Children being held back in school.....stigma or no?
Post ReplyPost New TopicPosted 1/31/2013 by ScrappinFan in NSBR Board
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tidegirl
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Posted: 1/31/2013 6:36:17 PM
I know that when I was teaching resource retention was not something that was permitted to be discussed and parents were strongly encouraged to not do it. The studies like you referenced to were the reason.

I taught in a low income, highly transient area with a large population of non-native english speakers. I can see where retention could be an issue.

I would think that children who are close to the age cut off in classrooms filled with kids 7 to 13 months older could get left behind due to maturity. They may or may not catch up in the primary years. Why keep them at a disadvantage due to a straight no retention policy?

I have witnessed several students in my children's classes (at a 1 class per grade school) who were retained and went on to be highly successful in school both academically and socially. Sometimes on a rare occasion someone might mention "oh yea so and so started in xx's class". Not a big factore imo.

I like that it is hard to retain a child. I think in the wrong circumstances it could be abused or be a disservice to a child. For some kids retention is the right answer putting them on track for a successful educational experience.

I will also agree that as a parent you are the best/only true advocate for your child. You should ask questions, you should meet often, and the best option/solutions should be sought out for your child. Good luck.

reneelcla
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Posted: 1/31/2013 6:51:29 PM
"so kelly...how do you deal with kids that weren't ready to start school when their parents enrolled them?

when the issue is maturity and not intelligence "

Sorry don't know how to quote on iPhone. But my dd had problems in 1st grade & it was due to lack of maturity.

I worked with her at home giving her small chores, keeping a calendar, letting her make some choices on her own, etc.

Before that, I did everything for her. She felt more grown up & started to do better in school.

She is now 15 yr old 10th grader who takes all advanced & AP classes who excels in band & sports.

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simplekelly
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Posted: 1/31/2013 9:15:22 PM


best,


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simplekelly
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Posted: 1/31/2013 9:52:27 PM
Amazingly the research has been collected over the past 100 years. Amazing it all comes to the same conclusions and summaries. Yet there are schools with mandatory retention.

Have fun reading!


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twinsmom-fla99
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Posted: 1/31/2013 10:47:19 PM
Thanks for the links Kelly! That will keep me busy for a while.
FWIW I'm not a proponent of mandatory retention. I've never worked in a school system with that kind of policy.

There were almost 900 kids in my last school. I think we had a grand total of 3 retentions last year, all at the K or 1st grade level. Retention was extremely difficult to do and was nearly impossible without parental consent. The process required a great deal of documentation re why the teacher thought the child would benefit from repeating a grade and multiple meetings with parents, teacher, principal, and guidance counselor. I am only aware of one child beyond 2nd grade being retained in the 5 years I worked there. IIRC he was retained for excessive absences.

I agree that retention should never be mandatory, but I do think it can be an option under theright circumstances.

If a parent has any doubts at all about a child's ability to be successful in K, I would encourage them to wait a year to start rather than take the "try it and if it doesn't work just repeat K " approach. That is exactly why I chose to start my twins late and give them another year of preschool.

ETA: The 3 retentions I mentioned were the only"school initiated" ones that I knew of last year. There may have been other parent retentions that would not have been included in that figure. We did have some parents who would request that a child repeat a grade, and sometimes we got "transfers" where the parent didn't want the child to repeat in the same school.

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Posted: 1/31/2013 11:59:52 PM
WOW, Kelly, thanks so much for those links!

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Posted: 2/1/2013 1:22:55 AM
My DD was struggling in 2nd and 3rd grade, after many long talks with her teacher, my mother and sister (both of them teachers) and my husband we made the decision to hold her back. During the year we had brought in as many interventions to help her with her work and nothing was working. It was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made but it was the best one for my DD. She blossomed the nexted year and on to graduation.

We kept DD in the loop as we were talking about keeping her back and explained that she wasn't failing, that we felt that she needed more review of the materials. Involving her in the decison helped make it a very positive experience. She never felt a lack of self confidence from being held back a year.

Betty

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Posted: 2/1/2013 3:40:08 AM
Don't hold a child back unless you have too.

I second the assessment and extra tuition.


simplekelly
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Posted: 2/1/2013 9:58:55 AM

Thanks for the links Kelly! That will keep me busy for a while.
y'all are welcome! Also, in some of the articles listed there are further links to go even deeper into other articles...so yes...you could be busy for a while.


best,


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Darcy_Collins
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Posted: 2/1/2013 10:02:45 AM

If a parent has any doubts at all about a child's ability to be successful in K, I would encourage them to wait a year to start rather than take the "try it and if it doesn't work just repeat K " approach.


