Category Archives: School

In The Homestretch

It’s hard to believe, but Kaitlyn has finally entered the homestretch of elementary school.  Six years sure have flown by.  Kaitlyn has come so far as a person and a student during the past six years, and Amber and I certainly have grown as parents during that time.

We’ve seen Kaitlyn grow from a shy little girl who really had trouble adjusting (though we are still thankful to this day that her kindergarten teacher helped make the transition easy) to a little girl who participates in a speech contest, has a speaking role in a school performance, and who has made an incredible impression on the teachers at her school.  It has been great to have a front row seat, and while there have been bumps along the way, it certainly has been quite the ride.

Today was the first day back to school from spring break, and as if to drive the point home to us, Kaitlyn had to turn in her course request form for middle school today.  For the core academic courses, Kaitlyn has been recommended for gifted courses, which is really not much of a surprise.  A half a year of PE is required as an elective, and Kaitlyn got to list her top 5 choices to fill out the rest of her electives.  Kaitlyn is certainly content, with some encouragement from us, to take courses that while challenging, will offer her somewhat of a break from the grind of her gifted courses.

There are still a few things for Kaitlyn to focus on before she crosses the finish line of elementary school, including her science fair project and a field trip to Sea World.  Amber and I are not really in a hurry for the last of Kaitlyn’s 1,080 days of elementary school to be over, but we are excited for what the future holds for her.  



1,821 days ago today, Amber and I dropped Kaitlyn off for her first day of kindergarten.  This morning, we dropped her off for her first day of 5th grade.  It seems like just yesterday.

Over the last 4 years, 11 months, and 25 days, Amber and I have had a front row seat to all of Kaitlyn’s tremendous achievements.  We could not be more proud of growth she has shown and the person that she is becoming.

During her time at her elementary school, we have been fortunate that Kaitlyn has had some amazing teachers who pushed her and challenged her to be her best.  We’re excited to work with her fifth grade teacher this year, having already heard great things about her; Kaitlyn is already familiar with her, too, since her teacher was also the Student Council advisor last year.

Amber and I expect Kaitlyn to be challenged this year, and we also expect that she will rise to any challenges that come her way like she has always done.  We look forward to supporting her and pushing her (when necessary), and we know she will have a great school year.

Performance Level 5

“Students who score in Level 5 demonstrate mastery of the Florida Standards for their grade.  They are likely to excel in the next grade.”

While Kaitlyn was up in Iowa, her Florida Standards Assessment scores came in the mail.  Amber and I are not 100% sold that standardized tests such as these are necessarily the best gauge of where students stand, they are here and Kaitlyn has to take them, so we figure we may as well accept it.

As she did last year, Kaitlyn did spectacular on the tests!  She was a Level 5 (out of 5) in both the Math and English/Language Arts tests.

In Math, Kaitlyn was in the top 25% of the school, top 17% of the district, and top 12% of the state.  In the English/Language Arts tests, she was in the top 23% of the school, top 11% of the district, and top 7% of the state.

Each year, Kaitlyn puts a lot of pressure on herself when it comes to taking these tests.  She wants to do her absolute best, and she has done a great job so far.  While Amber and I focus more on her effort and results on a daily basis and for each grading period, it is difficult not to be proud of her when we get results like these.

A Gold Medal Year

It seems like just yesterday that Amber and I were taking Kaitlyn to school for the first day of 4th grade, and here we are at the end of May and the school year is over already.  But what a year it was.  It was a Gold Medal year in fact.  Penguin Gold

Kaitlyn grew so much as a person this year and experienced so much, that it is hard to know where to start (and yes, I know I could go month-by-month, but where is the fun in that?).

This year saw Kaitlyn compete for her school in the local Mini Mu competition, and to earn an award to boot.  She earned a spot in the 4th grade performance, and knocked it out of the park.  Her water conservation poster earned her recognition from the city, too.  Once again, she read all of the Sunshine State Young Readers books, one of a handful of students to do so.  She also blew away her AR goal each grading period within the first few weeks.

The most important thing Kaitlyn did all year was to continue to excel in the classroom.  Amber and I could not be more proud that her final report card only has one letter on it where the grades are shown: A!  We know that we are fortunate in that Kaitlyn pushes herself and keeps herself motivated to do her best in school.  As parents, Amber and I know that we just have to keep encouraging her to do her best and keep reminding her what her goals for herself in the future are (dolphin trainer and a foundation) and that the only way to achieve her goals is to excel in school.

This is my favorite part of sharing Kaitlyn’s report cards, the part where I share the comments from the teacher (once again, we were blessed with amazing teachers who knew how to get the most out of Kaitlyn).  Here is what her teacher wrote for the final grading period:

I enjoyed Kaitlyn’s sweet spirit this year.  Kaitlyn has done a wonderful job in 4th grade.  She has mastered all of the 4th grade benchmarks taught in all the academic areas.  I know that she is ready for the challenge 5th grade will bring, and am confident she will continue to shine.

Kaitlyn certainly has earned a relaxing summer (though five minutes before I started writing this, she was working on her summer school packet, and while I was writing this, she asked how many pages she should work on each day to finish her assignment by June 14), and Amber and I plan to do our best to make sure she gets one.  She will certainly have herself an interesting summer, filled with travel, adventures, and experiences.  I can’t wait to share them.


The fourth nine weeks is underway, and it feels like just yesterday Kaitlyn was starting 4th grade.  Time sure does fly.

BooksTo kick off the nine weeks, the fourth graders took the STAR reading assessment to gauge where they were at this point of the year.  Kaitlyn came in at an 8.6, meaning her reading level is equivalent to a student who is just past the halfway point of their 8th grade year.  For her block (two teachers) as a whole, the average was 6.6, and the students were in the 84th percentile nationally; Kaitlyn was in the 97th percentile.
Here are the rest of her results, along with what each measurement is:

*Scaled Score:  970, level 5.  The score is based on the difficulty of questions and the number of correct responses.
*Instructional Reading Level:  8.4.  Kaitlyn would be best served by instructional materials prepared at the eighth grade level.
*Estimated Oral Reading Fluency: 190.  Kaitlyn can likely read 190 words per minute correctly on grade level appropriate text.
*Domain Scores (each are on a 100 point scale and measure mastery of skills in each at a fourth grade level):  Language (Vocabulary Acquisition and Use):99; Informational Text:  Key Ideas and Details-99Craft and Structure-98Integration of Knowledge and Ideas-97Range of Reading Level of Text Complexity-99; Literature: Key Ideas and Details-99 Craft and Structure- 99 Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity- 99.

For the nine weeks, her AR goal was set at 19 points, which should not be too much trouble for her.

To be honest, none of the scores that Kaitlyn brought home surprised Amber and I one bit.  We are proud of her continued success and development, but more importantly, we are happy that she is driven enough to reach the scores she did without too much prodding by us.

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