Wednesday, January 19, 2011

F is for what?!

The very first time Alison got a report card at Christ the King, she greeted me with tears in her little Kindergarten eyes. She'd gotten an "F" she confessed, trying hard not to cry.

I remember dropping to my knees in the hall outside the school cafeteria, which doubles as the Aftercare nerve center. I held her close and said, "Oh that just can't be."

"It's right THERE," she said, pointing to it and just starting to wail. "Under gender!"

I didn't laugh at her, but I know I smiled as I explained how to properly pronounce 'gender' and what it meant. I hugged her tight.

Fast forward to today and 4th grade. I picked her up tonight and she was despondent.

"Mom. We got our reports cards today and I just don't know what that woman expects of me," she said.

"Uh, what?" I said. I'd lost track and hadn't realized it was report card day. "Did you get another 'F' in gender?"

She did not smile.

"I just don't know what she expects. I pay attention. I listen. I do my work! Dad is gonna KILL me."

She'd gotten a 'B' in Social Studies. It's one of her best subjects, and she'd dropped from a 97 to an 88. I don't know about all schools, but these days, you have to earn a 95 (out of 100) to get an 'A." Ninety-one to 94 gets you a 'B+.'

Back in my day, 90 and above got you to that stellar level. I told her not to fret and that we'd look more into it.

"Maybe your teacher made a mistake," I said.

The expression on her face made it clear that she had no faith that a miracle like that was headed her way.

We got home and after a momentary panic, I remembered that I'd put the code to look at her grades online on my pantry door so if I ever needed it, I'd have it right there. Either Jeff or I review her work every night, so I'd never used the online monitoring system.

I couldn't remember a time when Social Studies had tripped her up. She likes the subject and she recently even stepped outside her little box to lead a skit performed IN FRONT OF THE WHOLE CLASS!!!! (She's bossy; but prefers to lead from behind the spotlight...)

Turns out, she'd been given an 'F' in presentation. It sat right there on the screen. A big, fat 'F', screaming at us.

We stared at it in shock. We looked at each other and started talking about at the same time. If she's weak anywhere, it's in Religion class and I know I should push her more there. But hell, she got a 96 in Religion this term -- up from a 90.

We talked about it. She was devastated. Just couldn't figure it out.

After thinking it over a bit, I sent a very reasonable note (not helicopter parent at all) to her teacher asking if there could possibly be a mistake, thinking all the while that a 'B' isn't the end of the world. Sadly, I think I would have accepted it in Religion. Even Conduct, maybe. But not English or Math or Spelling or Science or Social Studies!

Now here's where I have to say I LOVE Christ the King School. I hadn't expected an answer tonight. Ali's Social Studies teacher is out on maternity leave and I didn't have an email for her substitute. I sent the note to the new mom/teacher and copied Ali's homeroom teacher, thinking she'd pass it along in the morning.

Within an hour, the sub, Katie Zimmerman, replied that not only had she gotten the email, she called Mrs. Marciano (yes, the one home with a newborn) and discovered that....drumroll.... there was a MISTAKE!!!!

Alison scored her usual "A" in Social Studies after all.

You should have seen her face. It was priceless.

I'm going to start putting more emphasis on Religion class...

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