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      “My Kid Might be Held Back a Grade – What Do I Do?!”     As Spring report cards make their way home, some parents are hit with the alarming news that their kid’s performance is not on track. This notice can cause parents to panic, wondering if their kid will be held back a grade, whether or not they should be, and what they can do about it.    If you’ve received notification that your child may be held back a grade, here’s what you can do:    1. Investigate why     If you receive a notice that your child may not be promoted to the next grade, investigate why. Is it for academic reasons, such as not being able to read at grade-level proficiency? Is it that your kid has social or emotional challenges that make it hard to fit in with their peers? Make sure you clearly understand why the school thinks that retention is warranted for your child. Check out your local    Parent Training Center    to learn if the school’s decision aligns with your district’s policies on grounds for retention.      2. Question their reasoning     The general consensus among experts is that retention is not  usually  the best choice for students and that it should only be considered after other alternatives have been explored. Question the school’s reasoning to ensure they’ve tried other approaches before suggesting retention:       If they say it’s because your child is struggling to learn at the rate of their classmates, ask what interventions they’ve tried to get your kid up to speed     If they say it’s because your kid didn’t perform well on standardized tests, raise the possibility that your kid may know the material but   struggle with time constraints or test formats      If they say your child seems to be struggling emotionally, ask what the school has been doing to help your child   overcome emotional challenges          3. Consider potential benefits     There are scenarios where retention may be the right choice for your child’s long-term success. If any of these situations apply to your kid, consider that retention might be a positive option:      When your child missed an excessive amount of school due to illness, moving, or death of a loved one    When a child is developmentally immature (being held back can reduce the stress of trying to keep up with same-aged peers)    When a child has behavioral issues that are clearly linked to academic stress     4. Determine a diagnosis     If your kid is at risk for being held back due to learning challenges, it’s important to   have your child evaluated for impairments or disabilities that could impact their education   .  If your child does have a diagnosis, simply holding them back a year might not be effective. For example, if your kid struggles with   attention issues  , they won’t benefit from just being taught the same way two years in a row. A better approach would be to promote your child to the next grade, while working with the school to create a 504 plan or IEP that would provide your child with effective classroom accommodations.   Interested in Diagnostic Testing for your child?       


   
     
      
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      5. Engage your SST & CST     There are two groups that can support your kid if they’re having difficulty succeeding within the regular classroom setting. The Student Study Team (SST) consists of the teacher, administrator, parent, student, and sometimes special education teacher. This group works together to come up with interventions to improve the student’s progress. The IEP Team or Child Study Team (CST) is a multidisciplinary group of professionals that can support your child with consultations, evaluations, and special education services. These teams can advocate for appropriate accommodations and recommend potential alternatives to grade retention.      6. Request an IEP or 504     Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and 504 plans are not the same thing, but they both aim to help students succeed despite disabilities or learning differences. If classroom accommodations are enough for your child to succeed with the standard curriculum, then a 504 Plan may be sufficient in getting them up to grade level proficiency. If their diagnosis greatly impairs their learning abilities, they may need an IEP that provides a specially tailored curriculum with individualized goals. A Specialist in Educational Psychology can help you determine if your child has a diagnosis and what educational plan(s) will work best for them.     Click here to learn more about Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Specialist in Educational Psychology and special education consulting     7. Seek support      Getting notice that your child may have to repeat a grade is scary news to any parent. Walking into a school and questioning their decisions can also feel very intimidating. The good news is, you don’t have to do it alone. Our Specialists can assist you in supporting your child and ensuring that decisions are made in their best interests.    Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D.,  is an expert in Child and Educational psychology. If your child is at-risk for being held back a grade, Dr. Shinn can provide educational consulting to support your child’s academic needs.      
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shinn 
       Dr. Amy E. Weir, Psy.D.,  is a specialist in Neurodevelopment and Autism Spectrum Disorders. If you think your child may have autism or other intellectual challenges, Dr. Weir can guide you in supporting your child’s education.      


   
     
