The first grade celebration was Monday, July 1. To be honest, it was a little under-whelming! When I first saw it on the calendar, I assumed it was an end-of-the-year award ceremony. But the more I heard about it, the more confused I became. I asked Raine’s teacher what it was — since I was going to be leaving work and driving an hour round-trip to be there for it — and her response was that it was like an award ceremony but without the awards. Ummm, okay???
Here’s what it was:
Every kid in the first grade walked across the stage while their teacher read what the student had written was their greatest accomplishment in first grade. I won’t get into all the ways this reinforces mediocrity in American children, but wow! Really?
Raine’s greatest accomplishment was “reading, because [she] used to not be able to read well last year.” Where was the teacher input or guidance on this? Raine scored in the 99th percentile nationally last year in reading! She obviously could have used some direction on how to identify your “greatest accomplishment.”
When I gently pointed this out to Raine, she explained that she wasn’t a good reader last year in kindergarten because she wasn’t reading chapter books until the end of the school year. I just nodded my head and said “oh.” (And under my breath I muttered “overachiever”!)
But the important thing was that Raine was thrilled that I came. She kept giving me hugs and then trying to wave as she carried her chair back to her classroom!
For a more accurate summary of Raine’s achievements the past five months, here is Raine’s First Grade Report Card. The notes at the end are the most helpful.
I love this art project that Raine made this semester.
And speaking of overachieving, Raine was accepted into the Aspire GT (gifted and talented) pullout program. Below is a copy of her scores as well as the questionnaire we filled out as part of the application process. (And by “we” I mean DJ stood there doing the dishes, pretending to help, while I came up with all the examples illustrating why Raine is so gifted and talented! And let me briefly mention here just how stressful it is to write something — without the benefit of spell-check or a backspace key — that is specifically designed to show that your child, and by its very nature YOU, are gifted-and-talented material! I’m pretty sure the essays on the bar exam were less stressful!)
I must admit something related to this questionnaire… I cheated. Well, not exactly. You see, Raine really wanted to be in Aspire so I went to the information night to find out what it was and how to apply. There they told us exactly what the process was and how many points the kids would need to score in each area in order to be accepted. Well, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out exactly how many questions needed to be answered “advanced” on the parent questionnaire in order to meet the 2-point “Gifted Standard.” I simply figured out which ones applied the least to Raine and then marked the rest “advanced.” Granted, the questionnaire was only a small part of the equation, but I didn’t want Raine to barely miss the cut-off just because I didn’t check enough boxes to identify her as “special.”
As it turned out though, she scored plenty of points on her own and they ended up not even making her take the math test because she had already crossed the threshold. Daddy and I were very excited when we received the letter informing us that she was accepted into the program. She, on the other hand, was 100% confident the whole time that she would make it; the letter was just a formality for her.
She will definitely enjoy the program next year. They do exactly the kinds of things that she loves doing anyway — things like research projects!