WUESD addresses issues of retention
May 23, 2019 | View PDF
The Wasco Union Elementary School District has formulated a new written policy regarding promotion, acceleration and retention of students, and it takes into consideration both academics and the social issues involved.
“In the upper grades, retention can cause psychological and social problems for the retained older student,” Superintendent Kelly Richers said. “Experience from the past indicates some students, who are doing well in their classes and are held back at the parents’ request, often don’t keep their grades up.”
Richers added that the student often questions himself or herself on “What did I do wrong?” or “What is wrong with me?”
Richers also stated that losing a grade also means losing a peer group, which is in many cases, a support system.
According to the new district guidelines on promotion/acceleration/retention, the Board of Trustees expects students to progress through each grade level within one school year; however, if a student is experiencing difficulty, there are now written policies regarding retention of a student that must be followed.
Teachers and parents must be in communication during the first quarter of the school year (September to the middle of October) and retention must be brought up during the conference week.
At this time, both the parent and teacher must sign an “At Risk of Retention” form during the conference. In addition, the teacher should notify the school site administrator by providing a copy of the signed agreement.
The form must list the reasons why the student is being considered for retention, what interventions have occurred, impacts if special education is involved and a review date between Jan. 31 and Feb. 28 must occur.
A final decision whether to retain or not shall be made by April 30 and should be based on the reasons listed on the “At Risk of Retention” form.
Under the district rules, no student is to be considered for retention unless the above procedures have been followed.
“Students between grades K and 1, 3 and 4, and 5 and 6 may be retained,” Richers added. Eighth graders will not be retained.
In addition, the student is to be retained in the current grade level unless the student’s teacher determines, in writing, that retention is not appropriate for the student and should include recommendations for interventions other than retention that, in the teacher’s opinion, are necessary to help the student in reaching acceptable levels of academic achievement.
Richers described a story he heard from a parent who had a negative experience after a parent retained her daughter in the sixth grade. The student had just changed schools and was socially and academically doing well at her old school.
However, when she moved, her new teacher recommended she be retained because she was immature. The parents agreed and held the student back.
The parents made this decision because the student’s preschool had recommended retaining her another year in preschool. They decided not to retain her because she was the tallest girl in the class – taller than all the boys.
Years later, the parents realized the mistake they made. The student struggled socially and academically throughout the rest of her academic career and wasn’t sure she was even going to graduate from high school, which she did.
The policy states that students shall progress through the grade levels by demonstrating growth in learning and meeting grade-level standards of expected student achievement.
When a student has high academic achievement, the teacher may recommend a student for acceleration to a higher level as early as possible in the school year and as early in their school careers as practical.