administration was very supportive and encouraging. From the parents to the staff everyone has always provided sound advice.

I check his grades weekly on our school’s website portal because I don’t ever want to be surprised when I see his progress reports. Plus if there are things he needs help in I need to be able to attack it immediately and help in any way possible. Well on 3/10 I was checking the website and discovered that my son had received a zero on classwork dated 3/4.  I emailed his teacher on 3/10 asking about the assignment and can she please send it home. She immediately responded yes that she would send it home.

Here’s some background:  She said that the assignment he turned was illegible and that what she could read made no sense.  Now, I know that my son doesn’t have the best handwriting in the world, but it is on par with most 7 year old children, but I was a little stunned that he would receive a zero. His first ever zero in the second grade.

Classwork accounts for 35% of his grade in the quarter. A zero was definitely going to bring his grade down in the class. Furthermore, I had inquired about some missing homework assignments that weren’t graded and showing on the website and received the response from the teacher that she had chosen not to grade them. Umm, say what now?

I was upset and immediately responded that if she could give him a zero she could count the homework that he did to not set him at a disadvantage. He did the work. Why would you choose to not give him credit for said work?

No response. Crickets.

I emailed the Principal and copied the teacher regarding my concerns on 3/23 because I still hadn’t received the paperwork that I requested on 3/10. I was upset at this point because I had a meeting with his main teacher on 3/15 (3rd this year) and asked her could she be present and she said she had a conflict. I asked for the paper again and I still hadn’t received it.

You get my frustrations right?  The quarter was ending and I was getting no help from his main teacher so I assumed that the Principal needed to intervene and advise at this point.  Well, here’s the email that I sent to the Principal.

 

Hi Principal,

Please see the below email communication with Ms. V who is my son’s (2nd grade) reading teacher. We’ve been going back and forth regarding grades for quite some time. The last communication I sent on Wednesday of last week has not received a response. I discovered that Munch received a zero for a reading assignment that was done in class (that still has not been received by me). In reviewing the county’s website, Administrative Procedures 5121.1 I understand Reporting and Recording Grades it states that a zero can be given if “a teacher determines that the student did not attempt to meet the basic requirements of the task/assessment, the teacher may assign a zero.”

Which apparently Mrs. O determined that my son didn’t attempt to meet the basic requirements. This is inaccurate since according to Ms. V he did the assignment it just wasn’t legible.  On top of that zero Ms. V indicated that she decided not to count some of the homework that he’s done this quarter. I know homework is only 15% but he did the work and it should be counted.  Since the zero he received in classwork is 35% of his grade and being counted.

I’m trying to determine why that would be the case considering that the Grading Policy states: 

Recording

a. Teachers will maintain a record of each student’s work, progress, and attendance on a daily basis.

b. Teachers will grade and give a score for all student assignments in grades 2-5, when appropriate, including class work, homework, written assignments, projects, and labs. A score of 0 (zero) will be given to students who do not attempt to complete or fail to submit an assignment. On tests and quizzes, the student will receive the grade earned. This does not preclude teachers from giving daily markdowns to give students every opportunity to complete an assignment before giving a zero for the assignment.

What is interesting to note is that in that same Admin Reg it states that “In classes that meet 4-5 times per week, the classroom teacher must record in SchoolMAX a minimum of two grades per week in each subject for each student. If a class meets once a week then only one grade will be recorded.”  This is not happening in all my son’s classes consistently. We can review his School Max account and you can see this.  Furthermore, we don’t receive the paperwork back in a timely fashion which is also a requirement. “Teachers will return graded papers and assignments in order to provide on-going, timely feedback to student and parents.”

Am I only required to check SchoolMax to see if my son is having trouble or are we supposed to receive the graded assignments timely so that we as his parents and our son are on the same page with his struggles?

So, here’s a summation of what the issues are that we would like resolution on:

  • He received a zero and according to the Admin Procedures 5121.1 that should not have happened.
  • No opportunity was given to my son to earn partial credit from redoing the class work or reading it orally since he was present and did the class work.
  • We haven’t seen the class work assignment that he received a zero on.  We want to see the assignment that he go the zero on.
  • We are not receiving graded assignments in a timely fashion to be provided timely feedback on our son’s progress.
  • The homework that he did that is missing from School Max wasn’t counted and according to the policy it should have been. It not being counted will negatively impact my son’s grade since the teacher is trying to count the zero.

We would like this situation rectified before 3rd quarter ends this week. The county has guidelines that I assume all teachers are supposed to follow and we would like to make sure that this policy is being followed when it comes to my son’s teachers to ensure that my son has every opportunity to be successful in the second grade.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I look forward to hearing a response to you on the above issues that I’ve outlined. 

Boom!

I had read and researched the County’s policy regarding grading and found the above information to outline to the Principal. I had to let the Principal know that I had researched the policy and I needed some guidance because I didn’t believe that this was fair. I was concerned for my son’s grades, how assignments are not being sent home and no response to my email regarding her not counting his homework.

See my concerns here?

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23 thoughts on “Parenting 101: Do Your Research

  1. That’s a bitch slap if I’ve seen one! #Motheroftheyear Yay you! Next time I have to prepare for some more ex-wife bs legal drama I’m putting you on the payroll!

    Like

    1. LOL. I didn’t mean to bitch slap. I meant to make sure that they both knew that I was up on the guidelines for the district and I expected that they would follow them. I mean if you’re going to give him a zero why wouldn’t you count the homework?

      Yep, I will be on your payroll.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL. Wait to you see how this story unfolds. I’m not sure some teachers would agree. I think that parent involvement is key to nurturing and raising successful scholars. We have to partner together and not separate.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am pretty angry about all of this. Teachers are supposed to encourage students to learn. How can a student (a 12 year old, no less) be encouraged to work harder when none his work is recognized.

    Then she didn’t even respond to the email. I guess she just thought it would disappear.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. But that letter, though. DANG! That was AMAZING!! You better get it.

    Question: Is the teacher a first-year or a veteran? I’m just curious. I remember being a first-year teacher and being hella intimidated by parent communication. I wonder if this is one of those panic moments when she is like “oh shit.” Which, frankly, is a good thing. Gotta learn to keep on her game. These numbers matter, these assignments matter, this communication matters! Good lesson for her to learn.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Apparently she came from another school. A spanish immersion. I’m not sure how long she’s been teaching. Yep, stop short changing my son and why the heck wouldn’t you send a zero home immediately? Wait to you read the Principal’s response. You are going to be mad girl! Whew! That is posting tomorrow.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a great post! I know teachers and principals get tons of letters fron parents that are rude and badly written. You can tell that you are upset but not mad. You wrote your letter very well and without making it sound like you were yelling at the principal. Thank you from all us teachers who might never see such a well written letter 🙂

    Like

      1. In teacher’s college we had to spend a whole week on the subject of parent communication – the pit falls of emails vs phone calls and face to face. Teachers have been getting into a lot of trouble lately over emails (at least in my union area) and online communication with parents.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL. Thank you. Davina. Yep, I tell each teacher my views on education and how I want us to work together. Some get it. Others don’t. It saddens me when they don’t. But, I will keep pushing for what is right.

      Liked by 1 person

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