As expected, her report card was filled with an A in every subject, and she made the honor roll again. It’s probably a good thing we don’t pay her for grades, because I imagine that we would have gone into the poorhouse a long time ago.
My favorite section, as always, is the comments section. This is from her teacher:
“Kaitlyn has been a delight. We enjoy her playful personality and spirit. Kaitlyn is making great progress academically and will continue to do so due to the effort she puts forth in class. She is always up for a challenge and we love her competitive side. She is on her way to a wonderful year in 4th grade. Great job!”
The only thing that I think is wrong in that entire series of comments is that her teacher loves Kaitlyn’s competitive side. Clearly, she has never seen Kaitlyn lose; it is not pretty at all.
We also finally got Kaitlyn’s Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) test results today. Anybody who knows me knows that I am not a huge fan of standardized tests for a lot of reasons, one of which is that they make teachers teach to the test. Also, Kaitlyn tends to struggle on them because she puts a ton of pressure on herself and tends to stress out about them.
Kaitlyn’s scored in the 96th percentile in math. She earned 24 of 26 points in “Operations, Algebraic Thinking, and Numbers in Base Ten,” 8 of 8 points in “Numbers and Operations-Fractions,” and 19 of 19 points in “Measurement, Data, and Geometry.”
In English Language Arts, Kaitlyn scored in the 97th percentile. She earned 10 of 10 points in “Key Ideas and Details,” 15 of 16 in “Craft and Structure,” 10 of 13 in “Integration of Knowledge and Ideas,” and 11 of 13 in “Language and Editing.”
Amber and I are very proud of her results, of course.
It has been a great start to the second nine weeks for Kaitlyn. She was selected to be a safety patrol, and she is going to take that role very seriously. Even better, at least in my opinion, is that she was invited to participate on the school’s Mini Mu team.
The Mini Mu team is comprised of students who have been identified as excelling in math. Kaitlyn certainly fits the bill there. They will practice a few times per week, right after school, and will have at least two competitions.
Kaitlyn is really excited to have been invited to be on the Mini Mu team, and I think it speaks to her love of learning and how much she really enjoys math.
Practice starts this week, and the first competition is in December. Amber and I excited for the challenge this will present to Kaitlyn, and look forward to seeing her grow; being part of a team such as this will also help her open up even more and gain a ton of self-confidence. We look forward to (quietly, probably) cheering her and the team on at their competitions.
The school year is about to start tomorrow, and it seems to be a consistent thing in our district for students to get a summer reading packet and other assorted problems to work on. I had thought it was something that was done for elementary school kids only (since Kaitlyn is in elementary school and has had summer homework every year), but I learned last week that high school students also have summer reading assigned.
Usually, I don’t give much more than a passing glance to many of the headlines in our local paper (we only get the Sunday paper anyway), but one caught my eye last week. “Dropped reading assignment raises questions of censorship.” I was intrigued, so I starting reading the article. Then I was even more interested.
At one of our local high schools, the students were assigned a book called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. What got me interested was the description of the narrator of the story, a 15 year old British boy attempting to figure out who killed a neighborhood dog; he is described as a “mathematical whiz, with traits similar to Asperger Syndrome.” You can probably imagine why that would get me interested.
The boy in the novel is described further as “seeing and hearing in an almost emotionless way, including when adults around him curse or doubt the existence of God.” That sounded really familiar.
Anyway, a week before the start of school, a local principal pulled the book from the summer reading list. It didn’t take long to figure out why the principal made such a decision (an idiotic decision in my opinion): concerns over “the delivery of the text.” By this point, my blood pressure was increasing, but I kept reading. What struck me even more was a quote from a parent, most likely one of the few who complained loud enough to get the book pulled, “…but to have that language and to take the name of Christ in vain–I don’t go for that. As a Christian, and as a female I was offended.” Seriously? Maybe try looking deeper and not making it about you.
I ordered the book online, starting reading it Friday during my lunch, and finished it today. Is there salty language in there? Yep. Is the existence of heaven brought into question? Yep. Is the name of Christ taken in vain? Yep. Do I think the book should have been pulled? Nope. Will I let Kaitlyn read it when she is a little older? Absolutely!
While I was reading the book, I could see different traits of Kaitlyn coming through in the narrator. Good at math. Logical and rational thinker. Difficulty with jokes and sarcasm. Literal application of words. All of those things are true about the narrator, and are true about Kaitlyn, and are true about so many other kids. It’s called Asperger Syndrome.
My advice to the mom I quoted above, and who was quoted in the local paper would be to get over yourself. It is a book, written from the perspective of someone who has a brilliant mind and no filter. That is life. As a self-described “Christian woman,” I would have expected her to show tolerance and understanding of a book written from the perspective of a child who is probably not like her perfect little angel. It is people like her, who cannot seem to accept people who are not like them, that make life difficult for people like Kaitlyn. Instead of attempting to understand people who may be “different,” they are shut out and shunned. That is not really the way I want to go about my life.
If you get a chance, pick up this book and read it with an open mind. You might learn something about yourself, and you might learn something about people like Kaitlyn.
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.
The 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.
On 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).
The 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.