Friday, February 21, 2014

Worthy Investment

We can't afford private school for our kids. It is just so expensive nowadays! But this year, Matt felt very strongly that Snapper needed to begin middle school in a private school. I deferred to him, because it isn't very often that he feels so strongly about something. We took the plunge and enrolled her in a Christian college prep school. Every month when I write out that tuition check, my stomach rolls over because's expensive! I try not to think of all the other ways I could be using that money.

And then there are days when this incredible school blows my socks off with something amazing, and I don't mind the cost anymore. IT IS WORTH IT!

This morning I met with the guidance counselor, and Snapper's History and Math teachers. Even though Snapper is in a rigorous program (college prep honors classes), it isn't enough. She is bored senseless in her math class, and has stopped caring about the homework. She does the homework. I check it every single afternoon. She does it, and does it well. But there is a convergence of three problems, here. 1. Snapper could ace every quiz and test without ever once looking at the homework. 2. She does not see how the homework benefits her, and therefore places low importance on turning it in. 3. She has ADHD, and struggles greatly with short-term memory and organization. That convergence has resulted in less than half of her math homework getting turned in for her math class this quarter. While she has a test and quiz average of 98 (it just went up again yesterday), her grade in the class is currently 86. Because homework matters.

The math teacher and I have taken steps to put an accountability and organization system into place for Snapper, and it is really helping. I also gave Snapper permission to not see the point of the homework. But I also emphasized that in this case, the development of her character is far more important than the math. Whether she sees the point or not, she still has to complete and turn in all her homework. The homework is now an exercise of character development. She understood that, latched onto that idea, and has adjusted her attitude accordingly.

Now the school steps in and makes changes to meet Snapper's needs, so that she no longer sees the homework as irrelevant. I am uber-impressed with the team I met with today. Those two teachers--Snapper's favorites--adore her. They genuinely care for her and want the best for her. They recognize Snapper's amazing potential, and are willing to do whatever is necessary to maximize her potential. Mrs. S, the Math teacher, is modifying Snapper's homework. She'll only have to do 1/3 of the daily homework assignment, just to show that she understands the concepts. The rest of her homework will be challenge activities that Mrs. S will prepare for her each day. The challenges delve deeper into the material, and will help develop Snapper's critical thinking skills. When the class does drill and practice to work on new concepts, Mrs. S will have other things for Snapper to work on. Mr. G, the History teacher, also wants to stretch and challenge Snapper. He is going to start having her do additional research during class. While the class works on assignments, he's going to have Snapper get on the computer and find additional information about the key figures, events, and concepts they are studying in class. He will have her share this information with the class. Because she is so inquisitive, she's going to eat it up! If Snapper thrives with the extra stimulation, her other teachers will institute similar interventions for her. The guidance counselor is going to meet with her as well, to do some coaching. She's going to help Snapper understand how her work ethic and good grades now are setting her up for the future. She's going to help Snapper research some different career possibilities, to give Snapper goals. She's also going to give Snapper some say in the interventions she's receiving. She wants Snapper on board with everything, and wants to give her ownership in her own education.

I LOVE THIS PLAN! I love the teachers. I love the school. I love how much they care for this little girl. Yes, worth every penny.

1 comment:

Stef said...

This is awesome, Em! What a gift to be given to have teachers who are SO invested. And go Snapper! Using that brain God gave her to its fullest!! :)