Wednesday, August 22, 2012

School Started........

And we started off with a bang!!  If you follow me on the social networking site (yes, I know which one of you doesn't, LOL) you'd know school started off with issues right from the start.

LGA went to a new school, a magnet school.  Her teacher is nice and some of her classmates followed her to the new school.  Also one of her first special ed teachers, and her aide, also are there.  So LGA is pretty much not having that hard of a transition.  However, now she's in the 3rd grade Special Ed class versus the Kinder/1st.  So she's in with some big kids (I'm not sure what grades yet this class is, 3-5 or 3-4, I am not sure).  So she's having some issues and she says some teasing.  Now, one of the issues FAE (Fetal Alcohol Effects) kids face is that they 'embelish' a lot.  So, we're hearing stories about a certain boy (there's always a certain child that LGA fixates on) we will call him M.  M does this, M does that.  M was mean to her, etc.  So I will be having a conversation with the teacher about M.  I believe he is now in another class so I think they addressed the issue but I want to know if he was moved because of LGA or because of his issues.  LGA has of course, since it's a new transtion, and because Family of 4 has had a LOT of transition this summr (enough to make our heads explode) and because she is now 8, has had some tantrum fits issues.  She has been in time out a lot lately.  The minute she goes off she goes to time out.  We just can't deal.  She's going through a lot of transition (which she never handles well at all) so, I think, she holds it all in at school and then explodes when she gets home because she feels safe to release it.  I have had headaches all this week.  Doing homework with her when it was subtraction (basic one number subtraction) was pure torture.  But she's dealing (not sleeping well at night because we have to give her ADHD pm booster at 3 or 3:30 sometimes though, so that's a whole other issue).

Last week, BGA was going to the school she's gone to for the 4 yrs since she's been home.  She had as I posted, her teacher from 1st grade who was looking forward to teaching her this year.  In the midst of LGA's transition, I was happy BGA had some stability.  The bully was gone!!  Kids were treating her nicely.  I was happy we would have a good school year.  I was enjoying meeting the other mom that I talk to and sometimes go to coffee or a meal with, at pick up time.

Then the boom dropped............BGA's class (as well as 7th and 8th grade classes) was full as they had reduced teachers and didn't get their grant for this year.  So her teacher said she thought they would take kids who didn't show up the first week.  Oh, no.  I got a call on Thursday (and didn't pick up because I thought BGA was calling me saying she didn't feel well, typical PTSD symptoms and nervousness of school) saying she would be moved to the school across the street, the very next day.  On a FRIDAY, folks!!!  So I call, I can't get the counselor. I call again.  Have to leave vm.  I decide as it's time to pick up BGA, that I will go down to the school personally.  

First person I get is the school secretary who has known us for 4 yrs.  She has comforted and reassured BGA during those first years when she wanted to call me a lot.  So she says it's not anything BGA did but that they had to go by registration dates.  Then she sort of lets it slip, "we have had kids here since 2nd grade who have had to move."  Uh..........BGA has been there since 1st GRADE.  She tells me nothing we can do.  I say I could take it up at school district, she says I could.  She says parents are mad, uh........duh!!!  Some of the 8th graders have to move, their last year of school and graduate with new students. 

So I see counselor and principal outside.  The counselor says she called me (we go WAY back too, she knows the transitions the girls have been through, yet they still chose to move her).  I say I can't go to school across the street as the times coincide with when LGA's bus comes and how will I pick up my kids???  She says to come in the office and she asks where LGA is going.  I tell her and she asks me if I would prefer to move her there.  I say yes, because I need to put her in a school, like now.  She calls they have a space and I wait for BGA to get out of school.

BGA is SOBBING.  She is devastated.  She says one girl was very mean and said, "I'm gonna have a party now that you are gone!"  And no one said goodbye to her.  In their defense 9 students had to leave.  She sobs the whole way to the school. I have to fill out the LARGE registration packet and we get her registered.  She's nervous, she wants to be with her friends, she's upset.  We come home and wait for LGA's bus.  Which of course instead of the outside transportation co they used last year, is now the school district and they are within a half hour of when they are supposed to drop off so I never know WHEN they will drop off.  LGA is sort of happy BGA is going to her school but not really as she really wants to go by herself.  The bus is all her 'thing' and she doesn't have to share.  But it is a new school so she is sort of comforted.