      
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      Dr. Elsa Torres, Psy.D.,  is a specialist in Diagnostic Testing and Counseling. There are a number of emotional challenges, behavioral issues, and learning disabilities that can impact a child’s learning such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. If you’re concerned that your child may have a diagnosis that is impacting their academic success, Dr. Torres can help.      
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Torres 
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   CST - Child Study Team. (2009).  Specialeducationnews.com.  Retrieved from http://www.specialednews.com/special-education-dictionary/cst---child-study-team.htm  Find Your Parent Center (N.D.).  Center for Parent Information and Resources.  Retrieved from https://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/  IEP vs. 504: What’s the Difference? (2015).  Additudemag.com . Retrieved from https://www.additudemag.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/10241_For-Parents_IEP-vs-504_whats-the-difference.pdf  Morin, A. (N.D.). Repeating a Grade: Pros and Cons. Understood.org. Retrieved from https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/choosing-starting-school/moving-up/repeating-a-grade-pros-and-cons  Understanding the Student Study Team (SST) (2016).  Understandingspecialeducation.com  Retrieved from https://www.understandingspecialeducation.com/student-study-team.html  Shinn, M.M. (2018). 5 Tips for Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children.  Psychologically Speaking . [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/5-tips-for-raising-emotionally-intelligent-children   Shinn. M.M. (2018). ADHD or Just Kids Being Kids?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/adhd-or-just-kids-being-kids   Shinn. M.M. (2018). Accommodations for College Entrance Exams: What Parents Need to KNow  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/does-my-child-need-accommodations-for-the-sat-act   Shinn, M.M. (2018). Should I Get My Kid Tested?   Psychologically Speaking . [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/schools-out-should-i-get-my-kid-tested   Volpitta, D. The School Says My Child Needs to Repeat Third Grade. What Can I Do?  Understood.org.  Retrieved from https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/choosing-starting-school/moving-up/the-school-says-my-child-needs-to-repeat-third-grade-what-can-i-do   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn. M.M. (2019). My Kid Might be Held Back a Grade – What Do I Do?!  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from: https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/my-kid-might-be-held-back-a-grade-what-do-i-do

“My Kid Might be Held Back a Grade – What Do I Do?!”

While many parents post about their kids’ stellar report cards, others are feeling panicked that their kid may be held back a grade. If your kid is at risk for being retained, check out this week’s blog to find out what to do about it.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “Which School is Best for My Kid?” 12 Tips for Smart School Selection     Next to picking your kid’s name, choosing your child’s school is high up on the list of stressful parenting choices. Every parent wants the best for their kid, and a child’s schooling has life-long impacts on their intellectual, social, and emotional development. What makes a school great for one kid doesn’t work for the next, and with so many options, parents can feel lost in selecting the best school for their child’s needs.    So what factors  really  matter in picking the perfect school? Ask these 11 questions when determining which school is best for your kid:     1. Is it test-obsessed?      Children learn best when they have a strong sense of autonomy, meaning they feel ownership over what they’re learning. Having opportunities to explore, take initiative, and problem-solve are important for building autonomy. While all schools aim for students to do well on standardized tests, schools that focus on “teaching to tests” can have fewer outlets for creativity and hands-on learning. Ask the faculty how they balance covering the curriculum while providing student-led activities.     2. Will it meet my kid’s needs?      If your child is gifted or has learning differences such as   ADHD  , autism, or   dyslexia  , it’s important to learn what   accommodations   are available to support their success. Do they need a highly structured environment, more individual attention, or extra time for assignments? Talk to the school’s faculty about your child’s specific needs to ensure they’re experienced and equipped in meeting them.   Need help securing accommodations for your child?       


   
     
      
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      3. Is their curriculum first-class?     The quality of your child’s curriculum can have a tremendous impact on their academic achievement. A great curriculum has a proven track record in empowering students to master core subjects. Ask your school which curriculum they use for each subject and get to googling; a quick internet search can show you a curriculum’s ratings on text quality, knowledge building, usability, and alignment to academic standards.      4. Do their scores measure up?     School ratings never tell the whole story, so try not to make snap judgements based on one overall score. However, digging deeper into a school’s score card can give you some valuable info. Look for these 3 measures:        Are there signs of improvement?   Sometimes schools have a high proportion of disadvantaged students, bringing test scores down regardless of the school’s quality. Look for the  student progress rating  to get a better idea of how well kids are learning rather than test scores alone.     How does the school perform in various subjects?   While other schools might have a higher overall rating, you may find that a school with a lower overall score has higher ratings in the subject(s) you care most about.     How do kids like yours do?  School ratings break down performance scores by race, sex, special needs, and socioeconomic status. Dig into these details to determine how kids most similar to yours are doing at the school. It’s also helpful to ask other parents and neighbors what their experiences have been to get an inside scoop of the school’s strengths and weaknesses.      5. Does it empower my kid’s passion?     Does your child have strong inclinations toward math, science, music, art, or languages? Ask the school about their approach to your child’s favorite subject. You may also want to investigate if there are any magnet or private schools in your area that focus more heavily on the subject your child is drawn to.     For more tips on supporting your child’s passions, click here      6. Is it public or private?      Whether public or private is best is a long-heated debate without a clear-cut answer. There are several pros and cons to each school type that you should research, but here are a few of the major ones:       

