Another school year commences

It feels like the previous school year just ended, but another school year is upon us. After an abbreviated summer, it’s time to return to the land of backpacks, lunch boxes, new shoes, and sharpened pencils. The Big Sis is beginning her 2nd grade year, and I’m optimistic that it’s going to be a great year.

I wasn’t sure a couple weeks ago, to be honest. The week before orientation, I emailed the school registrar to see if they could tell me what class she’d be in, because if she was in the 2/3 class, she’d need to buy 3rd grade supplies (I thought), and if she was in a 2nd grade class, she’d need 2nd grade supplies. The school registrar said she was in the 2/3 class, so I went out that weekend and bought the 3rd grade supplies.

Well, we went to orientation two weeks ago, and we were told she was in a straight 2nd grade class, and I’ll admit, it threw me off quite a bit. Her 1st/2nd grade teacher indicated that she’d almost certainly be in a 2nd/3rd grade class — the only question was whether they were going to have one this school year. We visited the assigned classroom, but I was still bothered by it after we got home, so I sat down and composed a few emails.

First I wrote to the school registrar to find out why I got the wrong information. She wrote back and apologized and said it was a mistake on her part. Next I wrote to The Big Sis’s new teacher to find out if she had any information about why she hadn’t been put in the 2nd/3rd grade class. She told me that she wasn’t sure about it because she’d been on her roster since July, but that there are a few other kids in her class at The Big Sis’s level, and she would make sure The Big Sis was challenged throughout the year, as she would be repeating the same 2nd grade curriculum she completed last year. This isn’t a matter of “omg, she’s SOOOO smart, so she needs to learn as much as possible…we’ve just seen in the past that if she’s bored, then her behavior suffers, so I really want to do all we can to avoid that scenario. I think this is true for most kids.

I also wrote to The Big Sis’s teacher from last year to find out if she had any insight into the matter, and it was her response that reassured me the most. She explained that the 2nd/3rd grade class isn’t structured like I was thinking (and like it has been in previous years), and they too will be completing the 2nd grade curriculum. She assured me that with small group work, one-on-one work, and with the Primary Talent Pool pullout program services, her new teacher would make sure The Big Sis was challenged, which I think is crucial for her. Since last year’s teacher knows her the best, I felt that if she believes The Big Sis will get the challenges she needs, then I should trust that and let the new teacher do her job.

I have to say, most impressive of all of this — I wrote all three of those emails at 9 p.m. on that Monday night, and I had responses from all three by 10:30 p.m. I’d call that going above and beyond, and it helped me sleep better that night.

I really do like The Big Sis’s teacher so far, and already I’ve been shown that she will do her best to challenge her. The Big Sis aced her spelling test the first two weeks, indicating the words were a little too easy for her, so each week The Big Sis has had a different set of spelling words (along with a couple other kids in the class) that she’ll study.

So far it seems like we’re starting off the school year on a good note. I look forward to seeing what the year brings.

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