Last day of Grade 5!
If you had asked me at the beginning of the school year if M would make it through the school year, I would have probably said yes. But I would have added a number of caveats, such as weekly visits to the principal’s office, being sent home on more than one occasion, being called to last-minute meetings with School Board officials. Because that was our experience last year. As M observed recently, he spent most of the last 2-3 weeks of Grade 4, either at home (at the request of the school) or one-on-one with an EA, away from his classmates.
But this year, M is finishing the year in his class, with his friends. He was sent home only once, very early in the school year. We haven’t had a meeting with anyone from the School Board since Christmas (can’t say I miss those meetings since we always left feeling like the worst parents in the universe – hard to feel good about your parenting skills in a room full of educational professionals who are discussing how much a danger your child poses to classmates and staff). And the principal told me that she saw M so rarely that sometimes she would go out to the yard or up to his class, just to see how he was doing.
A great deal of M’s success can be attributed to the hard work of the school staff – the principal, his teacher and his EAs. They demonstrated phenomenal patience and worked tirelessly to put in place the supports M needed to succeed.
Given M’s very bumpy history in the school system, he needed to get some success under his belt. It’s hard to feel good about yourself when the other kids don’t want to play with you on the school yard or when you aren’t permitted to participate in the end of year activities with your classmates. Once he started to participate in class activities, M was able to demonstrate to himself that he could actually be successful. A positive feedback loop. Of course, he’s still pretty selective about what he will do – if it involves math, then he’s all in. But if it’s something he doesn’t like (writing) or something he thinks might be hard (also writing), then most of the time he checks out. But he appeared in a couple of the class videos and finished “some assignments” (according to his report card – better than “none”). When he actually completed a project, he did a good job. Another check mark in the success column.
Today we aren’t going to focus on M’s challenges. We are going to celebrate the fact that he had a kick-ass year. Next stop, Grade 6.