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      7. What resources are available?   When evaluating a potential school, pay attention to the resources the school has to stimulate your child’s learning. Desirable resources include:    An ample library    Up to date technology    Musical instruments    Art supplies    Play equipment    Accessibility for disabled students    A School Nurse on duty    A   School Psychologist   for mental health needs      8. Are there high safety standards?   You’ll feel better about sending your kids to school each day if you’re confident in the school’s safety measures. Ask the school to explain their protocols in the areas of:   Drug, alcohol, and tobacco prevention    Violence, bullying, harassment    Weapons on campus    Police presence and school lockdown procedures    Drills and emergency plans    Notification of parents in event of an emergency       9. Do they support EQ?   In addition to academic standards, keep your standards high in the type of emotional support you want your child to receive. Does the school offer workshops on character building and emotional health? Are there clubs or programs offered to help your child make friends? How do they handle discipline and reinforce good behavior? Consider whether you agree with their approach in supporting healthy emotional growth.    Not sure what an emotionally healthy classroom looks like? Click here       10. Is it a logistical nightmare?     Sometimes your dream school isn’t in your district or your budget, and it’s important to evaluate whether the pros of attending the school outweigh the sacrifices you’ll have to make. Remember that long commutes and hefty tuitions can mean sacrificing family time and other enriching activities. While there’s nothing wrong with going out of your way for a great education, make sure to choose a school that isn’t too disruptive to your family life.    11. What’s my gut telling me?   The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to where your kid should go. You may walk into a school that everyone else raves about, but just get an uneasy vibe that tells you it’s not a fit for your kid. You know your child’s personality, strengths, and challenges better than anyone, and that knowledge will guide your instincts in helping you make the best choice.    12. Should I get a second opinion?   Choosing your child’s school is tough and weighing the pros and cons of each option can feel overwhelming. Asking other parents their opinions can be helpful, but if you’d also like professional support in evaluating your child’s options, a specialist in Educational Psychology can guide you in coming to a confident decision.   Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D.,  is an expert in child and educational psychology. If you are concerned about finding a school that meets your child’s needs, Dr. Shinn can provide diagnostic testing, make academic recommendations, and support you in advocating for your child’s needs on campus.      
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shinn 
       Dr. Elsa Torres, Psy.D.,  is an expert in diagnostic testing and counseling and is experienced in helping families make important life decisions such as school selection. If you are struggling to decide the best academic course for your children, Dr. Torres can support you in coming to the best decision that fits your family’s priorities.      
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Torres 
       Dr. Amy E. Weir, Psy.D.,  is an expert in infant and toddler development. Dr. Weir can help you understand your toddler’s educational needs and place them on a path toward healthy academic development.   Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Weir     
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Weir 
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   American Psychological Association (2019). Increasing Student Success Through Instruction in Self-Determination.  American Psychological Association . Retrieved from www.apa.org/research/action/success.aspx  American Psychological Association (2019). Transitions to School: What Helps Children Succeed?  American Psychological Association  Retrieved from   www.apa.org/advocacy/education/transition-to-school.aspx  Four Steps to Selecting a School for Your Child.  Reading Rockets , 7 Nov. 2013,   www.readingrockets.org/article/four-steps-selecting-school-your-child.  GreatSchools.org (2019). Facts (and fiction) about school test scores. Retrieved from https://www.greatschools.org/gk/videos/school-test-scores-video/  Kane, T.J., Owens, A.M., Marinell, W.H., Thal, D.R.C., Staiger, D.O. (2016). Teaching Higher: Educator’s Perspectives on Common Core Implementation.  Harvard University Center for Education Policy Research.  Retrieved from https://cepr.harvard.edu/files/cepr/files/teaching-higher-report.pdf  Mathews, Jay (2003). What to Look for in a Good School.  The Washington Post,  WP Company, Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/education/schoolguide/mathews.html  National Assessment of Educational Progress (2015). School Composition and the Black-White Achievement Gap.  U.S. Department of Education.  Retrieved from: https://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/subject/studies/pdf/school_composition_and_the_bw_achievement_gap_2015.pdf  Private School vs. Public School Breakdown (2016).  Niche . Retrieved from https://www.niche.com/blog/private-school-vs-public-school-breakdown/   Siegel-Hawley, G. (2012). How Non-Minority Students Also Benefit From Racially Diverse Schools. Research Brief.  The National Coalition on School Diversity.  Retrieved from https://www.school-diversity.org/pdf/DiversityResearchBriefNo8.pdf  Shinn. M.M. (2018). ADHD or Just Kids Being Kids?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/adhd-or-just-kids-being-kids   Shinn. M.M. (2018). I Can’t Spell Dyslexia – Do I Have It?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/i-cant-spell-dyslexia-do-i-have-it    Shinn. M.M. (2018). School’s Out – Should I Get My Kid Tested?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/schools-out-should-i-get-my-kid-tested    Shinn. M.M. (2018). 7 Strategies for Fostering a Growth Mindset in Your Child.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/7-strategies-for-fostering-a-growth-mindset-in-your-child    Shinn. M.M. (2018). 8 Tips to Create a Mentally Healthy Classroom.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/8-tips-to-create-a-mentally-healthy-classroom      How to Cite This Blog Article:    Shinn. M.M. (2019). Which School is Best for My Kid? 11 Tips for Smart School Selection.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/which-school-is-best-for-my-kid-12-tips-for-smart-school-selection

“Which School is Best for My Kid?” 12 Tips for Smart School Selection

Public schools, private schools, charters, oh my! With so many options, picking the best school for your kid can feel overwhelming. Check out this week’s blog for our top 10 tips on smart school selection.