When the school disappoints
By Jessica Rachel O on January 22, 2014
The other day I went to the twin's school for a meeting with their guidance counselor and two primary teachers. Generally I wanted to ask what the hell was going on over there that made basic communication and organization such a problem, and specifically I wanted to make sure we were on the same page regarding the twins. One of my daughters was diagnosed with A.D.D. last year. I know, who isn't these days? I honestly believe she has an attention disorder though, and she exhibits all of the classic symptoms. Like I've said before we chose not to medicate her, one because she has a mild case and two because I don't think the side effects are worth it.
I may come off as assertive, not quite aggressive (but almost), when it comes to the twin's education. They've been at 6 schools in 5 states, and they're in 5th grade. We're going to move again at some point. They have an uphill battle when it comes to education, and I'm not willing to let our lifestyle prevent them from succeeding. Similar to their participation in sports, the disconnect from constant transfers makes it very difficult. I started crying mid-meeting when I said that my daughter may be exuberant and engaged in school, but when she comes home I can see the defeat written on her face; the confusion about how one can work hard with a good attitude, like Mom said, and still not pull straight A's. The exhaustion. I saw her A.D.D. symptoms increasing at home.
During the meeting I learned that both twins are A/B students again, and that Bella must have hit her stride. The first half of the year required yet another adjustment, and the faculty didn't really see a problem with her grades, but I know her ability. Her teacher wrote me later, after mulling over the meeting, and point out that Bell is working so hard in school that at home she's relaxing and the A.D.D. is more visible. It didn't even occur to me. We've talked at length about overcoming A.D.D with hard work and self awareness, but I didn't give Bella enough credit. She was doing exactly that, and when she came home at night, she'd let her guard down and I'd watch her unravel. I felt like an asshole. I was grateful for a sweet teacher, whose been there/done that with her own child, and shared her thoughts. I was annoyed that in 5th grade there are no parent/teacher conferences here, and I was baffled that almost no other parent called the school recently when grade reports didn't go out electronically as we were told they would, still weeks later. Is it possible that this is why communication is so poor? No one is holding them accountable?
We've considered transferring the twins to another school district next year. The one they're in is rated low...like, below average. That's scary when you know your child will be uprooted, re-planted, and expected to succeed in a new State midway through High School. It's also frustrating when you have 5 schools around the country under your belt and can see the blatantly ineffective practices being used. This is the primary school for military kids in the area, which makes it even more disappointing. Most families are forced to live on base and have no choice in school districts, and you wouldn't expect to get orders to Cape Cod and have to worry about schools.
The thing is, the girls are happy. The thought of commuting 20 minutes one way to another school every day, and not being with their new friends sent them into an unusually long funk for 10 yr olds. Spending that much time driving back and forth with the little ones in the car, sometimes in bad weather, gives me a headache. So we're going to stick it out. We're going to supplement at home, continue to hold the school accountable, and thank our lucky stars for lovely teachers this year, while praying for their teachers next year. The Sailor and I are so proud of the twins for their hard work and constant adapting, but we agree that settling as soon as possible is imperative. I don't want to do this again with Anna and Margo.
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