Problems with Daphne's school
by, 02-23-2010 at 01:46 AM (430 Views)
Yes, I know. Again
I know I've discussed the curriculum, but I can't remember if I've discussed everything here.
I love Daphne's regular teacher. She's really nice and it's not really her fault that the 3rd grade curriculum at this school totally sucks. But Mrs S is on maternity leave right now, so Daphne has a substitute. From the beginning of January to the end of March, we are stuck with Ms. G.
A few weeks ago, when I picked Daphne up from school, she got into the car and started crying. She cried all the way home, and then some. It took her awhile before she could finally calm down enough to tell me what the problem was. I guess Ms. G had started a conversation in the class about Global Warming, and the class discussed it at length. They discussed dead and dying polar bears. They brought up the movie 2012 and some kids in the class said that, in the movie, the end of the world is brought about by global warming. (We haven't seen it yet, so we don't know.) At one point, someone pointed out what a beautiful day it was outside, and even attributed that to global warming.
During this time, they also discussed the earthquake in Haiti. They talked about the thousands who had died, thousands more who had crushed limbs that had to be amputated, etc. Basically, all the worst things that those poor people are going through.
So between these 2 things, Daphne was understandably upset. I was VERY upset. Not only do we not believe in global warming, but even if we did, who would want their 9 year old hearing all that in school? Or anywhere, for that matter? I waited until very late before writing an email. I sent it to the principal, the sub, and the regular teacher.
I hadn't received a response by the late afternoon, so I went in to get Daphne a little early, so I could speak with the principal. She was very apologetic, and assured me that the sub was working on a response. The incident happened on Wednesday, and I spoke with the principal Thursday afternoon. Friday came and went, as did the weekend. By midday on Monday, I was perterbed again that Ms. G hadn't bothered to respond to me, at all.
This time I called the principal. She said that she had wanted to look over the letter before Ms. G sent it, and she had seen it Friday morning, so she didn't know what the hold up was. Within an hour or so, I received 2 emails from Ms. G. The first, being a very lame excuse-ridden note about the situation. She said that she didn't hear these things, and would have stopped them if she did. She assured me that this discussion must have occurred out on the playground, out of her earshot. (So basically she is calling Daphne a liar here. Daphne never lies, and she said it occurred during class) The second email was a little note, saying, "Gosh, I sent this on Thursday. I'm not sure why it didn't go through. Sorry you thought I was ignoring you."
Um, the prinicipal said she saw it on Friday morning, so here Ms. G was lying again.
With the curriculum, it's bad enough that it doesn't drill multiplication. It just taught the concept and moved on. So when the regular teacher, Mrs. S, heard that more than half the class was not yet finished with their math timings, they couldn't figure out why. (and my dd's class isn't the only one this way. I've spoken with parents of other 3rd grade students in other classes at this school). So they moved up the date of when these needed to be done by. They have promised an ice cream party at the end of their math timings session. If you finish them all within the allotted time, you can have your choice of whatever's there. If not, you better hope you finish enough of them to earn some ice cream. So Daphne is stressing about this, and I'm sure she's not the only one.
Ms. G doesn't seem to know what to do to fix this. They have now pulled flashcards out twice in class. (These are cards Mrs. S wanted us to supply for our kids, before she went on leave) Daphne has told me that Ms. G has also instituted a new rule - if you get close to finishing, but still have a few problems left unfilled, (up to 4 problems) you can still pass. So she has basically lowered the bar for these kids. Also, they don't work on multiplication problems in the classroom. The homework has always been very easy for Daphne, and usually was centered around spelling words. She has never been sent a worksheet with many math problems on it, and they never do those in the classroom, either. And yet....a couple weeks ago, they had a lot of math problems. There was one sheet of 64 single digit multiplication problems, one sheet of 64 double digit multiplication problems (which they had not learned or discussed in the classroom), and one page of 100 division problems! Daphne was near tears! (Especially considering her teacher had given her the wrong homework, so she didn't receive it until Wednesday).
Last week, Ms. G showed the class a movie, Stuart Little. Now, this is a PG movie, and it is our school district's policy that a parent must sign permission before a PG movie can be shown. Ms. G "didn't realize" that this was a PG movie. She told the principal after the fact, but we, the parents, were never notified. Seems like a simple mistake, right? Do you know the storyline of the movie? It's about a mouse, who gets adopted by a human family. Towards the end of the movie, the mouse's "real" parents come back to claim him. Even though they are strangers, the mouse has to go with his "real" parents.
Now, as a mom of 3 kids who joined our family through the miracle of adoption, I have BIG problem with this movie! It probably would have been okay, if they had asked ahead of time. It likely would have been okay if they had notified us after. But the only reason I know is because Daphne told me. I have resisted complaining, because I've already been that route, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to bring it up. One or two mistakes can easily be overlooked and forgiven, but they keep stacking up. (And this dingbat substitute teacher makes me want to rip my arm off and start beating people with it! )
Fast forward to today. At 2:40 today, the school automated machine called. (It gives school-wide announcements) It said, "There has been a non-school incident in the parking lot. If you are picking your child up from school, please pick them up in the bus parking lot. Be sure to arrive after 3:30."
That was all it said. It didn't say what had happened. Daphne's school lets out at 3:25. So I arrive late, as it states, and pick her up in the bus parking lot. As I pass our regular parking lot, it is blocked off at both entrances, with cones, and a man in a vest at each entrance. There are 2 police cars in the parking lot. And there is a temporary awning, covering something in the parking lot.
When I ask Daphne what was going on, she had no idea. She also said that afternoon recess was an inside recess, but they weren't told why. Now, it was a beautiful day today, and this is the school that sent my baby outside in 18 degree weather, and also in the rain. No. matter. what. So if they are kept inside for recess on a beautiful day, that is a "lock-down" situation. Wouldn't you agree?
There were a lot of adults outside with the kids when I picked up Daphne. I had a car full of kids and I didn't want to try to get answers out in the parking lot, with all my kids waiting on me. (I had my sister's 2, as well.) I've looked through Daphne's backpack, and there is no announcement of what, exactly, happened.
I spoke with my BIL, a police officer, who works in a middle school, and he raised his eyebrows. He says there is no way there should be that heavy a presence there and the parents not to be notified.
I am going to be walking Daphne into the school tomorrow, and if they can't tell me what was going on, I don't feel like I can leave her there. I mean, if she were at a friend's house, and the mom called up and said, "Can you pick her up in the alley today? There's something going on out front." And then, when I got there, there were police cars, the yard was taped off, and there was a big awning in the yard, blocking my view, do you really think I would bring my child back the next day? I mean, given that no explanation was given, that is huge to me. If it were a car fire or something, why hide it? Why not mention the words "lock-down" in the phone message, since that's exactly what it was?
*sigh* Thanks for listening. I've been trying to be nice, but I think the time for being nice is over. All of this is completely unacceptable to me.