If your child is on schedule to be held back in the same grade, you are probably devastated and so is your child. Fortunately, with some careful planning and negotiation with the school, you may be able to reverse your child's promotion in doubt and have him/her start the school year in the correct grade.
Step 1: Find out your child's reading and math levels, and what levels your child should have (minimally) to enter into the next grade. When you have your child's reading and math levels, you'll know exactly where he/she stand, and how much he/she needs to improve to move on.
Step 2: Set up a meeting with your child's teacher and the administration in the school. When you call the meeting make sure you are very clear about why you do not want your child held back, and what steps you plan to take over the summer to improve your child grades. Write a letter to the school, requesting that your child's reading and math levels be evaluated right before the ending of the school year. When you have your child's reading and math levels evaluated right before the end of the school year, you will have a better shot at proving how much he/she had improved because there will be recent documentation showing where your child was at before school ended.
Step 3: Start calling reputable tutors with recognizable credentials and referrals. You should try to choose someone with a teaching license, or at least a bachelors degree and several years teaching experience. It will make a much bigger impact if you hire a professional to help your child during the summer months. The school will take you seriously, and should be willing to assist you with whatever you will need over the summer. Another perk is that the tutor/instructor that you use will be able to write up an evaluation and present that to the school, along with a plan of action and progress reports if necessary.
Step 4: Read to your child, and reinforce what the tutor/instructor is teaching him/her. Your involvement will be paramount in a situation like this. You have to be 10 times more involved than you've ever been before.
Step 5: Present your findings to the school. Once you have had your child reevaluated by the tutor/instructor, have them write up a letter explaining what your child has done, and what improvement your child has made. Make sure that the letter written to the school also has your child's new reading and math levels and is on the tutoring company (or individual's) letterhead and has his/her signature.
It is not impossible to have your child's promotion in doubt letter or "held back" status reversed. All it takes is a little perseverance and know how.
Nzingha West is a special education expert, instructor and advocate living in New York City. Nzingha owns Urbane Academics, and is the author of Is My Kid Stupid? Avoiding an Educational Disaster.
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