Author Archive: TommyK

Stay In School

I don’t think this is what anyone has in mind when they tell kids to “stay in school.”  Although it certainly fits the bill.

As part of the concerted effort to get the students in the school excited about and motivated to read (a lot), a challenge of sorts was presented to the kids at the beginning of the year: if they met a certain reading goal and read a certain number of different types of books (biography, fiction, non-fiction, etc.), they would then be eligible for a special prize.

Kaitlyn easily met the reading goal, but it took her until recently to meet the requirement of reading the requisite number of books in each category.  But she did it, which means she gets to participate in a very special event at the school.

Sleeping BagTonight, Kaitlyn will be spending the night at school.  That’s right.  She has been dropped off already, and will be at the school all night.  She gets to participate in a sleepover at the school.  They will be feeding the students dinner (hopefully not cafeteria food!), and have different fun events set up for them to do.  And what would an event stemming from a reading contest be without the kids spending the night in the Media Center?  Because the best place to corral kids who love to read is in a place where they will be surrounded by books.

Kaitlyn will head from the Media Center tomorrow morning straight to class.  By the time she gets picked up after school, she will have been there for about 22.5 hours or so, and I am sure she will be happy to come home.


If there is one thing that we know we can always count on with Kaitlyn, it is that she has a firm grasp of when things are scheduled to take place.

So when she put her lunchbox away this morning and informed us that she had a pizza party, and would not need her lunch, Amber and I believed her.  She is, after all, great at keeping up with things (in case you have missed it in past posts, she has most of the next 12 months planned).

When my phone rang at about 8:15 this morning, with a number I knew was most likely the school, I was a little worried.  Kaitlyn wasn’t sick, so we were good there.  Was she hurt?  Thankfully not.  She was on the other end of the phone.  In tears.  Today was not the pizza party for her math class (Amber’s “divide up the pizza joke” became ill-timed).  She had no lunch.  Not good.

My first thought was to have her buy her lunch at the cafeteria, but that became less appealing to me the more I thought about it.  Then, I figured I would take her something around her lunch time, but didn’t want to get hung up and not be able to make it.  So, I did the next best thing.  I left work, went home, got her lunch, and dropped it off.  I included a “special” treat for her, plus a note that I hope will brighten her day.

Today was definitely a day that was uncharacteristic of Kaitlyn.  For her to miss so bad on the timing of the pizza party is not like her at all.  But, crisis averted, and everything will be just fine.


Our Special Invitation

Amber and I were already committed to going.  From the second we found out about Kaitlyn’s poetry brunch at school, there was no doubt in either of our minds that we would be there.  But Kaitlyn made sure that we knew how much she wanted us there.

Over the weekend, she presented us with our own special invitation to the event.  It was simple in design and message: “You are cordially invited” to the brunch this Tuesday in her classroom.  She even put the time in there for us.

I think it goes without saying that we are excited for the poetry brunch.  I know that Kaitlyn has been working hard on making her poem just perfect, and she was planning on telling her teacher today which poem she selected to share with the class.

Amber and I both happily cleared our calendars for tomorrow morning, and we can’t wait to be in the classroom for brunch and poetry.  What a great way to start a day.

Almost There!

The finish line is in sight.  And Kaitlyn cannot be happier (for Amber and I, I’m not sure we’re happy with the added expense coming up, but that is just part of it).  Running

The school year is just about to wrap up, and Kaitlyn has made it known that she cannot wait for summer to be here.  Two and a half months of decompressing will be good for her after what has been a stressful (at times) and productive school year that has seen her grow tremendously on the academic side of things (she’s growing like a weed, too).

With school coming to a close, Kaitlyn will start bringing home different recap reports on her progress and where she stands.  These are in addition to her report card, and to be honest, give a better look into how far she has come and where she stands now.

This past Friday, she brought home three separate reports: an AR Diagnostic Report, a language arts report, and a math report.  What those reports showed us even had Amber and I shaking our heads for a minute, and nothing really surprises us with Kaitlyn anymore.

