Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Sad Goodbye

This afternoon I found out that I am loosing six of my students. I am so bummed!

Last week at out Pupil Personnel meeting my Principal and AP brought up getting four of our fifth grade students into a bilingual class at a nearby school. Two of the students are boys who have been in the school for three years now and speak English pretty well but are very low in both math and reading. While this is expected with students still learning English I talked with their teacher and it seems as if they should be evaluated for special education. One boy can't remember basic sight words such as 'the' or letter sounds. (Just to compare, my two fifth grade newcomers are already reading long preprimer books that have repeated words and structures and they have only been in the country two months). The other two students are my fifth grade newcomers. Although they have been doing well with me learning a lot of language they are in the fifth grade and not gaining any content.

So I looked into a school to send them to and our school made some phone calls to parents and as of tomorrow they no longer go to my school.

First, I am really sad to see my newcomers go. (The family decided to move the two younger brothers of the fifth grade girls so I no longer have a 'newcomer group'). That was my favorite group and I looked forward to seeing them every day. (Several times a day in fact). It is so exciting to teach them new language structures and vocabulary and then see the light bulb go off when they get it. It's even more exciting when the next day they are using the language. I just realized today how much conversation we have now compared to the first days of school. Everyday I know exactly what I have taught them and whether they got it or not. And, they are just great kids. I really loved them.

Second, I'm not sure that the boys need a bilingual class. It is pretty apparent that at least one if not both need special education (or at least an evaluation). If they get special education and bilingual classes at their new school that would be best. I just hope that they aren't at the bottom of the "to-do list" at their new school or that it takes ages for the new school to realize what they need. Already it has taken three years for them to get any consideration. Their teacher told me yesterday that he was so grateful to be having the conversation with me and the school psychologist about them because he has been trying for three years to get them extra help but because they speak Spanish they have been pushed aside because they were perceived to be in need of language acquisition rather than an IEP.

So while I am really sad to see my kids go I hope that it works out for the best. I actually went to the school that they are going to for a PD a few weeks ago and it is a good school. I observed the bilingual class that they are going to be in and the teacher is good (at least the math lesson I saw him do). Hopefully they will be happy there.

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