Letter to School Re: Homework

It seems I’m on an roll this week with emails. Just composed another missive to a very old-school (read: uncooperative) teacher who just doesn’t get it AT ALL. We finally had a big ol’ IEP meeting and added individualized language specialist support for this class… which hasn’t happened yet, but the way (until I reminded them)… and yet my child continues to get F after F after F on every single assignment. In our case, the F goes to the teacher, because my kid is not lazy or unmotivated unless her teachers don’t care about her… he has better bullshit radar than anyone I know.

So… here is today’s email response to the teacher who thinks giving my kids F’s on everything is the best way to teach him, but finally agreed to meet with the specialist. Mind you, this is the ONLY class he is receiving F’s on in everything… and like I mentioned before, he has very specific IEP modifications and accommodations in place for this very class. Letter below:

———–

(Teacher Name),

Thanks for your message and for talking with (language specialist teacher). I appreciate your reply and look forward to hearing more about this plan and how you are all working together to make sure that (child’s name) is learning, growing, and achieving success.

As for the homework, that is unfortunate. Based on what I know about (my child), he probably lied to you about this because he has completely given up any hope for success in your class and didn’t want to embarrass himself by telling you this to your face.

Hopefully with some support from (the specialist) and your collaboration, we can turn that all around, so I’m glad that we are moving forward on this.

By the way, I do expect him to do assignments if he understands the material and is able to do them.

So, if you want him to come after school so that you can work with him individually to help him understand the material better on some of this homework and get caught up, I am certainly open to giving that a try.

However, because of his trauma history and lagging emotional skillls, it will depend on his level of trust and confidence, as well as how much you demonstrate your belief in him and in his ability to improve, whether he will be open to this or not.

Unfortunately, his grades so far in his classes have been strongly influenced by his level of trust and positive relationship with individual teachers. Hopefully this will change as he learns better mental health and resiliency skills, but for now, that is the reality.

Also, you may want to talk with (counselor and special ed teacher) about utilizing a CPS approach with (my child) to support his improvement with things like homework completion. At my recommendation, (they) recently attended a workshop on this evidence-based behavioral approach with Dr. Ross Greene.

I am so glad that (school) staff are open to professional growth in learning best practices with students like my son who have academic and emotional challenges. I truly appreciate their commitment to helping ALL kids succeed! I would love for more staff to receive this CPS training, as using this approach at home literally saved (my child) from ending up in a long-term psychiatric treatment center.

In fact, if (my child) continues to refuse to do homework, I recommend that we all have a team meeting together to utilize an ALSUP assessment and address any lagging skills and unsolved problems (link below).

I believe strongly in Dr. Greene’s philosophy that when it comes to homework and behavior, all kids do well when they can, and with appropriate support… They can improve.

Thanks again for all you are doing to help my son learn and grow as a person and as a student.

Sandi Lerman

ALSUP:
http://www.livesinthebalance.org/sites/default/files/ALSUP%20Rev%2011-12-12%20pdf%20(2).pdf

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