Category Archives: School

That’s A Wrap

2,105 calendar days.

1,080 school days.

No matter which number Amber and I look at, the one thing that is true is that the time flew. 2,105 days ago, we took our shy, timid little Kaitlyn to elementary school for the first time. 1,080 school days have passed since then, and Kaitlyn is officially finished with elementary school.

And what a ride it has been.

Over the last 2,105 days, we have seen our share of ups and downs, and we have weathered the time as a family, and we have become stronger for it. We’ve been fortunate that there have been a ton more ups than there have been downs over the last almost 6 years.

It has been amazing to see the growth that Kaitlyn has experienced over the last 6 years. If you would have told Amber and I on her first day of school that she would have a speaking part in the 4th grade play, we would have suggested that you get your head checked; but she did have a speaking part, and she nailed it. Amber and I have countless examples just like that one, and they all elicit wonderful memories for us.

We knew even before day one that Kaitlyn would succeed at her school, and that her teachers would be in her corner the whole time. Amber and I can’t thank her kindergarten teacher enough for reaching out before that first day and having us come in so Kaitlyn could get comfortable; the cool part is that Kaitlyn will get to see her for the next 3 years in middle school.

If it weren’t for her first grade teacher battling for her to get another shot at the gifted test, Kaitlyn would not have been as challenged as she needed to be in the classroom over the last few years. Jennifer knew that Kaitlyn missing the cut by a point or two was a fluke, and Amber and I are very thankful to her for believing in Kaitlyn.

Amber and I firmly believe that Kaitlyn had the absolute best teachers during her time in elementary school. Each of them challenged her when she needed to be challenged, and none of them allowed her to ever take the easy route.

During the journey from the first day to today, Kaitlyn has made some amazing friends (we were even fortunate enough to become close with some of her friends’ parents, too) It was really neat to observe the way these kids interact with each other as we rode the bus to and from Sea World last week.

Kaitlyn excelled in the classroom over the last 6 years (if you’ve read this blog any, you already knew that!), and she earned the President’s Education Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence at her Completion Ceremony yesterday. In addition to her success in the classroom, Kaitlyn was an outstanding citizen. I can’t even tell you how many times her teachers, coaches, and administrators would tell Amber or I, unprompted, what a joy she is to be around. They would cite her kind heart, her sweetness, her gentle spirit, and her respectfulness; for Amber and I, those things affirmed to us that we are doing a few things right!

Most of the last 1,080 school days have a fist bump and high five for Kaitlyn and I, and that is one of the things I will really miss as she heads to middle school. Sadly for me, I won’t be sitting in the drop off line for the next three years; I think (hope) that Kaitlyn is a little sad about it, too (I know she will miss watching the “sunscreen/bug spray dance” each morning!).

These last two days have been somewhat bittersweet with Kaitlyn finishing up a great 6 years. During the Completion Ceremony, the class sang a song titled, “Do I Make You Proud,” and yes, Kaitlyn makes us proud every day. The future holds great things for Kaitlyn and Amber and I will be here to support and encourage her, just like we have for the last 2,105 days (1,080 school days).

In about 80 days, middle school starts. Kaitlyn is ready for the new adventure!



Money Well Spent

As the school year reaches its conclusion, I figured it would be a good time for me to have Kaitlyn count up the money that she earned from reading this year. It’s not that we had to bribe her or pay her to read, but given her history when it came to continuing to take AR tests after she met her goal, Amber and I had to come up with some way to keep her motivated to take the tests after about the second or third week each grading period.

Luckily for us, Amber convinced me to reduce the per point payment for excess points from a dollar to a quarter. Let’s just say that I would have been in a bit of trouble when all the cash was counted this past weekend.

For the year, Kaitlyn exceeded her total point goal by 395.84 points. She ended up banking $98.96 for the year. Not a bad payout for doing what she already loves to do…read. In fact, she’s already gotten a head start on her summer reading assignment. By “head start,” I mean that she has already read the assigned book and is making steady progress into completed the questions about the book.

Amber and I couldn’t be happier that we have such an enthusiastic reader, and I doubt that her love of reading will abate at all in middle 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.

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