Last year we had a kid who was a non-academic promote from 6th grade. For the uninitiated, this means that he most likely failed every class but was passed on to seventh grade anyway. For one thing, he had already been retained once, so was a year older than the other kids already. Sock boy (he always wore basketball shorts with bright socks, flip flops and had the skinniest legs on earth) was a special education student, was on an IEP, but was perfectly capable of doing work and passing.
Except he chose not to.
He did nothing. He turned in no work. He made no effort to do work in class, and homework, despite the fact that he got help with it, was never done, never turned in. We had parent meeting after parent meeting with his mother, who was frustrated beyond belief with Sock Boy and couldn't make him do any work at home either. We had him in tutoring (skipped a lot), our remediation program, in addition to his special education services. In short, everyone was bending over backward to get this kid to work except, of course, for the kid himself. I often told him he was responsible for at least half the grey hairs on my head. (He thought that was hilarious, by the way.)
So, he was then non-academically promoted to the 8th grade. (See reasons above...they didn't change any). The theory by seventh grade is that we'll promote them anyway, maybe they'll grow up and actually get on the ball, and if they don't, we'll bump them on to high school after 8th grade and they'll get all the whiz-bang services in place at the high school for struggling and at-risk students.
So today we handed out the first quarter report card, and, as usual, I'm depressed because 30 of my students have chosen to fail because (okay, all together now), they don't do work, don't study, don't try, don't care.
And then a little email popped into my in-box from an 8th grade teacher...which read:
"For those of you who had Sock Boy last year, I thought you'd like to hear this. Sock Boy, who was a non-academic promote for both sixth and seventh grade, has earned for the first quarter....two A's, two B's and a C in his core academic classes. So remember, never give up. He finally matured, finally GOT IT, and he's finally working...so if you see him make a big deal out of it. You all had a big part in it."
Oh. My. God.
Mrs. Social Studies and I were stunned. And of course, Sock Boy wanted to come by and show us that Magical Report Card. And of course we made a HUGE deal over how proud of him we were. I wish I could see his mother's face when she saw that report card because I've seen her in tears over the struggles with her son. She's gonna be so relieved that he's finally on the right track.
Now, if the 30 kids that failed my class this nine weeks would only get it...I could stop worrying about the greys.