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Angelo Angelo is offline
 
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Angelo
 
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Quit Playing Games
Old 03-23-2018, 08:56 AM
 
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No wonder some kids these days are bad for playing games with the rules and constantly looking for loopholes and exceptions -- they get it from their parents!

I'm an academic counselor in a prep school. There's a mandatory course, typically taken in the Junior year, that is needed to graduate (as a state requirement with which our diploma requirements are aligned). It's a course some students really would rather avoid, but as I say, it's a graduation requirement. Some students take the course online in the summer from a provider alleged to make it much easier. We don't encourage this course of action, but we can't really stop students who do it, because the provider is fully accredited to offer the course.

So a few years back, three students received a "credit substitution" (basically where the Head of School/Principal authorizes that a different course be "substituted" for a mandatory course) for the course in question. In one case, the substitution was a good call due to exceptional circumstances I can't go into too much detail about here. The other two cases were copy-cat cases that, in retrospect, were almost certainly scams run by the families involved, but which the school couldn't prove.

As the result of the scam cases, the school cracked down on credit substitutions and said, basically, we're no longer doing them, and this is communicated clearly to families when they register (i.e. if you need a highly specialized program with a lot of creative substitutions and course swaps, this isn't the school for you -- our program is our program).

Okay. So every year we get kids (and their families) who try to find new and creative (NOT!) ways to get around the rules. It gets so tedious telling family after family that, no, there is NO WAY to avoid taking this course. You must take it. It's a requirement. It is mandatory. This is not a suggestion. You WILL NOT GRADUATE from our school if you don't complete the course successfully.

So I'm dealing with a (now Senior) student who dropped the course in his Junior year. I was not his counselor at the time, but his (then) counselor warned him that he needed either to take the course with an accredited provider in the summer or else add it to his timetable for his Senior year. He apparently registered for the course online in the summer but dropped it after two days.

I called him in at the start of the Fall term and asked if he had completed the course and, if so, where was the transcript to indicate successful completion. He kept giving me evasive answers: "Yes, I registered for the course." I pressed him on the point... I'm interested in whether you REGISTERED for it, I need to know if you PASSED it. He tried to avoid giving me a straight answer. I got exasperated and said, "Listen, there's no point in being cagey about it. If you didn't pass it, you need to tell me now because you have to pass it to graduate." He said "Oh... okay..." and grudgingly accepted that I would need to add it to his timetable (I put it on for the final term).

His parents came in for a meeting and refused to sign off on the new timetable. They complained that adding the course to his timetable would mean the loss of an elective credit he was relying on to boost his GPA for his senior year. I said, "Well... there's not much I can do about that. He didn't complete the course successfully in the summer as he promised to do." That family kept asking "Is there anything else we can do about this?" Since I had already explained that he needed the course to graduate, it became clear they were hoping I'd back down and offer a "credit substitution" although they didn't come right out and say it directly. I cut them off at the pass: "Listen, just so you're aware, the school does not offer credit substitutions, so there really is no alternative to passing this course if he wants to graduate in the spring." Their faces fell, and it became clear that they were, in fact, banking on "credit substitution" being an option even though the school's policies have been communicated clearly and consistently.

So we added the course for the spring term. Then a month or so later, the parents logged in to the course selection platform and quietly changed the course back to the elective course he wanted in the first place. I promptly called them up and asked why they had requested to take the course off his timetable. They said, "He's planning to take it online on weekends instead." I said, "Okay, fine, but I need to see proof he is registered in the course, and he needs to pass it to graduate. If he completes it BEFORE the spring term, then he can take the elective course, but I need an official transcript indicating completion." The mom sounded annoyed for some reason but said she understood. I also warned the mom that the provider she proposed to use was well-known for cancelling courses if not enough students registered. And since most students who do the course online do it in the summer, there was a real possibility that the class would not run, and he would still need to complete it with us in the spring. Again, she didn't sound happy but said she understood and accepted what I was saying. Yeah, right.

The family never followed through on my request for proof of registration. Parents didn't respond to my e-mail requests for an update. The student ducked me for over a month (missed appointments I scheduled and sent me non-committal replies to my messages).

We are now working on timetable changes for the spring quarter, so I sent an e-mail message to the student and his parents saying, basically, "Since I have not received proof of registration or completion of the mandatory course, I am going ahead and adding it to your timetable." I got a rather prompt (and curt) response from Mom asking me to call her at work.

