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KaterB1270, Teacher
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 142
Experience:  BS Family Consumer Sciences Ed. and Masters of Art in Teaching
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Theres a possibility that my first grade child may be retained

Customer Question

Theres a possibility that my first grade child may be retained by her school. Ive met with her teacher and principal periodically. I have even given the them verbal consent to have my child tested for any disabilities if any. No testing was ever conducted. I dont feel the school has done all they can to help my child nor do I believe her grades are low enough for retention, but theres still another marking period to go. I have since hired a tutor for her to receive extra help. When all is said and done, do I have any say in the State of NJ as far as whether my child gets retained? Or is it all in their hands?

Nervous Mom
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Howard Wise replied 5 years ago.
good morning, this is Howard,

I am a former high school counselor so I have some experience with this issue. If there has been no follow through regarding your request for further testing I strongly encourage you to speak with the school principal again. It's possible your request for testing has fallen through the cracks and that's why there has been no follow-up. If the principal refuses your request for testing, I suggest that you contact the superintendent of your school district.

It's extremely important that you are a strong advocate for your child. Based on my experience in education, I'm confident when I tell you that it's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. In other words, the children whose parents make the most noise, and are the most assertive, will receive the best services which can be provided by the school district.

I'm not familiar with the particular laws of the state of New Jersey when it comes to retention. I suggest that you speak to the school principal to find out whether or not your child can be retained without your permission. If you're not comfortable doing that, you should be able to get an answer to your question by calling the president of your local PTA.

Please feel free to post a follow-up question at no extra charge.
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 5 years ago.
As a teacher with many years of teaching first grade, I would like to offer some additional insight. Would you be open to that suggestion?
Expert:  KaterB1270 replied 5 years ago.

I have actually been going through this same situation in my life. I would like to give you some parental advice not as part of your question and not looking for any payment. Speak with your pediatrician about the situation. Check with the doctor to find out if there are any developmental milestones they have noticed with your child not making. Sometimes it is best to know what others are seeing before making any major decisions. Remember it is said it takes a village to raise a child. Also find someone you can talk to. You need support in this as well as your child.



Another parent feeling nervous

Expert:  proexpert37 replied 5 years ago.
Hello...I am here to assist you. First of all, if you request testing then it should be requested in writing. If you just verbally request testing, it will not get you far and nobody will follow through. Everything must be done in writing so that a paper trail is left. Also, document everything and anything....such as conferences, your requests, etc.

It would not be advisable to rush off to see a pediatrician or the PTA president. You must request a conference between you, the teacher, the principal or assistant principal, and the school psychologist. You need to bring up your concerns. Your child's strengths and weaknesses will be discussed in regards to academics. Also, the academic progress will be discussed as well as readiness for second grade. You will need to become familiar with the first grade standards (grade level skills your child should master) before the meeting so that you can specifically state your concerns. You can ask the school for a copy of first grade standards or your child's teacher. Also, you may want to request a copy of the second grade standard to see what your child will be learning in that grade.

Usually the district or even the individual school may have developed a policy regarding retention. Sometimes retention is mandatory and the parent may not have any say. However, is you strongly feel that your child should continue to the next grade and is capable of meeting grade level expectations, then you may have a case.

However, it sounds like the school has not provided enough intervention techniques to meet the needs of your child. Telling you to get a tutor is taking the responsibility off of the school. You are correct in feeling like the school has failed your child. Your child may in fact have a learning disability or may just be a slow learner. The school psychologist can test for those issues. The psychologist may also refer you to a pediatrician if other health issues are of a concern.

If you are not getting anywhere after the meeting, contact your local school district office and ask to speak to a special education specialist. That does not mean that your child is special ed. but rather that is the department that can assist you specifically with the academic concerns of your child and testing issues. You may want to write a letter first and then follow up with a telephone call.

The above mentioned suggestions should provide you with more direction to get the ball rolling quicker for your child. It is still not too late to act. However, it is late in the school year so testing may not happen until the fall of the upcoming year.

Hope this was helpful.

Have a great day!
Expert:  KaterB1270 replied 5 years ago.

Dear Nervous Mom,


I was just checking in to see how things are going?



Another nervous mom