Friday, March 12, 2010

Realistically Speaking, Part 2

Realistically speaking, if there were no such thing as CSAP my daughter's bus would not have been on the way to school when the roads were way too slick and been hit by a high school driver.  And realistically speaking our school district would know better to call school on that day than to risk the injuries to the students that we have suffered.  But, then realistically speaking, I would have nothing to post about (twice) either, I guess.  I am a little concerned that I didn't clarify a few points in yesterday's post, and I wanted to give you a quick follow-up as well, so here goes.
I didn't ask my friend Tiffany for permission to change her comment on yesterday's post to a portion of today's post, but I don't think she'll mind, she brings up some interesting points that I'd like to share.  Tiffany is the seventh grade science teacher at the middle school in the school district that my kids go to.  She is also on all of the committees that I am on, plus some.  One of the interesting things that I would like to point out is that Tiffany has chosen to stay with our district for much less pay than she could make in her very own neighborhood and not have to commute an hour each way.  Anyway, on to her comment from yesterday:
I am glad Bella was okay! And I didn't realize the kids were hurt so badly. They told us the kids were transported "just to be safe." I agree totally that we should have had a snow day! Yikes!

But I also have to add this... In our defense, I have to point out that the testing is not optional. We have to do it. The snacks and recesses are to make it more tolerable. It is absolutely unbearable to sit in utter silence for that long. It may feel like a day off to your bright boys, but for most kids, it's really draining. The kids (and I) are exhausted. And we don't give them candy "rewards". We give them a peppermint candy during each session, because brain research indicates that peppermint stimulates brain activity, and helps maintain focus and attention. Most of us hate the whole thing too, but we are trying to do what we can to make the best of it. Just had to throw that in. You know I love you! (-:
Her comment goes to show how hard these teachers are working to get the kids and themselves through these tests.  And, how hard they are having to work to get the kids to do well on the tests.  I was dropping Isabella off at school the other day, and the teachers were all madly running around with butcher paper (what a waste of paper) trying to cover up the walls of resource information that is normally available to the kids, I mean these teachers work their butts off for these tests!  And (I'm sorry I can't stop myself here) the kid are not learning anything new!
When the Doctor asked us about the day of the accident, and I mentioned CSAP, she literally rolled her eyes, without prompting from me, no kidding.  She had assumed that the school district had immediately released all of the kids to their parents, but was not surprised to hear that they had tried to keep things normal due to the testing schedules.  She had even called me clever for thinking to check on Bella at lunch time! 
Which brings me to my next point.  I must say, that I was a bit of a doubting Tom, right along with my husband, the Always Doubting Tom, when it comes to the medical field on concussions and whiplash.  I thought that this was a pretty gray area and that they would just say of course she had this or that and send us on our way.  Well, I was wrong.  There are definitive tests (neurological and x-rays) for each, that can tell how severe the case is and how much further testing (cat scan or MRI) is needed for each.  I felt much better after leaving the doctors office and am very glad I went, because not only my mind was eased, but so was Isabella's and that was the most important thing I could have done in this entire situation!
So, as I had mentioned, I have started my complaints in the chain of command that we even had school that day, which now will be taken a bit more seriously since they will be paying some of our medical bills.  That in itself is a bummer.  Maybe some good will come out of all of this, who knows?  Maybe my friend Tiffany will have a leftover Peppermint stick for me-ha!!!!  Just kidding, gotta keep our sense of humor, though in all seriousness, I really do love the people that teach and transport and care for my children!


Tiffany said...

Always the Devil's Advocate (or eternal optimist?) - there is SOME good that comes of the testing. It really is the only chance all year the kids have to sit down for an hour straight, testing their wits, so to speak, doing their best on something that "really matters." Not that I think it matters all that much, but there is something sort of inspiring about sitting down to that kind of standardized assessment, and asking, "how do I measure up?" Believe it or not, I have kids who don't do SQUAT all year, and then pull out all the stops on CSAP just to show what they are capable of. Sometimes it's the only way you know they learned anything. And that does make the test a learning experience, in and of itself, for both the kids, as well as us. We can look at ourselves a little more reflectively and objectively to see where our curriculum and teaching could be tweaked. So, you know. It's not all bad. Of course, there's no justification for making it take two weeks... Ug. And I hate the school accreditation and labeling and all that NCLB/AYP junk that goes with it. Ewww.

Daisy said...

Speaking from Wisconsin: ours is called WKCE (Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam). We, too, hate it. There are better assessments that cause less stress, provide data much more quickly, and take less time, leaving us with more instructional time in which to teach. A parent donated gum a few years ago during the tests; bubble gum! What was she thinking?! Now we suggest kids bring their own gum and recommend it's sugarless.