Mom: Thanks for getting back to me.
Me: Not a problem. I was concerned when you didn't respond to my earlier messages. You were supposed to send me a copy of the course registration.
Mom: Yeah, sorry about that. It's been a busy time.
Me: I understand. So am I correct in thinking that Student didn't complete the course online?
Mom: Yes, well, the problem is that the class was canceled to a lack of demand, at least that's what they told us.
Me: That's too bad. I did tell you that could happen.
Mom: Right. Well, we've discussed it as a family, and we feel very strongly that he NEEDS that elective credit in the spring...
*apparently waiting for a response from me... not sure what she's expecting me to say*
Mom: So... it looks as though we WILL need to proceed with a credit substitution. I'm told you can help us with the paperwork for that.
Me: I'm sorry, but I thought I made it really clear that we would not be doing a credit substitution. That school doesn't do that.
Mom: Yes, you did tell us that. However, my husband's sister is Superintendent in X School District, and we asked her, and she says there is no reason you can't do a credit substitution. She says it's perfectly legal and it's done all the time.
Me: That may be true in the District where she works. I don't know. However, our school doesn't do credit substitutions.
Mom: She says you're subject to the same state guidelines, so you have the authority to do credit substitutions.
Me: We don't do them.
Mom: Is that a state policy or a school policy?
Me: School policy.
Mom: Hmmmmmmm.
*long pause*
Mom: So if it's a school policy, you can waive it.
Me: There are no grounds here to waive it. There is no reason he can't take this course and complete it. He simply doesn't want to.
Mom: But senior year GPA may be important.
Me: It is important.
Mom: Well that right there is a good reason not to force this course on him that will lower his GPA.
Me: Listen, we could talk in circles for an hour about this, but the school is not going to back down here. He needs to take the course in the spring quarter if he wants to graduate. He's been given ample time and opportunity to take it before now and he's dragged his feet.
Mom: What if I told you I know about other students who have received credit substitutions? You're saying it's not done, but I believe it has been done.
Me: Recently? Absolutely not.
Mom: What about *name*?
Me: I can't go into details about another student's situation except to say that you're talking about cases from 2012 and earlier. We have not done credit substitutions for over four years. We communicate this very clearly.
Mom: But it HAS been done. So you're just laying down arbitrary guidelines. You're saying a current student is punished for graduating in 2018 rather in 2012?
Me: It's not a punishment. It's a mandatory course. Everybody takes it.
Mom: *Name* didn't have to take it.
Me: I'm not getting into cases from years ago. The rules are the rules, and they have not changed since your son first registered in his Freshman year.

A related pet peeve of mine is when outside people who don't necessarily know all the rules and procedures "counsel" families (i.e. in this case sister-in-law the Superintendent and whoever helpfully provided them with the information about *name* who graduated in 2012).

Ever feel like you are speaking a foreign language? If the kid had redirected the time and energy spent trying to re-litigate this issue over and over and trying to find a loophole, he probably could have completed the course easily.


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I am sorry that you have to deal
Old 03-23-2018, 09:39 AM
 
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with these ignorant, entitled parents and students day after day. You must feel as if you have two jobs: your real job counseling students academically and your other job, mollifying indignant idiots who are raising tomorrow's entitled class of jerks.
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Old 03-23-2018, 09:45 AM
 
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WOW. I don't know how you stayed so patient. You deserve an award for that one.
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Question for Parents
Old 03-23-2018, 11:54 AM
 
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Is your child planning to graduate this year?

Then he better take this class or he will not be graduating. He will be spending another year at this school. It will give him time to raise his GPA!!
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Sorry to hear
Old 03-23-2018, 12:58 PM
 
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What a royal waste of time dealing with people like this. I wonder what his parents' next steps are. Sometimes they skip you and march into your boss's office. I hope yours is supportive and on your side.


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Blah....
Old 03-23-2018, 01:16 PM
 
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Mom and spawn needs to take several seats.

Here everyone wants to dodge the required Health and PE requirement. Most people get a vague doctor note for something like "asthma" to get out of the two PE classes.

There is no dodging health.
Everyone hates it because it burns up an elective spot.

So from the biggest wake and bake to the soon be Westinghouse Science winner has to suffer through it.

So yeah mom...I get it. But unlike your sniveling behind my kid will take Health this summer to dodge said above nightmare.

