Sunday, June 21, 2009

Piper is on her way to 2nd grade!

It's official, Piper will be a second grader next year and we are super proud of her. I am warning you now that this post will be full of praise from a gushing mother and I will not hold back.

When Piper started the first grade she was coming off of a kindergarten year that had been full of fun, but also issues. She asserted her independence all year and struggled to realize that at school she was not the boss and had to listen and follow rules. She has always been an incredibly intelligent child, but she has also always been incredibly stubborn. We spent the summer having fun and trying to prepare for 1st grade. I attempted to work with her on her reading and usually left the room with tears of frustration. I knew she could do it, she just wouldn't do it!

As 1st grade started I was anxious to see how the year would begin and how Piper would behave. School seemed to be going well until about the 5th or 6th week when the dreaded spelling tests entered the picture. It took a couple of Friday mornings for me to figure out what was going on. Every Thursday night we would do a practice test and most nights she did great and had no problems with her words, but it seemed every Friday morning she would wake up sick to her stomach and a few times she even threw up. With no other symptoms I would send her to school and tell her to call me if she felt worse. Eventually I realized that Piper was having test anxiety and spoke with her teacher about ways to help. She was wonderful and agreed to give Piper plenty of time and make sure she didn't feel rushed during the test. After that Friday mornings were much smoother and her test scores went up.

As the year went on we were very proud of how well Piper was doing and when her first report card came out we cried and cheered when we saw her high marks and best of all not a single mark on the behavior side of her report card. WOOHOO!! The next nine weeks brought an even more exciting report card since it was accompanied by the citizenship award! This is awarded to one student in each class each nine weeks and we were very, very proud of Piper for getting this award.

She was excelling a rate that we had once thought impossible and we loved it! By the second month of school she was reading the bedtime story each night and by Christmas she was ready for chapter books. She was also a science and math whiz kid and loved each new phase of math that was introduced in class. She did her homework with little prodding and continued to do well on her spelling tests.

In the final nine weeks of school the kids in her grade took a standardized test that lasted a whole week. Each day they would spend a portion of the day taking the test. We started talking about this big test a couple months in advance to help her prepare and ease any anxiety that she may feel. Her teacher also talked with her and reassured her that everything would be fine and the most important thing was to try her hardest. When testing started I was anxious each day when she got home to hear how it went. She handled the week really well and never had a single moment of anxiety at home or at school.

On the last day of school I came in with all the fixings to make root beer floats for the class. I really enjoyed volunteering in the class and working with her teacher and was sad to see the year end, but excited for what was ahead for our sweetpea. During the party Mrs. Henderson pulled me aside and told me how proud she was of Piper and how well she had done that year. She also revealed that Piper did very well on her standardized test and in fact had the highest score for her class. I was shocked! We hoped she would do well, but with the testing issues she had that year we were not anticipating huge marks. Piper scored above average in nearly every section and in several section missed only one question, if that. WOOHOO!!! As if that wasn't enough, she also received the citizenship award for the second time that year. DOUBLE WOOHOO!!!

Mrs. Henderson told us to continue to work with Piper and encourage her in her schoolwork and that if she had a second grade year like her first grade year that we should look into the gifted program for her. Looking back on how we started the year I never expected to end it like this. I have always believed in Piper and known that she was capable of doing this well, but it took some time for her to realize it as well. We are incredibly proud of her and her accomplishments this year, but more than that we are proud that she never stopped trying and improving as the year went on regardless of anything else that was happening at the time (side note- Piper was bullied to extreme levels this year by a classmate).

This year has not only brought academic advances but huge growth in her behavior at home as well. She has matured so much and the seemingly never ending struggles we had just a short year ago are, for the most part, a thing of the past. We love our little girl so much and can't wait to see what is in store for her and us!

First Day of School

Christmas Party

Last Day of School


Heather said...

I loved this post!!! I'm so happy to hear how Piper has progressed and how well she is doing! I'm so anxious since Leah will be starting kindergarten. I'm not thrilled about giving up control for so many hours to another person! I hope Leah has a good experience! Great job Piper!!

Katie Perez said...

Good job, Piper!! How wonderful! what a great year. Can't get much better than that! Great job Mommy and Daddy too :)

Rachel said...

What a great story, Sarah! Piper's lucky to have mom who is also an advocate for her success. I hope I can be the same for my kids.