Kids….oh man, kids are a Blessing, a joy, wonderful, awesome, fun, entertaining, ummm annoying, frustrating, and oh my goodness what in the world have you done!? Wait… what? Yeah Everyone is so fast to tell you the good things about kids…. or they are even faster about telling you the bad things about kids. What if we sat down and talked about BOTH? Kids are one of those subjects that seems to be a rabbit hole in the media. The more you try to talk about it the further you dig into the ground and can’t get up. I have no wants to talk about that kinda stuff. Here all i want to do is talk about my struggles i have and maybe someone else is having them too or have been down this road and can give me advice.
So… my oldest child, let’s just say his name is “J”, struggles academically. He is super smart, but for him writing and reading are really hard for him. Last year he was in Third Grade and had an amazing teacher…but he was pulled out for an hour each day to work more one on one. This year they did away with that and introduced inclusion for the Special Education program. We said well we can’t change it but we can observe and see how this goes. So we have. His main teacher and his help teacher are pretty good. The help teacher has been with him a couple years now and knows him and his study habits…i think she’s pretty awesome. The main teacher is ok…just that she helps and guides and teaches…but no extra mile or outstanding communication skills. When i pointed out that the Spelling was not going well at all we sat down and modified it to where it was challenging him but not a frustrating struggle. I liked that about her.
Now they have the kids start have a second teacher for a couple classes in fourth grade (this floored me…i didn’t start having 2 teachers till 7th grade) So for math and social studies “J” went to yet another teacher… this teacher did not communicate with me at all through out this year, when we tried to talk to her she just brushed it off with “i’ll send more practice home”. On top of that in Math at half way he was getting Fs on his progress reports….but still no communication from her. It’s now the end of the year and i can’t even look at her as i’m just so upset with how she just will not talk to me. But it’s not just that the fact that the Special Education program continues to ignore the fact that my son was improving so much last year and then this year it was barely a move up, they still want to call that progress and that they did their job.
Yesterday i went to the annual ARD meeting… it’s a meeting Special Education kids’ parents go to every year so the school can point out what they did, the kid’s progress, and what they plan on doing for next year. Now they ask the parents if this is ok and if they agree with this, and a lot of times i don’t and i voice that, but really they don’t want me to say anything so they can go on and leave for the next thing. Well i threw them for a loop. They opened up and they said that this lady here is also from the main office and needs to talk to me and i said “that’s great because i have a few things to say too and it’s good she’s here” She opens up and tells about how every 3 years kids have to be reevaluated and so on and so forth….and then i say “we’re moving out of your school district”. Everyone stops. They are all looking at me, i don’t do good with this kind of situation but i’m going to wing it. I tell them that the Help teacher has done a wonderful job but we’re frustrated, last year “J” did such an amazing improvement and then this year you dump on him a change in classroom settings, a new system of how he gets his help, and on top of that you do all of this on a year that you totally change up the Learning Curriculum for the state. This wasn’t well planned or thought out… i think this was too much change for him and it shows in his grades and attitude. I tell them the schools we are looking at as that question was voiced by the Vice Principal….HAHA! Guess they want to know who their competition is! I did slip and say we are also spending so much time there that it just makes sense. Of course they grab onto that and tada it’s no longer their fault. *sigh*!!!!
Then i mention the teacher (who was not even there) that i’m having problems with and noted the reason why. It was acknowledged but nothing more. Wonderful. So 45 minutes later my two oldest are on their way home and i’m not there so i’m running out of the school to get home and they are there already and thankfully they are not freaking out. I left that meeting feeling somewhat defeated and going over it again and again going “man they turned a lot of the problems onto me and they didn’t own up to really any of them”. It just seemed to validate our move more. Though we’re not naive and think it’ll be sunshine and roses there either but maybe just maybe the set up might be a little better, and there might be more caring and devoted teachers at the next place.
Which gets me to the point of….if you are looking to move and want to know how the school’s special education program is, there is no way that i can tell to find out without getting bias opinions. You have the school grades online that you can find easy…for general teaching. I have looked on the net for any type of hint at how the teachers are with it, both normal and help teachers. I have a couple friends that have kids in the system and have pointed me to schools…but i’d love to get more advice..more opinions as to which schools really would help and love my kid and not just see him as a number.
It’s just all a bit overwhelming and scary….but it’s totally worth the hassles and fights, because my kid is totally worth it.