There's not enough Thorazine to deal with those parental drones.
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Ugh
Old 03-23-2018, 02:12 PM
 
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Entitled parents and their entitled kids....blech!
You deserve extra pay for every minute you have to spend dealing with such idiots.
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Old 03-23-2018, 03:40 PM
 
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What was the actual end result of the conversation?
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Old 03-23-2018, 04:39 PM
 
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Some people! She sounds like three year old who asks over and over for cookies right before dinner. Clearly if you don't like the answer, just ask again. Maybe the answer will be different this time.

I hope you have kept documentation of all these conversations, emails, contacts, etc. It sounds as if you might need them when entitle kid fails to graduate.
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Old 03-23-2018, 06:17 PM
 
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As a parent of a HS student, I would like to apologize for all idiot parents!

I am sorry you have to deal with crazy parents but I do always enjoy your posts.

This is one reason why I love teaching K. Usually the parents are excited about their kid in school, as opposed to that "we can't wait to get out of here" attitude that they get in later years.

Until your next crazy parent post...


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As I read your post,
Old 03-24-2018, 10:43 AM
 
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all I could think was: I hope your admin does not back down from their policy. Our admin sets policies like that and teachers/ counselors have to be the 1's who say no.
Then the parents make so much noise that the admin swoops in like Superman and fixes it for the parents. ( Making us look like the bad guy.)
I do not stress on crap like that anymore. Now I tell the parents the policy and that I am not the 1 who made it or the 1 who can change it.. That is when they make their way up the food chain.

Those parents are ridiculous too! What are they teaching their kid? Some people have lost all common sense if they ever had any to begin with....You have patience to have kept cool through all of that! I almost hope the kid does not graduate. It could make the kid and parents think about the way they are doing things and how to do them better!
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Old 03-24-2018, 11:47 AM
 
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Id be so tempted to tell them to transfer to sister-in-laws district and make their case for credit substitution there
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Hey psycho mom
Old 03-24-2018, 12:18 PM
 
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If you're so worried that the class will lower his gpa then you should help him study and provide the needed supports for him to be successful in this class as all families in our wondefull learning community do. Then he will do well in the class that he is assigned. Perhaps he needs an outside tutor in the subject, I can recommend some.

Since educating and developing well rounded scholars who are prepared for academic success despite pressures in their collegiate years is our goal I think that the plan to have him take the required class and have you be there to support his learning at home is best aligned with that goal. I will make sure that he is given the support that he needs for success at school and with us working as a team little special snowflake will surely be very successful. I know that colleges expect to see this class on transcripts coming from our school and I would hate to have snowflake look less competitive when schools are making cuts. Colleges do look at core course and in some instances weigh them more heavily than elective in some cases. Perhaps you can also encourage him to add some more volunteering to his list of skills and accomplishments. I know many schools also look at these things when they have several candidates who appear equal in academics. I am sure we can have him take the required course and still look like a very accomplished applicant. Have a great day.
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Old 03-24-2018, 09:22 PM
 
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I don't get it. He's a senior, right? It's March. Hasn't this kid already been accepted to college at this point? It's a bit late to be concerned about GPA, isn't it?

Kids normally apply to college in the fall of their senior year, and the transcripts that are involved in the application typically only reflect through their junior year. Senior year, all they need to do is pass the classes, but GPA no longer matters.

Also, your state has required courses that are only a quarter long?
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Old 03-25-2018, 06:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teenytiny
I don't get it. He's a senior, right? It's March. Hasn't this kid already been accepted to college at this point? It's a bit late to be concerned about GPA, isn't it?
One would think, and this is a point I made. Part of the issue is with grad awards, but I don't want to go into too many particulars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by teenytiny
Kids normally apply to college in the fall of their senior year, and the transcripts that are involved in the application typically only reflect through their junior year. Senior year, all they need to do is pass the classes, but GPA no longer matters.
Not entirely accurate in all cases. Yes, students typically apply in the fall (Nov. 1 for early action, Jan 1 for regular admission). Several updates are submitted by counselors throughout the year, including an "optional report" which can affect admission, especially in borderline cases.

Quote:
Originally Posted by teenytiny
Also, your state has required courses that are only a quarter long?
Again, I don't want to go into too many identifying features of our timetable, but yes, we have courses that are aligned with state requirements and which can be timetabled as quarter, half, or full-year. The quarter course would be scheduled as two periods back-to-back to ensure the right number of credit hours. Mainly this is possible because the course is a Junior course rather than a Senior course.
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Old 03-26-2018, 11:53 AM
 
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I guess this parent will be trying to excuse her son from taking a few required courses clearly listed in his college degree plan.
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