...and other misconceptions I made 09-09-24
2009 Sep 24

Archive for posts tagged 'school'

June 18th 2011
Kindergarten Graduation

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If you expect a charming post with cute pictures of our little girls walking their graduation… think again. After all, this is the German American School of Portland. The incarnation of clueless, incompetent with a sprinkling of uncaring. We are happy this episode is behind us. We are sad about the money wasted. We are glad that the girls’ German has improved.

So what happened?

School planned an evening event on Wednesday. With the Pre-K and Kindergartners singing. They didn’t bother to tell us about it. We actually heard from our 6 year olds about it and asked the teachers and then Tuesday morning they finally sent out an email. Yeah, planning is for others.

In the email we were told that graduation for the Kindergartners would be Thursday morning – without parents present.

The printed program for Wednesday evening actually mentioned a graduation ceremony.

And then as a throw away remark after the first few songs the girls’ teacher mentioned that “oh, we did graduation already this morning”.

Yes, they sent us pictures in email. Low resolution. And one of them is even in focus.

Yes, to Germans this might not mean much. There is no graduation anywhere, any school, maybe with the exception of high school in Germany. But here in the US it’s a big deal. All the other kids in our neighborhood going to American schools had a little ceremony. With parents present. With a chance to take some pictures and celebrate the end of a phase of growing up.

I hope that looking back in a few weeks I’ll just shake my head and sigh. As I do about so many things related to the GSP. But right now I’ll admit that I’m still rather frustrated.

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May 3rd 2011
Parent teacher conference again

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Last week we had our second parent teacher conference. With all the other things happening I somehow didn’t manage to post about it.

Given that the girls will only be going to this school for a few more weeks, we ignored the things we are annoyed with and focused on discussing their progress compared to expectations.

S2 is reportedly fulfilling or (in one or two categories, I forget) even exceeding what the teachers expect from her at this point. Good, I guess.

H2 is lagging a bit in some categories and quite a bit in others. And the more we drilled down the more it became clear that all of this is the result of two (related) issues. First, H2’s sequentialization issues. And second the problem that her passive language skills aren’t good enough (which is of course related to the sequentialization issues) and she therefore often doesn’t understand the instructions given. And either does the wrong thing or gets frustrated because she doesn’t quite understand what to do and goofs off.

Now the sequentialization issues are serious and something that we need to continue to address. The second problem and the apparent inability of the German American School to reasonably deal with it, i.e., checking with her to make sure she understands, making her repeat things, asking her a few minutes into an activity if she knows what she is supposed to do, etc, I am not willing to get overly upset about. I am just baffled that the teachers apparently think that it’s ok for her to give up (whatever the reason might be) and that they don’t encourage her to try harder.

We’ll see how an English language school and (hopefully) a teacher that does a better job of adjusting to her needs will impact that part of her “issues”. Tae Kwon Do, which is taught in often rather bad English (that I have a hard time understanding), but where the teachers ensure that the students understand the expectations and where “goofing off” and “giving up” are not considered acceptable, clearly shows just how capable H2 is to perform at exactly the same level as her sister (and as far as I can tell, way beyond expectations for her age).

I guess it once again became crystal clear that the German American school is not a place where H2 has the opportunity to thrive.

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November 24th 2010

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dancing girlsToday the girls’ school did their Thanksgiving play – Steinsuppe. It was cute, lots of singing, lots of excitement, really cute costumes – the kids clearly had fun. And so did the parents.

As usual, I couldn’t decide which pictures to post and took the easy way out. I’m sure you’ll forgive me.

In some of the pictures you can catch the dancing and singing – others I picked because the girls looked so cute.

H2 as pilgrimS2 as pilgrimS2 is singing a song

H2 is dancingH2 as happy pilgrimS2 as happy pilgrim

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November 18th 2010
That’s not gonna work

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Yesterday H2 stuck her tongue out at one of her teachers. Predictably she got in a bit of trouble for that (and for earlier hitting a younger kid with a stick). When K2 tried to understand what happened and why, she learned this: H2 hit the other kid because the kid had laughed at H2 when she mentioned that Mama and Papa called S2 and H2 their “cupcakes”. H2 understands that hitting the other kid really wasn’t an appropriate way to deal with that issue.

The reason for sticking her tongue out at the art teacher was even more interesting. It turns out that H2 thought that she might get sent home if she did that. But that’s not going to work – which she also understands by now. She made a mistake. Both teachers and parents told her that.

It seems that part of the reason for the bad decisions may have been that H2 is getting sick – she had a headache tonight and a stuffy nose – maybe even a bit of a fever. That plus lack of sleep may be part of what caused things to go wrong yesterday.

Today she apparently did much better in school and she also made it through her speech therapy session. Afterwards we all went to a German restaurant and that’s where it became obvious that H2 wasn’t feeling too well. She didn’t eat much and really seemed to feel sick. Poor girl.

She’s in bed now and we all hope she’ll be better tomorrow. We are planning for PNO (parents night out) tomorrow, but if H2 is sick that obviously might not happen.

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