Actually the studies of long term outcomes doesn't support redshirting either. One study looking specifically at academic achievement, drop out rates, etc is:
Long term outcomes on delayed K

I know, know - you're Susie or Johnny started K at 6 and is now at Harvard. I am speaking of studies that follow a broad group of children and evaluate their outcomes as a tool to guide policy - not as an anecdote that your child is now going to never graduate from high school.

The highest risk group is actually those least prepared for K - those coming from poor, uneducated parents where that extra year at home will do little to help them prepare for school and their familial circumstances already put them at higher risk for negative long term consequences.

I'll copy a blurb from the study that specifically addresses the above point about redshirting or repeating K"



The only difference is that the first group attended kindergarten twice, while the second group delayed kindergarten during the first year. We found that students who started kindergarten at age 5 and then repeated kindergarten at age 6, did as well or better than students who delayed kindergarten until age 6. The students who repeated kindergarten were less likely to be arrested and more likely to attend college. Rates of behavioral problems and out-of-wedlock births were similar for both groups.



I think it's particularly important for elementary educators to be familiar with the long term impact of retention and delaying K as they are the ones that typically are advising parents and they see the short term benefits (which are unmistakable), and don't necessarily see any academic benefit disappear by middle school and the significant increased risk of behavioral impacts in high school.

It looks like the link to a pdf doesn't work - you should be able to search on the title of the study: "Does the age that children start Kindergarten matter?" it's on the utexas site.

simplekelly
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Posted: 2/1/2013 10:05:09 AM

I think it's particularly important for elementary educators to be familiar with the long term impact of retention and delaying K as they are the ones that typically are advising parents and they see the short term benefits (which are unmistakable), and don't necessarily see any academic benefit disappear by middle school and the significant increased risk of behavioral impacts in high school.


best,


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Posted: 2/1/2013 10:30:03 AM

I would see how the third and fourth quarter go, with tutoring and opt for summer school before I made the decision about retention.


This, plus work with him more at home. Find out specifically what he is struggling with at school.

My middle dd had a tough time during 3rd grade. She wasn't failing subjects, but she was struggling. I started working with her even more at home and her homework became less of a struggle.

As far as the study on retention goes? I don't know. I was held back in 4th grade and managed to graduate and attend college. I will say that because I was held back it's not something I would willingly choose for my dd's. I would want to discuss all other alternatives. I wish my parents would have spoke up for me and discussed alternatives. I'm still bitter about the whole situation at the age of 37. I just don't think it was warranted. If I were a teacher I would be doing everything to help that child not fail.


Jen


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Posted: 2/1/2013 10:31:48 AM
This has been a really interesting thread.

This is of particular interest to me because we to make a decision about sending our daughter to Kindergarten (she turned five mid November, which meets the cut off date for NY, but it seemed so young considering there are kids a full year older than her):


I'll copy a blurb from the study that specifically addresses the above point about redshirting or repeating K"


The only difference is that the first group attended kindergarten twice, while the second group delayed kindergarten during the first year. We found that students who started kindergarten at age 5 and then repeated kindergarten at age 6, did as well or better than students who delayed kindergarten until age 6. The students who repeated kindergarten were less likely to be arrested and more likely to attend college. Rates of behavioral problems and out-of-wedlock births were similar for both groups.


I think it's particularly important for elementary educators to be familiar with the long term impact of retention and delaying K as they are the ones that typically are advising parents and they see the short term benefits (which are unmistakable), and don't necessarily see any academic benefit disappear by middle school and the significant increased risk of behavioral impacts in high school.

It looks like the link to a pdf doesn't work - you should be able to search on the title of the study: "Does the age that children start Kindergarten matter?" it's on the utexas site.


Does anybody understand why retention/redshirting shows a long term impact? Or is it something you touched on regarding the home life/backgrounds of the kids (if these kids had started on time would they still be showing these same behaviors long term?).

And this is definitely a topic on which I rarely hear anybody say anything that aligns with the research (although it's probably self selecting - people aren't going to necessarily speak up if they felt the decision to redshirt/retain negatively impacted their kid in the long run).




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Posted: 2/1/2013 10:35:41 AM
Here's my issue with not retaining kids - as a professional familiar with the literature.

