"How did your meeting go, Liz?" Sally Montgomery was ready to head home for the evening, but noticed her co-worker still in the library on Parent-Teacher Night on her way home.
"Didn't happen, Sal," Elizabeth sighed, briskly turning a page in a workbook book in front of her, her right hand tapping the red pen clutched in it. "Daniel hasn't been in school since," she paused, recounting the breakdown, "it happened. His parents died in July, Sal; no one is coming."
"Then why are you even here tonight, hon? You should be at home relaxing!" Sal took a seat on the child size chair that Daniel normally occupied opposite of Elizabeth Waltonen. Elizabeth returned her gaze to the notebook in front of her.
"You know, I know he was ahead in his schoolwork—I've glanced through the workbook he's been working in, but I had no idea he'd completed all of his workbooks. God, Sal, what kind of teacher doesn't see this?" Elizabeth slid the workbook to Sally, who flipped the book close to realize it was the sixth grade language arts workbook.
"Wait, this is way above Daniel's level, isn't it? I thought he didn't even speak English!" Sally was flabbergasted at the thought.
"Thee months ago, this child didn't speak English at all. Now he is fluent enough to complete, and nearly perfectly by the way, sixth grade materials." She slapped shut the workbook. "He had to be working non-stop since I gave him these books to have them all completed, Sal. I don't think this boy has done anything but study. God! How am I going to face him when he comes back? Sally, the kid lost it on Tuesday! He hasn't been back! How am I supposed to teach if I don't even have a student?" Elizabeth's voice steadily increased in nervous tension and pitch as she rambled towards incoherence.
Sally stood up and braced Liz. "Sweetie, are you talking about him studying, or him grieving?"
"I don't know anymore, Sal… I really don't know." Liz was visibly upset; she had every reason to be. The past three months she's given so little attention to her sole student. She didn't even like Daniel that much, not that she realized it. She resented him for not being a normal student. He was too quiet, he worked ahead, never smiled at her, never appreciated her. But her heart broke for him when she found out two days ago he lost his parents just a few months ago. Perhaps subconsciously she knew that she wouldn't have resented him had she known about his parents from the beginning. Perhaps she was feeling a twinge of guilt.
"Come on, hon. Let's get out of here." Sally physically led Elizabeth Waltonen out of the tiny cubicle in the library and out to her car.
Elizabeth responded to Mr. Nowanowsky's summons the next morning. She quietly rapped on his door, still a little hung over from last night's pity party she held for herself. "Come in!"
"Ah, Elizabeth, please, take a seat." Mr. Nowanowsky was hunched over his desk. He nearly didn't look up to her when she entered.
"Mr. Nowanowsky, I was wondering if you knew when Daniel was returning to class. I've had a chance to grade…"
"Elizabeth." Mr. Nowanowsky interrupted her. "Daniel will not be returning. I received a call from his social worker this morning. She's placed him in a home yesterday. He's due to start his new school on Monday." He paused for a moment but continued as she was about to begin speaking. "I need to know how far you've gotten in his coursework so that the next school can place him." His voice was dripping with disdain for Elizabeth; he was still very upset at her poor judgment and behavior from three days prior.
"Um…" She blanked for a moment, "We've completed almost half way through the third grade, but Daniel's completed the coursework through the sixth grade on his own, it seems."
"It seems? You mean you don't know?"
"I knew he was working ahead in the workbooks, but I had no reason to think he had worked ahead through all the workbooks! Either way, as I was saying, I found the completed assignments Tuesday, after Daniel left school, and graded them all. Its remarkable." She simply had no other words to describe his progress. His workbooks were nearly perfect. "He's behind in science, math, and social sciences, but it is my opinion he is definitely on a sixth grade reading level."
"We can't just skip him three grades, Elizabeth! He's not been integrated into a classroom environment at all! That is completely unfair to him!" Mr. Nowanowsky argued, but to whom he wasn't fully sure. Putting Daniel in a class with kids three years older wasn't fair to Daniel, and given the bullying Daniel was already taking in the bus yard, it could be a potentially explosive situation. In anger he still felt towards Elizabeth and the situation in general, he curtly dismissed Miss Waltonen from his office and took a seat back behind his desk. He avoided the decision he was supposed to make concerning Daniel's placement. Instead, his final report in the school file for one Daniel M. Jackson recommended that the child be tested before placement.
A/N: This is the end of this story, now that Daniel's situation has changed: he's going to be placed in his first home, go to his first classes with other students, etc.
November is a hectic month for me, so I don't plan on anything getting out of my head until the first week of December. Happy Thanksgiving if I don't have a mad spurt of writing and put something out!