Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Victory Post

When Bubbles was removed from her bio family, she was a month away from completing kindergarten. Except she had not even been at school half of the school days that year, so she was retained. She completed a full year of kindergarten with her foster family. Last August Matt and I made the big decision to have her skip 1st grade for social reasons.

  • Because of her birthday, she would already be one of the oldest kids in her appropriate grade.
  • That made her two full years older than some of the kids if we'd put her in 1st grade.
  • She would have been graduating from high school just a few months before her 20th birthday.
  • She would have been in 1st grade with Piper (1 1/2 years younger) and Pepper (2 years younger).
  • Pepper is off-the-charts smart, and we were concerned that his high achievement would cause unnecessary competition and frustration for Bubbles.
  • With all the transitions she went through last summer, we wanted her in class with her peer group, making friends with the kids she'll grow up with.
  • We wanted her to have her own set of friends, not to be intermingled with Piper's set of friends.
  • We came to terms with the fact that her academics would be low this year, but that with hard work, it will even out in time.
The school guidance team agreed with us last fall, and put Bubbles in 2nd grade. She rose to the challenge! It has been an incredibly intense year as Bubbles and I have spent 2-3 hours each day on her homework. There have been many tears, lots of frustration, but also huge growth and wonderful bonding time for the two of us. She had an incredible teacher who poured into her life and encouraged her every day. The rewards are great, folks!!!

When Bubbles started 2nd grade, she was in worse academic shape than we thought. The state the girls came from has lower academic expectations of the kindergartners than the great state of Florida. She may have been the top of her class there, but she would have come into 1st grade here on the low end. And then she skipped 1st grade and came into 2nd grade rock bottom. She came into 2nd grade barely able to read at all.  Testing placed her on a pre-primer reading level, not even beginning kindergarten reading level. Her SRI (Scholastic Reading Inventory) score was a 0. She scored 0 on it in September and December. She couldn't write three sentences. She didn't know how to write all her lower case letters. It was far worse than we thought. She immediately began receiving tier 2 support services. And we worked HARD. 

Today, just one week shy of completing 2nd grade, Bubbles has made AMAZING progress! Her final report card will have two A's, two B's, and one high C! She took her last SRI test today and she scored a 263, which puts her on the low proficient level for 2nd graders! Her reading grade level equivalent is 2.5--a huge jump from pre-primer! Her spelling is still awful, but now she's writing a whole page at a time! Like I said, the spelling is bad, but you can read it with little effort. She's a good writer, too, using solid mechanics and great flow. She's got wonderful potential. She's a math whiz, and has an A+ in Science! I am so incredibly proud of her.

I'll be home schooling her this fall to shore up her foundations. We're going to go back to 1st grade phonics and reading to make sure she's confident. I think learning the phonics rules will be a huge help with the spelling. Everything else we do will be 3rd grade because she's ready for it. My hope is to put her back in public school for 4th grade, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. 

Tonight I'm going to celebrate with a chocolate peanut butter milkshake and So You Think You Can Dance on TV.

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