Then we get "9th graders" with 4th and 5th grade skill sets. They were never adequately coached beyond that because they were so far behind their peers. And if I can't get them to pass the PAARC and graduate - in ONLY FOUR YEARS - then our school is failing and I lose my tenure?

You can't just pass kids through and let all the carp hit the fan when they are in high school.


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Posted: 2/1/2013 10:47:09 AM
and the flip side of that argument is to the teachers of earlier grades...'why can't you get through these kids and get them to learn? why are you retaining so many kids?'

it's a sticky situation.

our administration was so reluctant to let my kid repeat first grade, at my asking. i had to go to the school board to get anything done. glad i did, though.

Darcy_Collins
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Posted: 2/1/2013 10:53:01 AM
I too specifically looked into this as I had a son with an fall birthday. He makes our state cutoff by 5 days. In the particular preschool he attended, there was a STRONG push to hold back any and all fall birthday boys. I was a little surprised when it was first mentioned to me as I had never really considered holding him back. He had no maturity or academic issues.

But, if you looked at his incoming kindergarten class where the next youngest child was 4 months older and there were 5 children a full 12 months older than him there's no question that he would be "less mature" than the kid next to him who was 14 months older. My husband and I thought long and hard about it and did a fair amount of research. I could find NOTHING to support the LONG TERM advantage of delaying kindergarten. I'm completely leaving out any sports consideration, as with our geeky genes we don't hold out much hope of college scholarships.

In looking at the research, as much as people talk about the social stigma of being young in the grade - it's really being old that seems to impact them. If you know that you are the oldest one in the class and you struggle at all, there is a risk that they internalize that into a reflection of the academic abilities. There's also the reality that if you have a struggling student, you as a parent have less control when they hit the magic ages where they can legally drop out.

Anecdotes are dangerous from a public policy perspective, because for any story you hear of success can be matched with a story of failure.


We did end up sending our son, and we don't have any regrets. I think in reality, he's a kid who would do fine regardless (like the vast majority of children with involved, educated parents). Again - that's the danger of anecdotes. In one of the studies, 1 in 5 of the girls who were redshirted dropped out - that is statically significant - but doesn't change the reality that 4 out of 5 did not.




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Posted: 2/1/2013 11:03:16 AM
    We kept DD in the loop as we were talking about keeping her back and explained that she wasn't failing, that we felt that she needed more review of the materials. Involving her in the decison helped make it a very positive experience. She never felt a lack of self confidence from being held back a year.


I think this is a key element that has not been addressed in all the retention studies I reviewed when we were facing the decision - coaching and parental perspective on the situation AND keeping the child in the loop on what was happening and why.

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Posted: 2/1/2013 11:10:45 AM

Here's my issue with not retaining kids - as a professional familiar with the literature.

Then we get "9th graders" with 4th and 5th grade skill sets. They were never adequately coached beyond that because they were so far behind their peers. And if I can't get them to pass the PAARC and graduate - in ONLY FOUR YEARS - then our school is failing and I lose my tenure?

You can't just pass kids through and let all the carp hit the fan when they are in high school.


Let's leave aside the need to not have teachers risk tenure for working with at risk kids - because that's just insane. I absolutely agree that you can't wait until high school and let the crap hit the fan. But if you have a kid who has skills that far behind - how was one year of retention going to help him? So now you have a kid in high school who is 3-4 years behind and he turns 18 in his junior year - I don't have a study in front of me, but I'd hazard to guess that this student has a seriously high risk of dropping out and having serious behavioral issues.


tidegirl
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Posted: 2/1/2013 12:42:07 PM
Getting back to the initial question of: Will holding MY child back cause him to have a stigma?

I think it will depend on YOUR child and how you set him up to succeed no matter what your decision. I think you are wise to be thinking about it now and hopefully the responses given will give you information on how to advocate for your child. There will always be positive and negative outcomes shared in these types of situations.

I always say that making decisions about kids and schooling has got to be some of the hardest ones we make as a parent. It is never easy and there is no one way of doing it. Good luck.

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Posted: 2/1/2013 2:01:56 PM
Darcy, I hear ya.

If they could just let you and me run the schools....


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Posted: 2/1/2013 2:08:13 PM
I have taught for 21 years, mainly kindergarten and first grade. I am NOT a supporter for retention. Often if the child is retained, the next year they appear to benefit. But, as they go to other grades they tend to lag again. This has been a big debate in our school the last 5-7 years. Research supports sending them on and giving lots of support, in and out of school.


