2005-01-20 / Other News

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I have two girls in school, one who does very well in all her classes, ano-ther who struggles just to get C’s. I don’t know how to handle the sensitive situation that occurs at report card time, when the differences are quite evident. Any hints?

One thing you may want to try is to keep each girl’s report card private. There’s no need for the girls to compare grades, so let each girl show you her own report card at separate times. Placing emphasis on self-improvement is the way to go here. Each of your daughters should work not only to maintain what she has been able to do in the past but also look for ways to improve in the future, perhaps intangibles like class participation and attitude. Of course the daughter who is struggling should work to improve her grades across the board, but it makes sense for her to focus on one or two specific subject areas to look for im-provement. She should increase her effort and get the extra help she needs at school or after school. She may need to participate in homework clubs or extra after school sessions in order to achieve the success you both hope for.

Some children are just naturally bet-ter at school than others. If you feel that your daughter’s self-esteem is suffering from the disparity between her and her sister’s grades, help her discover what she does well. She might be a great dancer, cook, or artist. Of course, she must still work hard at school, but you should help her be on the look-out for any undiscovered talent she has that’s just waiting to be developed.

I’m disappointed to learn that some art and music programs are being dropped at my son’s school only to be replaced with more language arts and math programs. The art and music programs have always been excellent at his school, so I’d hate to see some programs dropped. What can I do as a parent to ensure that arts and music programs aren’t dropped in favor of even more test prep courses?

The first thing you need to do is to get the particulars of what testing and test preparations are required either by your own school district or by the state. You can find this information either by calling the head of curriculum or the principal at your son’s school or by investigating the school’s web site. Look under “curriculum” or “instruction.” Next, check out the specifics as listed on your state’s web site.

You and other interested parents may also want to show your appreciation for the arts by attending as many of the school’s concerts, art shows, and plays as possible. A letter to the editor of a newspaper praising the quality of the student’s work will also go a long way to inform others of the good things that are happening in the area of arts. If all else fails, you can petition your school board to save as many arts programs as possible.

Send questions to: Answers from the Teacher, P.O. Box 54, South Egremont, MA 01258. Questions may also be e-mailed to answersfromtheteacher@adelphia.net.

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