Editor’s note: In the coming weeks and months, Worcester Sun will chronicle the trials, tribulations and triumphs of Sun contributor — and aspiring small business owner — Giselle Rivera-Flores as she explores ways to help her daughter and other Worcester families find affordable educational support and assistance. This is the first in an occasional series in which we plan to illuminate the acute struggles of families with limited resources, and how families and entrepreneurs alike can navigate the political landmines and red tape to start their own business — and make a difference.
The words, “We recommend Brooklyn repeats the second grade,” ran through my mind for hours after the meeting I had scheduled with faculty and staff at my daughter’s Worcester public school. It was seven weeks prior to the end of the academic year, and here I was facing the toughest decision of my life.
Do I let my 7-year-old repeat second grade despite all of her exceptional progress?
It was now 4 a.m., the day after my meeting, and I was no longer overwhelmed by worry. Instead, I felt an abrasive feeling of frustration.
How can a teacher decide the future of a child based on a few observations that do not showcase her full potential? How can a teacher tell her she has been an excellent student all year and then recommend she repeat the second grade less than two months before completion? I must be the only parent in a constant state of confusion over my daughter’s academic success, I wondered to myself as I sat at my kitchen table reviewing a year’s worth of Brooklyn’s A-graded work.
The sun was rising, a new day was beginning, and I was still baffled by the decision of the school. Still in the kitchen, Brooklyn’s work still spread across the dining room table, I stood in total silence and at a loss for words. I would have to break the news to my daughter about the recommendation made by her teacher and I didn’t even know where to start. I better toughen up, I thought.
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