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Single mother struggles to stay on top of issues at kids’ schools: A Greater Cleveland

September 27, 2018

Single mother struggles to stay on top of issues at kids’ schools: A Greater Cleveland

GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio – Annette Miller is now working as an Uber driver to make ends meet, having quit one of three part-time jobs to devote more time to her son and her late-brother’s son and daughter.

Time is a precious commodity for a single mother supporting a blended family. And Annette is using much of her free time of late dealing with the challenges the children face at the start of a new school year.

Her 5-year-old niece, Sally, is in kindergarten and struggling to retain information. The little girl successfully reads and spells a word, but minutes later is unable to recognize the same word.

Sally is growing frustrated and is causing problems at home and at school. She cries and lashes out. Annette helps her niece study each night, and worries that similar problems will crop up when Sally tackles math.

Annette has asked that school officials conduct tests to figure out how to address Sally’s problems before she falls too far behind.

Annette faces a different challenge with her son, Theodore, a fourth grader, and her nephew, Jonathan, a seventh grader.

The boys complain that school is “too easy” for them, that they are bored because that already know most of what is being taught in their classrooms. But they deal with the boredom differently.

Theodore, 9, rushes to complete assigned class projects or homework. But Jonathan, 11, won’t complete what he calls “stupid” assignments. He counts on scoring well on tests to make up for any points lost for uncompleted homework.

Annette says teachers view Jonathan’s laid-back attitude as “just not caring,” and that is troubling.

“I have been proactive and already visited all of their teachers and told them I want to be part of the solution, should there be a problem,” she says. “And I am keeping a close eye on things. I can only pray that me being more involved will work.”

A Greater Cleveland , a project of cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer, is a call to action to the community to help remove the barriers to success faced by children in poverty. Because of the sensitive family matters discussed in this series, we have provided the people we write about anonymity and are using pseudonyms to identify them.

A Greater Cleveland is a project of cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer. Because of the sensitive family matters discussed in this series, we have provided the people we write about anonymity and are using pseudonyms to identify them. See the entirety of our project by clicking here.

A Greater Cleveland is a call to action to the community to help remove the barriers to success faced by Cleveland children in poverty. We ask that you consider giving an hour a week to lift someone from the multigenerational poverty that our series examines. This would involve participating in a program called Open Table.

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