We now have to buy uniform stuff for 2 kids now.  But at least there are no arguments on what they will wear.  I find out parents went to the school district and their child was put back in the 5th grade class immediately. I ask Dave what we should do.  He says based on how the kids treated BGA we should move her and a new start might be good.

So the next day she's ready to go but keeps hugging and kissing me and telling me she loves me. I'm a nervous nelly when Dave takes her to school.  I worry all day.  We arrange with her teacher to pick up her computer memory stick we brought for supplies (we have since found out BGA's new teacher provides supplies, but we send her with what she has anyway) at the old school and to say goodbye.

When I pick BGA up (and new school, new parking procedures, where do the parents park for pick up, etc?)  I stand and wait for her so she can see me (always important with BGA) and ask her how her day went.  First things she reports is there is a bully there, he was not respectful to the teacher, that the kids cuss more (what about old school?  Oh no, they stopped there when the bully left. Oh great!) and her teacher was nice but very strict.  She won't really say much but says she misses her friends.  However, one of the friends she had in 3rd grade moved last year in 4th to a new school.  She moved because the bully and his friend were teasing her for being a bit chubby.  So her parents moved her.  She's now at this school and BGA walked out with her and so she had a familiar face, YES!  She's another "A" girl (with a very pretty name) and fairly shy.  But BGA likes her.  So we do some talking about does A have other friends, etc.   BGA tends to dominate in play and she tattled excessively (cause the girls ARE tattlers, both got mention by their teachers) on the kids in the old school so they really were out to get her last year.

We go to her old school and she walks around nervously as I talk to the teacher.  The teacher hands me a packet of goodbye cards from her classmates.  She says, since she knows all about our transitions, etc., that she had them do BGA's cards first, but each child did goodbye cards to all 9 kids.  Wow.  We talk a bit and she tells me how the school is not doing well.  How instead of having several teachers for 7th and 8th as you would in a middle school (our schools are K-8) that one teacher is teaching all the subjects.  So I am still not sure what to do.  Dave thinks we should stick it out.  He seems firm on it so we figure Monday is a new day and we go from there.

I do find out there is another very good school on the other side of us, that our other mom that I hung out with's older daughters went to, in their early grade school years.  The principal is supposed to be very good. I find out LGA's Special ed teacher and his aide from last year are now there.  So I am thinking about that school as we now drive 15 mins there and back to take BGA to school.  LGA is still riding the bus (and she's seen my mama van at school and is upset BGA is picked up) because we don't want her to lose her spot and we don't know if BGA will still like this school or have issues, if it's the right fit yet or not.  But this other new school sounds good too.  I didn't know about it till BGA was already in LGA's school.  I don't know if LGA can be moved since different Special ed day class grades are at different schools. But I was told the school she is at, they have classes up through 8th so I would like her to stay there for some stability.

This week, neither girl wanted to go to school on Monday, they fought us all the way.  BGA had a better day, described her teacher as a bit older (I saw her doing crossing duty) and she looks like she's in her 50's, has freckles like BGA, which she liked.  BGA tends to get overly involved with her teachers, so I have to explain boundaries to the teachers each year.  Some follow them (the 4th grade teacher she had initially before they cut down to 2 teachers and we had to move her, did not. I tried to explain she looked at me like I was nuts.  WHY can't teachers understand I know this girl, and I know what I need to explain as to how they need to teach her??) some don't.  This year, her first teacher at old school, I felt comfortable with for BGA and knew she did too.  She sighed a happy sigh when I told her she had that teacher. usual I digress. 

BGA's teacher is from Alabama originally, has older children and likes to quote sayings from the south, that kids in this generation are not necessarily used to.  I wrote up the student profile and I believe she read it. I put that BGA likes to help the teacher, so yesterday BGA reported she picked up the roll sheet and took it to the office.  They are very strict there as I gave BGA some lipgloss that I did not realize was tinted a red color - teacher said no bueno on that.  I invited the teacher to keep me informed of issues, I said BGA likes to be dominant in play and tattles. I laid it out on the line, but I also listed all of her positives.  She's sweet, she likes to help, etc.  More things keep emerging as to what her teacher's personality is. 

