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Bad report card out of the blue - please help!


Virginialo June 2, 2013

Due to work reasons, we had to move to a different location for 9 months. I made sure my son's school would keep his spot so that when we came back he could join his school again (4th grade). It all seemed to work fine; school gave the okay, he got good grades in his new school, and we came back and he joined his regular school again in mid- February. Soon after arrival, I sent a couple of messages to his teacher asking to meet her, as I wanted to ensure a good transition and that all went well. She never responded, but at a school function she came to tell me that there was no need to meet as "everything was well". What a surprise then that now in the end of the year report card, my son ranks "below class level" in several subjects, and some bad ratings in items like "participates in class", etc. I never had a word from the teacher that he had any trouble. I am worried how this may affect him, and what a bad report card can do if we want to move him to another school (unfortunately we may need to move again). He is a good student and has never had any problems, so this is a huge surprise.
What can we do?
Can a teacher just give a bad report card without having previously reached out to the parents to try to work things out together to help the child?
Thanks so much for your advice.

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MagnetMom June 3, 2013

Hi Virginialo, and welcome to GreatSchools Parent Community.

I certainly feel you. I take great pains at the beginning of the year to reach out to each of my daughter's teacher. If I found out she had a poor grade or was struggling to maintain grade level, I would be very upset.

Can a teacher give a poor grades without reaching out? Apparently they can. Is the school still open, or has it closed for the year? I'd ask to speak to the teacher now if possible, and if they're gone for the summer, I'd call the minute the school opens in the fall. I'd ask to speak with both the teacher and the principal or the AP.

The move back and forth may have much to do with his lapses--schools can be at different places and teaching different things, and he might have gaps in his learning.

Don't make him feel bad, or stress too much this summer. See what you can do to encourage him to read this summer, maybe play on a few academic websites, and do what you can to fill in those possible gaps.

Good luck, and let us know what you find out.


TeacherParent June 6, 2013

It depends on the school. Some schools have policies in regard to the need to notify parents if a child's grades are low. Your son's report card shouldn't have any impact at his new school - you have the legal right to not share that report card with his new school if you choose.

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