Lisa


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Posted: 2/1/2013 3:01:23 PM
    Research supports sending them on and giving lots of support, in and out of school.


But with the current state of public education, the "giving lots of support" during school hours does not happen at the level needed. Hence, we are back at square one.

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Posted: 2/1/2013 3:09:51 PM
Give your child the gift of time. I taught K thru grade two for 29 years...the dirty little secret is that teachers never start their summer birthday sons on time. Or they put them in kindergarten at a different school then another year in kindergarten at the school they'll be going to for years.
It is dreadful being the youngest boy.
I've taught all over the world. Parents who have advanced degrees are the most likely to let their son have an extra year to mature...they know the difference it makes on taking high stakes national tests if you are 17 vs 18...it could be the difference of whether you get into the Ivy League universities.

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Posted: 2/1/2013 3:53:21 PM
Trying to wrap my brain about what to say.....

My dh and I made the decision to retain DD in 2nd grade. She was ready to start school in Pre-K, did well in K and 1st, and then started to struggle in 2nd grade. Her grades and test scores were fine, she was reading on grade level and there were no on-paper indicators that suggested the need for retention, but emotionally it was a different story. Although she loved her (great) teacher, she really started to struggle with confidence. Dramatic "tummy aches", "I can't do it!" and so on and so forth. DH and I separately came to the conclusion that although she was doing ok, she was not ready to move on to 3rd.

We had many discussions with her teacher (who agreed, but did not initiate the process), other teachers, and the principal. DD was aware that we were trying to make a decision. In the end we decided to give her the gift of another year of maturity. She repeated 2nd grade with another (great) teacher so she could have a slightly different experience. She is now in 5th grade and in the right place and we would absolutely do it again. Obviously, repeating an earlier year or placing her in the then available Developmental First Grade class after K would have been preferred, but her issues did not surface until 2nd grade.

On a different note, I am a teacher. I have taught Developmental First (sort of a bonus grade between K and 1st), First Grade, and currently teach Pre-K (public school). I have been on the teacher side of retention from many different angles. I know the research. But I also know my experience with many real students that I know (and have watched grow up and graduate from college) doesn't agree with the main conclusion. Sometimes kids just need a year. Retention is not the best path for everyone, but it is the best path for some.

Dh wishes that he had been retained at some point. He felt behind throughout his school career, and did not feel as if he was equal to his peers until grad school. He did not wish for dd to have the same experience.

To answer the OPs question:
Do what is right for your child. Your child's attitude about placement will be shaped by yours. I'm glad I'm in a district where the community does not place a stigma on what many refer to as a grade correction.

On a random note, our state has passed a law that mandates all third graders that are not on grade level (determined by test scores) will repeat. Crazy law, lawmakers don't really have any idea all of the variables to evaluate when considering retention. Nonetheless, the law will go into effect next year. Should be interesting to see how it pans out.



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Posted: 2/1/2013 8:58:54 PM
There were many kids held back while DD and DS were in elementary school.
The kids that had been held back were free with the info and nobody bothered them.
I know this is true because I worked on the playground and at the lunch tables with them. I heard everything

Even now that DS is in high school the kids aren't ashamed yo say they've been held back. I guess it's just not that big of a deal like it was when I was a kid


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Posted: 2/1/2013 9:22:25 PM

On a random note, our state has passed a law that mandates all third graders that are not on grade level (determined by test scores) will repeat. Crazy law, lawmakers don't really have any idea all of the variables to evaluate when considering retention. Nonetheless, the law will go into effect next year. Should be interesting to see how it pans out.


If Texas' experience is any indication, it WON'T pan out. Here, they put they in place for 3rd and 5th, then reduced it just to one of those, and now I don't think it's in place at all. Even when it was at it's most stringent, the data showed that most kids were moving on anyway.


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Posted: 2/2/2013 12:08:21 AM
My daughter's 1st grade teacher held her back, and the school didn't give me the option to let her advance. I have regretted it since it happened.. One of the main reason's the teacher gave for holding her back was because she was "so shy", well guess what at age 30 she is still "so shy". All through the rest of her school years she felt "dumber" than her classmates even while making almost straight A's.

