Friday, September 14, 2012

Back To School Night...........

Back to School Night was last night at our new school.

It went well.

We really liked how the school put on Back to School Night.  They had everyone do the pledge of allegiance and they had kids singing the National Anthem.  We also had the principal, who is new to the school, go over the policies, etc., then the Assistant Principal spoke (she's young it would appear and spoke like a mile a minute).  We also had a visit from an astronaut, who lives in our area and went up in space on Discovery in 2009.  He's running for Congress (found that out later) but it was nice to hear him speak and the kids were mesmerized (not just ours, who were, in LGA's case, a bit antsy).

BTSN started at 6pm.  By the time all this was over it was close to 7.  We had the principal, announced, a half hour to meet the teachers. Of course there was an argument as to who to go see first.  We picked LGA's class, which of course made BGA mad.  I asked her to not interrput us and to let us talk to LGA's teacher, and let LGA show us around the class.  She surprised me and stood at the door and only talked to us when she felt it was getting too late to see her teacher.  I was pretty proud of her as it's hard for her to stay silent, sometimes, and not be in the mode to 'direct' the situation.  I believe this will take her far in life, however, sometimes it's just plain frustrating when you are trying to talk to people and she constantly tries to interrupt.  We have been over this but for some reason, neither girl can wait their turn. If I ignore them they just get really persistent.

We made it to LGA's classroom, and LGA showed us around, we looked at the pics of each child on their work, and discovered there appear to be a mix of kids, some older, some LGA's age.  There is one downs boy and possibly girl (not a big deal, I was just trying to see what kinds of kids are in her class so when I have to talk about behaviors and why certain kids act the way they do, I can explain if I know what kinds of kids are in her class).  Some appear to be older, which is why she's probably having issues in school with various kids.  I was happy to see they have about 6 computers they use, and the teacher explained that LGA goes to 'stations' for work and moves around a bit.  I liked that the kids focus on the heavier subjects in the am and have PE and the lighter subjects in the pm, when the teacher feels they have put out the most effort and are tired, etc.  Very true.  Teacher is older (looks to be in her 60's) and she had some great tips on how to do homework with LGA.  Basically they use a chart taped on the student's desk, a number chart and ABC chart and they work with the child on adding and subtracting, by using the chart and going back 3 numbers or forward 3 numbers, etc.  LGA had this chart in kinder and first and we used one like it.  It really helped her.  Teacher also feels she has a processing disorder so I will need to read up on that.  As well as the OCD (which we knew she had).  Teacher felt that by having the teachers take her to the cafeteria and help her pick her breakfast (all kids go when they get off the bus for breakfast. And frankly trying to get her ready in the am is no picnic for Dave, who does it each day, so skipping breakfast at home works out better) and then sending a snack (I didn't realize how late her lunch is, at other schools it was earlier) helps her focus without adding any additional meds, or upping her dosage, etc.  This has been a good help so far.  We'll see how it goes as we go through the school year.

When we finally made it to BGA's classroom, the teacher was tired and done for the night, but she still greeted us warmly, and made a joke (she's got an interesting sense of humor).  By that time (almost 8) I was really tired and needing some dinner.  So was LGA, as she constantly was into stuff in the classroom, so trying to listen to the teacher and get info was hard to do.  But the teacher really got BGA.  I have had to go in each year and explain to the teachers what BGA's issues are. I have had to do this for 4 yrs.  Well, last night, this teacher listened, but had plans and compassion for BGA.  She shares freckles all over her arms and face, and so does BGA.  But she got what makes her tick.  She said BGA is trying so hard to fit in and have friends and that she stops herself if she shouts out so others can have a chance.  That she thinks BGA is very bright.  She supports her playing the violin (which we signed her up for this week).  She listened to her anxiety about test scores and she said she would accomdate that.  We talked about peer issues and specific issues with one particular student. I really don't want to post what the teacher said about it, but it was hilarious and had us laughing. We talked about test scores and how Dave and I told her in front of the teacher, that we don't care about numbers, that as long as she's at grade level (and she is bright enough to stay at grade level so this was not an unrealistic expectation) we were happy with whatever else she achieved.  It was a good conference. 

At the end the principal came to get the teacher, and we got to talk with her briefly.  Both principal and assistant are female and it turns out the principal asked BGA's teacher to come teach at the school for this class.  So it's a tough class but the teacher said she liked challenges.   So we came away feeling positive for the first time in 4 yrs about where our kids were going to school.  It was a good back to school night.

The ending was not so good.  LGA was so done by then.  She couldn't keep it in, she was hyper to the max.  She's regressing a bit (not sure if it's due to kids' behaviors in her class) and is learning to throw a fit to get what she wants.  I'm SO not allowing this.  In BGA's class she wanted a book, we said no, that it wasn't her class or teacher and she was not going to have the book.  LGA started the fit and the teacher gave in and let her have the book.  Then when we get to the restaurant we chose to dine in (they had pizza at BTSN but we wanted a meal and didn't figure it would take long and our custom has been to eat dinner after and discuss teachers, classrooms, kids, etc., pros and cons) LGA throws a huge fit because BGA called dibs to sit next to me.  Enough to where the waitress asked us if we wanted to go sit in the back, where it was quiet.  This is a new thing for LGA. She always had good restaurant behavior but this is the 2nd time we've taken her out where she's thrown an out and out fit in the restaurant.  Even the young adults at the next table were staring at her.  It didn't seem to embarrass her at all.  So.............rethinking taking her to restaurants for the time being.  I am sure we need to add a mood med to the mix, but I'm not wanting to go there yet.  So we did not end on a good note. We will see what kind of day she had, because by the end of the week she's done. 

LGA is going to spend the night at my friend's house on her ranch, tomorrow.  This is for LGA, because she enjoys it there and my friend's step son will be there.  There are chickens and dogs and bunnies and stuff for her to help with and do.  This is also a respite for us from her and we kind of need one right now.  I hate to admit that, but it's true.  We will all meet up for brunch on Sunday.  I'm hoping this little break will be good for LGA and for us.  LGA is interested in the earth and she will have a blast.  It will be good for my friends to show her things and have her help. 

But I would have to say that this has been the best Back to School Night we have had in over 4 yrs, and that's a plus. I hope we have landed at a good school for the girls.  The teachers seem supportive and to get the girls, and that's important.

Here's to hoping we have a good school year.  :-)

Check back here Monday and hopefully I'll have some pics to share with you.  You know, just to lighten it up around here some.  :-)