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 Gateways 
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Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2003 7:05 pm
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Location: S. Ray Lowder, Lincoln County
I want to apologize if I offended anyone tonight, especially those 3rd and 5th grade teachers. I am sorry that you are under so much pressure. I certainly don't mean to make light of the your curriculum expectations or the stress you experience trying to meet the needs of your students. I don't necessarily agree with testing or its implementation, but I think the "creator" of Gateways really was well intentioned. I believed that "those in charge" were concerned that some educators were pushing children through the grades only to have them drop out in later years and thus lessen the opportunities they might have for their future. Therefore to prevent students from moving on who weren't ready Gateways were implemented.

Somewhere along the way, however, the pressure was put upon 3rd and 5th grade teachers. Although the testing is at your grade levels, it is everyone's responsibility K - 12 to be sure that we are meeting the needs of students and preparing them for the next level. Standardized testing wouldn't be appropriate at a k or 1st level, although maybe it isn't at any level, but we have to measure student progress and knowledge is some unbias way. Even though I don't have dead set make or break testing in Kindergarten I still have the responsibility to make certain that my students master skills so that they can perform well in 1st.

In a meeting with head of testing in our county last week, a fellow teacher asked if it was true that a 1st grade Gateway was in the making. Of course it was denied and the head of testing seemed a little irrated that such word was being spread. However, maybe there should be some sort of Gateway at an earlier level. When I taught second grade I often heard, "don't retain him, the Gateway will catch him next year." It is thinking like that which has caused 3rd grade teachers so much stress. How on earth can a third grade teacher teach 3 years worth of curriculum? I don't believe the intentions of Gateways is to "catch" all those students, but rather to make all teachers and all students accountable. I enjoy listening to everyone share in class and I can tell that we have a very dedicated group of teachers in our class. Just remember that the children you serve everyday love, need, and appreciate all you give them and even if test scores don't show it you know you've done your best. Maybe one day people won't measure our efforts or our students knowledge based on a test score. Until then hold your head high and be proud of all you accomplish! :D


Wed Mar 19, 2003 9:10 pm
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Location: Dudley Shoals Elementary
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I set my own gateway in first grade many many years ago. I will not send a child to second grade that can not read at least 90% on the primer level, unless they have been retained in K. The main reason is that I did not want to be sued for passing a student that was not ready. (They started doing that) The other reason is that first grade is the foundation of so many skills they will need before they are ready for abstract learning. Third grade is too late. But, you can't give a standardized test to first graders. I've done it before (the CAT). They cry and the results are not accurate because they don't understand the importance of doing their best. They get tired and quit. I agree Sherrie, K, 1, and 2 teachers need to make sure they are meeting their students needs to keep them on grade level.


Wed Mar 19, 2003 10:13 pm
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Sounds like I missed an interesting class tonight. :(


Wed Mar 19, 2003 11:21 pm
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Location: Webb A. Murray Elementary
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Sherrie and Cathy, I am in agreement with you. In Title I, we are trying to make sure that we do what we can to give K, 1, 2, and 3 the extra boost they need to make grade level status or better in reading. If we do our part in the early primary grades to make sure a child is ready to be promoted, I am sure that 3rd and 5th grade teachers will feel a little bit better. We should never say to wait until 3rd grade and let the Gateways catch them because that just says that we are not doing our part to help the child. I have the most respect for the 3rd. grade teachers and up. Just remember that all of us in class are doing our part--preparing PPEPs, PEPs, IEPs, or SEPs (Student Education Plans that we use in Catawba County for Title I students) to make sure that we have documentation in place early for students that we have concerns about. Good luck Kelli, Regina, Randy and all those preparing for the EOGs, I know you have prepared your students well.

Kim


Thu Mar 20, 2003 3:47 pm
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I agree totally. I, like Kim, am a Title I reading teacher, and as she does, I try to catch the children when they are younger and their problems may be smaller and easier to correct. This year was the first year that we have served K's at my school, and with a few changes for next yearthings will be even better for the young ones getting some extra help. We truly are all in this together for the children.

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Thu Mar 20, 2003 5:44 pm
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I agree with Cathy. Third grade is too late to try to retain children who have somehow not yet learned the basic skills. Several students that I have this year are still trying to learn how to read. With only a part time assistant it's hard to find time to give all the students the individual attention they need. Earlier retention would seem much more beneficial for most students since third graders are required to expand their basic skills at much higher levels.
Michelle


Fri Mar 21, 2003 9:18 pm
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I agree with Cathy too. I think that 3rd grade is too late as well. However, I had a principal once, who based upon research read said that it was not in the interest of the child to retain them no matter what grade. Teachers felt immense pressure, because they knew that their students were not ready for the next grade and yet they felt trapped because the principal did not agree with holding them back. As a teacher of the very young, I feel that they need to know the basics of k and 1st before going on to 2nd. If they don't the gap with just increase. I have a principal now who agrees. If they do not know the information we can hold them back. Incidentally, I once talked with a principal who after learning about the gateways when they initially came into being, put all his remediation money in K, !st, and 2nd. He said they would suffer until the children in 2nd made it past the gateways but he would not worry as much because most of the children would be then get the help needed and they would close the gap.


Sun Mar 23, 2003 10:46 am
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I agree with putting remediation $ in the lower grades! I know kids in grades 3-5 would be "hurting" for the first few years of doings this but imagine the possibilities of everyone entering 3rd grade prepared and on grade level. Catching and remediating in 4th, 5th and higher is too late for too many.

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Mon Mar 24, 2003 7:36 pm
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In kindergarten, the gateways are not stringent enough to ensure(?) success in first grade. Out of 18 students, I am asking to retain 3 because I know they are not ready. One parent is resistant so I am asking her to observe a first grade class. I hope this will convince. Early retention is so important and I've told her it will catch up with her child by grade 3.


Mon Mar 24, 2003 9:17 pm
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Oops! See next post.


Last edited by Cindy on Tue Mar 25, 2003 2:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Mar 25, 2003 12:52 pm
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Erica, I'm glad you are having your parent observe a first grade classroom. I hope this parent will realize their child is not ready for first grade. I think it's important for children in K-1 to be ready before they go to the next grade level. It is so hard for them to catch up if they are behind, especially if they begin the year behind. I've known of several children whose parents refused to let them be retained in the earlier grades and regretted the decisions when the children continued to get further behind and eventually had to repeat.

Cindy


Tue Mar 25, 2003 1:43 pm
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I believe that it is pretty common to only retain a child once in grades K -2. How do you best determine if a kindergartener should repeat? I have a couple myself this year, but I wonder if two years of first would be more helpful than two years of kindergarten. I also am not certain that my school encourages retention. A lot of research shows that retention is not a good long term solution. I think early intervention is key and that should begin before the students even start school. I guess it is these types of frustrations that keep our job interesting and keep us going with new ideas.


Tue Mar 25, 2003 3:40 pm
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