April 2012 Issue
March 19, 2012

Letters: Aid comes in a bundle of books

Source: NYSUT United

Aid comes in a bundle of books

Editor's note: The following letter was delivered to NYSUT, along with a box of books. After assessing need, the books were donated to Middleburgh schools:

After sharing the article "Flood relief helps, but more is needed" (NYSUT United, January 2012 issue) with my fifth-graders, they were worried that a classroom's library was destroyed. They wondered if students had books to choose from during reading time or if their teachers were able to share mentor texts with them during writing workshop time.

During our Scholastic Book Fair, money was pooled and my class selected texts they thought a classroom would appreciate. Please accept these books as a gift from my class. There is a variety of reading levels and genres, as my students were hoping to incite the interests of many with their selections.

Kim-Marie Cortez-Riggio | Glenwood Landing Elementary School, Glen Head

Many students just too young

It was like a breath of fresh air to have read the letter by Elena Quinn of Port Jervis, asking why the cutoff age for entrance into kindergarten couldn't be changed as children who are not yet 5 truly are not ready for the rigors of what kindergarten has now become.

I wonder this every day as I teach my class of 24 second-graders. An experienced educator would only need to be in my room for 15 minutes to pick out those children who are younger than their peers and who are struggling either academically, socially, emotionally or are just plain physically smaller and lacking in stamina. With the new Common Core Standards in place, kindergarten has now become the new first grade.

Year after year, I greet my new class in September and wonder how I can possibly get these children, who are developmentally unready for second grade, to succeed without obliterating their self-esteem. I am also in conflict with my administration as they do not support retention. So what is a teacher to do?

We try to work with the parents, explaining the value of the "gift of time," but parents only see their own child and not how their child compares with their classmates in these developmental areas. We are truly doing children a disservice if our local school districts do not take steps to change this cutoff date so younger children can have a chance at school success and, just as importantly, a positive, happy school experience.

Lynn Maloney | Pawling