I know we will have a talk, the teacher and I, or Dave and the teacher, at some point.  There is also a new female leadership team at this school, new principal and vice principal.  I feel comfortable with a female leadership team versus the weak male leadership team and female counselor (who wanted to 'catagorize' our foster to adopt children) so I am hoping that this will bode well for us.  If not we will see if we can switch to the closer school.  The new school is near where LGA went to preschool for the first year, so we all know the area, and here we are again, 4 yrs later, driving back and forth to get to the school. 

So off to a new school year, with a new school, after a summer of huge transition.  It's been rough in our house, but I am encouraging the girls to talk more to me, and trying to allow for time after school to talk.  Which is hard as homework is pushed back, the original time BGA thought she had with me and wanted, is now a half hour vs. an hour.  I am making time for LGA but her homework is harder this year, she fights me on it, and I'm often frustrated when it's time to make dinner.  Supposedly my meatloaf the other night was not up to it's usual par.  All adjustments.  We'll get through.

I just hope this is a new start for my girl.  I know she was very comfortable in her old school but it was not the best setting for her.  The kids wrote lovely cards to her (for the most part).  One girl wrote that they'd been friends but weren't anymore and the girl was sad.  She said most people teased BGA because of her hair color and they didn't like it.  Two of her friends said their hearts were broken and that they missed her already.

One girl, who is now living with her grandparents (and not liking it, the kids are all with the grandparents and I think the parents split up and the mother could not take care of them).  She has been a friend of BGA's since 1st.  She got really nasty last year and I didn't know why.  She had a hard time and she took it out on BGA.  BGA said they talked about it but she said mean things about BGA's BP.  BGA had a hard time one spring day and really lashed out at me and used every phrase she could think of till I pulled her into my arms and rocked her and she let it all out.

Anyway, this child's card had BGA's name with LOVE written into the name (those of you who know our last name will get it).  A huge red heart on the inside left side, and a hand drawn picture of Dave, me, and BGA.  Saying Mom, Dad, BGA.  Then it said "good friend."  WOW.  I was blown away.  Anyone want to take a guess as to what this girl wants and knows BGA has??

But, BGA seemed to think they were forced to write them because the teacher made the girl who made the bad comment write an apology.  I had to explain that the teacher had her write it because she felt the girl needed to.  But the teacher evidently (because the girl wrote it) said she'd miss her recess if she didn't write the note.  So BGA thought these kids were forced to write the notes. I had to explain only the girl who said the mean thing was asked to write the apology.  The other kids were writing what they felt.  There were some honest notes, and some good ones. 

Hoping both girls have a good day today and we can get used to our new routine soon.  It's different for all of us, but we'll make it.  I hope this is the new start for them both.  BGA told me the kids said she had brown hair, versus her red hair.  That might be a good thing, I hope. I told her to go with it.  Her hair is turning a bit darker I have noticed, so that might go in her favor.  But when I commented on it, this girl who has wanted her hair to be darker for years, said, "Oh I don't want it to turn brown." who hasn't picked up on the fact that red hair can be cool, after telling her year after year as she got teased and hated her hair, that red hair was pretty. 

Happy Wednesday folks.  If I were a better blogger, I'd do a What I Wore Wednesday post, or a What's In You Wednesday.  But I'm not, so this is what you get. 

If you have any good thoughts, hope for a good transition for BGA, and that this might be the place for her and that she will have a happy school year.


  1. I started to read this post a couple of days ago but got sidetracked and couldn't believe what a rough start you guys have had. I certainly will keep my fingers crossed for a smoother year for all of you.
    Good luck!

  2. Yep, tough times here. But I think BGA likes her school, she greets me at pick up in a good mood and smiles. She sings in the am before school. So I'm thinking it might have been a positive move for her. For LGA, she's having some issues, and some older special ed kids are bullying her. I get the impression the teacher is annoyed with having to write me notes back, when I question something that went on (that she neglected to send home in the daily report I have to sign off on). So there are some growing pains for her. She's with the big kids instead of the Kinder/1st, which she liked better. But we are talking it through each day so I hope that helps. I'm hoping this was a positive move for us all. There is a school closer that is good too, so if I could get LGA in there too, we might move (again). And BGA's teacher appears to be the oddest teacher I have seen. I might need a whole post just for her........