When my grandson's Kindergarten teacher suggested we hold him back a couple of years ago. I said "NO" period! All that was really wrong with him was he had ADHD, and the teacher didn't want to deal with it. That year his teacher retained 5 kids in her class of 25. There is no way that many kid's in one class needed to be held back. I eventually went to the school during his class time, and taught my grandson to read myself. Since I was already there I also offered to tutor the other children who were lagging behind, but his teacher refused to let me help those children.

My GS was promoted to 1st grade since he passed all the required tests, but his teacher was still PO'd because he was allowed to pass. Just to be on the safe side he attended Sylvan during the summer, it was expensive but worth every dime. He is in 3rd grade now, and making almost straight A's, and just tested gifted.

Two of the children she held back are STILL not doing well in school, so obliviously holding them back didn't help them at all. There is no way I would hold a child back if I could prevent it.


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Posted: 2/2/2013 1:10:33 AM
My dd was retained in first grade because she was struggling so, so much with reading. It was the best decision we could have made for her at that point. She is an amazing reader now and has a very high lexile. She is now in 5th grade and doing very well. There is no issue with her being held back because no one knows unless she tells them because we moved this summer. Even before we moved it wasn't an issue.
For my child it was the right choice.




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Posted: 2/2/2013 9:16:37 AM
We had my twins repeat kindergarten this year and they have done amazingly well with the decision. One of them really wasn't ready last year and it was obvious that some of their classmates were a year older. It was a good decision.


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Posted: 2/2/2013 9:57:28 AM

Holding them back for maturity is even worse than holding them back for intelligence. Want them to not mature? Hold them back. You teach them. You teach them how to sit in a group. You teach them how to raise their hand. You reward them and positively encourage them. Educators don't just teach academics...we teach students how to become appropriate members of society as well. It's a joint effort, hopefully, with parents.


I am applauding here.

My son is 12yo. He is an end-of-summer birthday. He is by far the youngest in his class. BY FAR. I mean most of the boys are at least 11-18 months older than he is. With a couple of notable exceptions, they are all a MESS. They were not mature (read spoiled) and their parents held them back but did NOTHING to further their maturity. They were not dumb kids at all and most of them quite bright. So they were bored to tears and acted out. And yes, now in 7th grade, they are still a mess (with my two favorite exceptions). They cause problems in the classroom and disturbances for all the kids.

OP PLEASE find out what is the specific problem with your child. If you can afford it (and insurance sometimes pay), have your kid tested by a psychologist. Best thing we EVER did. We found out our son had dysgraphia and had we held him back it might have damaged him permanently as he already felt stupid.

Don't make a decision based on one class, one teacher. Get more facts. Please.


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Posted: 2/2/2013 10:34:27 AM
The redshirting is becoming a real problem, IMO. My girls have summer birthdays, and they are always the youngest- by a lot- of their grade peers. Most kids are a full year older, where we live, some 18 months older. And the repercussions are that higher level thinking skills are being pushed down- many kids start algebra in 7 th grade here, the kids on the advanced track. Well, my girls are bright, they are advanced... for their age, which is a year behind their grade. Developmentally the abstract thought required for a lot of these things (algebra, literary analysis) is not going to be there until a certain age, it hasn't got anything to do with intelligence. It's what is developmentally appropriate. With the vast age difference and development, young kids are at a real disadvantage, especially in a school system with so much tracking that starts in middle school.

I am tired of my 11 year feeling she is "behind" and "dumb" because she isn't starting algebra. It's ridiculous! Her peers are 12 and 13- there is a whole lot of development in those years.

Don't get me started on the preschool prep program for the gifted test...this area is nuts.

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Posted: 2/2/2013 3:14:58 PM

The redshirting is becoming a real problem, IMO


That is a great post Gyrogirl.

Until they come up with some standardized start age/cutoff date this will continue to be a problem. imo.

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Posted: 2/2/2013 4:16:58 PM
Holding them back for maturity is even worse than holding them back for intelligence. Want them to not mature? Hold them back. You teach them. You teach them how to sit in a group. You teach them how to raise their hand. You reward them and positively encourage them. Educators don't just teach academics...we teach students how to become appropriate members of society as well. It's a joint effort, hopefully, with parents.

Hmmm....
I disagree with the above quote. We had my daughter spend another year in 2nd, specifically for maturity. It was absolutely the right decision for her. Maturity has many aspects,not all of which have to do with poor manners. She is now with a peer group that she fits with developmentally. I cannot now imagine her being a year ahead.

As I stated earlier, I am so glad to be in a community that doesn't view retention as failure. No stigma here!
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