Sometimes all I think about is helping kids, teachers, and their families. Finding the right resources, creating the correct plan, marshaling a team of caring adults to foster a young student’s academic and emotional success. But what happens when an assessment reveals a student to be failing due to what is colloquially referred to as “being a teenager.”
Now, there are times when adults claim this to be true and there is in fact an underlying issue that interferes with the evaluation of the situation. However, there are also times when the student is simply unwilling to put forth the effort to achieve his or her potential. And, in “economically advantaged suburbs”, sometimes that can be a very difficult thing to accurately portray in a report and in a team meeting.
Personally, I am blunt. I believe in being direct and in holding people accountable for their actions. School systems can create an atmosphere in which the politically correct and strength based terminology that is required can cloud the real issue and allow for students to escape looking in the mirror. News reports of elementary school soccer teams that no longer keep score makes me cringe. Hours of assessment to develop a report on a 16 year old student who is not progressing when she is in fact refusing to access the accommodations already in place and wanders the halls during class time instead of coming to the psychologist’s office seems a waste.
I want to sit this student down and speak to her. Girls with cognitive profiles that are in the Superior range should not be getting Fs in the most basic level of math class. Find out if something is preventing her access, but then to outline some consequences! If these services are not being utilized, then they go away.
Sigh. Rant over. On the upside: I will not be doing a cognitive assessment for this re evaluation. I will be doing a Functional Behavioral Assessment. And I will write up my results in a strength based manner, but in terms that hold the student accountable for her own choices.