We are celebrating- whooping, throwing up our hands and dancing a sassy dance! Ray PASSED his CRCT!
This news is not unexpected in terms of his knowledge of 2nd grade material. Ray is smart as a whip. But Ray’s anxiety has been an issue all Spring. Because we moved to GA in August and he had been in a Montessori school, he started off the school year unaware of the seriousness of THE test that would be coming at the end of the year. THE state test. THE test upon which passing to the next grade is dependent upon (never mind how hard he works or demonstrates that he can master content during the year- THE test is the only marker that is used… but that’s a whole ‘nother rant). When February came, he figured it out quick. The school had pep rallies. The school had CRCT practice sessions. The school had “Fun in the Sun” games for children passing their benchmark tests. And on the last benchmark, which Fun in the Sun was based, he failed. He failed because his anxiety shut him down. He failed because the pressure was too much. He failed, not because he didn’t know the material, but because he knew that his whole 2nd grade experience boiled down to one day. We worked with his teachers to come up with an Improvement Plan. He took more practice tests. We paid money to him for his practice efforts. His teachers, particularly Mrs. Lane, soothed him and encouraged him. We quietly researched other schooling options and prepared to go broke paying for private school. And we kept telling him that he could do it, that we all had faith in him. What he needed, though, was faith in himself.
And today, when he brought home his PASSING scores in Writing and Math and EXCEEDING scores in Reading, we’re celebrating! We’re ordering pizza from Dominos and letting him watch television. High times, indeed, in our household!
And we will be sure to praise, not the score, but his mastering of his anxiety. The actual score is fine, but the fact that he could rise above his anxiety well enough to show most of what he knew is worthy of celebration. That he could keep the baying of the hounds of his fears in their place. That he could rise above the failure. These are worthy of celebration. And next year, when 3rd grade is on the line for next year’s CRCT test, we will remind him that he did it once- he can do it again. He NEEDED this success. He needed to know he could do it. He needed to know that what he was doing worked. He needed to know that we all- the teachers, his family- believed that he could do it- and that he can too. We all needed this.
And not to be forgotten, Elizabeth EXCEEDED on all of her tests. We will celebrate her achievement as well- and note her hard work and persistence, but her passing 3rd grade was never in doubt. There is, perhaps, oddly enough, a bit of a blessing of the remnants of her autism. She is fairly oblivious to the pressures and anxieties of testing. Her anxieties come about from social issues and language issues, but school is a puzzle that she feels confident of mastering.
So, tonight, we will eat cheese pizza and watch Disney Channel and enjoy the feeling of relief. 3rd grade starts soon enough….
Update: We actually ended up all piled on the couch watching “Extreme Home Makeover”. And when I fussed over Ray’s conquering of his fears, he completely ignored me, interrupted me, and wanted to talk about his friend Bailey’s misadventures. I thought that I was talking to myself and felt slightly foolish jumping up and down while he looked at me. Funny what they really hear, though. Later, he referenced it- “I guess the 3rd grade CRCT will be ok?” Yes, Ray, it will be ok.