Open-BookThe AR Diagnostic Report basically details her reading level.  Her scaled score on the report, which is based on the difficulty of questions and the number of correct responses, was 904, which put her in level 5.  That is on the upper end of the chart and is the highest level that a student can reach.  Her percentile rank was 97, meaning she scored better than 97% of students nationally in the same grade.  Her grade equivalent is 7.9, which means that her performance is better than that of an average seventh grader after the ninth month of the school year (basically where we are now on the school calendar).  Finally, her Instructional Reading Level is 6.8, which means she is best served by instructional materials prepared at the sixth grade level.  To top it off, she is reading at about 170 words per minute.

CursiveOn her Language Arts report, she achieved 100% mastery of all skills assessed.  Her assigned course level for the year was 3 (third grade), with the requirement that she reach 4 to show that she is ready to advance to fourth grade.  She scored a 5.46.  Each of the sub-levels scored, Comprehension, Grammar, Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary, all scored over the 4 level.  Her lowest was 4.85 (Phonics), and her highest was 5.44 (Comprehension).

mathThe Math report had the same format as the Language Arts report as far as assigned course level (3) and required achievement level (4).  Overall, she scored a 4.88 on this report.  She achieved 99% mastery of all skills assessed on this report.  The sub-levels were divided into Computation and Application strands, with Computation consisting of: addition, decimal, division, equation, fraction, multiplication, speed games (fluency), and subtraction; Application consisted of: applications, geometry, measurement, number concepts, probability & statistics, problem solving, science applications, and word problems.

In Computation, her lowest score was 4.65 in the decimal section, and her highest was 5.2 in speed games (fluency).  In Applications, her lowest was 4.6 in number concepts and her highest was 5 in both probability & statistics and science applications.

Overall, not much on the reports that came home, other than possibly how advanced she really is on her reading, came as much of a surprise to us.  We see her work every week and see the effort she puts in to everything, and we see how she never goes anywhere without a book in her hand.  To Kaitlyn, learning really is not a chore at all and it is something she truly enjoys.  Even though she claims she can’t wait to relax this summer, I have a feeling she will continue to better herself.  Amber and I are proud of her in every aspect of what she does, but extremely proud of the student she is and the person she is becoming.  Kaitlyn has learned and continues to learn how to use her Asperger’s to make herself and even better person, and it is wonderful to see every day.

Expanding Her Horizons

I’ve written about Kaitlyn and her musical tastes a few times before.  Basically, because we primarily listen to country music in our house, she is a fan of country music.  With one or two exceptions, we let her listen to whatever artist she wants to (it helps that she likes the same ones we do).

It did catch me by surprise recently when she revealed to me that she was a fan of Garth Brooks, and it surprised me even more when she sang along to some of his older songs in the car.

AerosmithThe other day, we were sitting in the drop off line at school, and I was flipping through the channels on the radio (I cannot stand listening to DJs talk more than introducing the next song) when I stopped on an Aerosmith song.  I figured I would be the only one actually enjoying the song.  I was wrong.  Kaitlyn got really excited about an Aerosmith song on the radio.  Interesting.  I thought for sure she was just humoring me.

Until today.  Same deal, flipping through the channels, searching for something worth listening to, when I stopped on an Aerosmith song.  “Yes!” Kaitlyn exclaimed.  Time to get to the bottom of this.

To say that Aerosmith is an acquired taste might be an understatement.  While I enjoy their music (most of it), most people can either take them or leave them.  And for an 8 year old to even show the least interest in them is not something that I expected.  It turns out that Kaitlyn doesn’t like Aerosmith solely for their musical stylings, although that is part of it.  Most of why she likes hearing them is that she really (and I mean really) wants to take a trip to Hollywood Studios soon so she can ride the “Rockin’ Rollercoaster,” which features their songs.  Makes sense, I guess.  I am not going to be the one to tell her that she can ride that ride without first knowing anything about the band or their music.  Nope, I am going to let her expand her musical tastes and go from there.


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