It's the last day of my promised daily blogging. I realized that most people read my posts through my Facebook feed and not through my blog. How funny how times and trends change. If any of you FB peeps want to see my actual blog (it's nothing fancy) you can go to www.viewsfromtheporch.blogspot.com and read all the way back to 2005.
Friday - the last day of the school week. Some weeks it doesn't come early enough. Morning as usual with the usual Friday morning, "Z, do you have your math homework ready to turn in?" Yes. Great - lets get going. The only addition to the morning madness is that we needed to find the Lion cheer shirt and the Lion Backer shirt for the game tonight. Lion cheer shirt - not too difficult because she left it on the table downstairs and I had sen it. Lion backer - difficult find. Z managed to fine one of the Lion Backer shirts and all I could think of when he wore it was, "Wow! Have you grown!" In reality it turns out he found A's Lion Backer shirt and wore it because he couldn't find his. I made him wear a different shirt to school so that we could look for his later. There have been moments where they could wear each others clothes and do, but this was not one of those moments.
School day - Had to write an ARD. I am not a sit down type person and writing an ARD takes all day of sitting. Usually I space it out over time, but this was one of those last moment situations. Needed a placement change, but the annual is due in a month so might as well do that while we're in committee. There was a great blessing in the day, and I can't always say this, all the data I needed for an annual ARD was already collected and ready to go. The systems we have in place are fantastic, and the teachers so diligent. There was data from the classroom for the placement change, there was transition data from when the transition facilitator came and worked with the kids, testing data was in Eduphoria. The only piece of information I had to go hnt down was an SRI and QRI score, but those just happened. The current Language Arts teacher had the SRI score, and the Resource Language Arts Teacher did the QRI in plenty of time to get things done. The data provided in the FIE helped explain the difficulties n other classes and I was able to place appropriate accommodations in there. It was such a smooth team to work with!
When parents call an ARD they have no idea the work that should go into them before the committee gets together. It doesn't always happen, but there is a ton of work that goes into them. I know that it's a parents right to call an ARD, but I think there are a few barriers to a successful IEP / ARD meeting. One of the barriers is that parents struggle so much to get services for their kid that they assume that every thing regarding their child's needs is a fight. I admit that I go into every meeting with Z's school ready to fight. I want paperwork in place to protect him from the teacher that refuses to accommodate without being required to. I have to remind myself not to be that way through out the meetings. It's a constant redirect in my mind through out the meeting. I'm also reading tone and body language from the staff to validate my suspicions that they aren't looking out for my child. It's happened - the leg bounce, arm crossed, stern face, no comment teacher down the table from me. The quick and judgemental comments thrown about the room. My favorite - the comment that has the words "you never" in them. Just a hint if you need to take a xanax to get through an ARD meeting without looking like the biggest butt do it. This should really be a team approach which means that all issues should have been addressed prior to coming to the meeting. The meeting is a FINALIZATION of a CONTRACT! It should not be the draft version.
Another barrier is when staff have tried to guess the parents response to what the staff wants to do for the student. Frequently (and it's a result of the fighting parents) staff try to anticipate what the parents will say to various things. Staff tend to predict the worst - parent refusal. Funny thing is that when you have your data ready and you go through the thought process with the parents they generally see what you're trying to say. Parents love to not have to do the research for you, they do want the staff to be the experts. Out of necessity they have had to educate themselves about their child's needs / disability. If a staff member is educated and articulate, parents will usually trust their assessment. If staff looks like a bumbling idiot, parents will seek resources from everywhere but them and it will turn into a battle. Some days it's as easy as letting the expert in that area address the topic instead of just anyone on the committee talking. Tracking teachers have some knowledge in the educational testing process and should know how to read the FIE, but they are not assessment staff. Interpreting testing data is something assessment staff should do. It is perfectly ok for a tracking teacher to say that they would love for the diagnostician to go over that instead of attempting to do it themselves. It is perfectly ok for travking teachers to refer content questions back to the classroom teacher. It is ok to table an ARD if questions cannot be answered right then. Anyone can table an ARD.
Just a few things that I've been thinking about going into Z's ARD in a couple weeks. There's lots of anxiety going into this meeting, but I have to trust that the district is providing the right experts at the meeting.
I am so off track for today's post....
Love Fridays! It's DI day. I have a little DI team of my students and they are so much fun! If you have never participated in DI you should consider it. Nate and Pete graciously volunteered to be appraisers this year and I know they will love it! Well Nate did it lats year, and loved it. It's kids thinking WAY outside the box, and being praised for it. It's very much indescribable.
After that was an exciting ballet class for A. She was the only student to show up to class so she got a great private lesson. Granted there are only 2 students in the class, so when one kid is sick the other gets a private lesson. Reminds me that when she's going to miss that class I should probably call.
Ran home to find the Lion Backer shirt and charge my phone for a bit. For some reason it died today and it's never done that at school before. Found the Lion Backer shirt in the pile of clean laundry so I ironed it real quick. Off to the game where Z was a great Lion Backer. I didn't get to see the whole run, but heard "Great cartwheel kid!" over the PA and knew exactly who that was. Apparently Z did a cartwheel and a round off while running down the field. Dropped A off to cheer with the Lion cheerleaders for the 1st quarter, and then found my friends to sit with. Made it to half time to watch their daughter dance with the Bluebells, and then Nate managed to meet us after shooting the volleyball game. Z made the comment, "You know everybody!" Any time we go to football games I run into neighbors, parents, students (current and former). It's always fun to see people in the community. Just before the 4th quarter I decided it was time to head home.
We got home, kids got ready for bed, I got ready for bed. The TV's went on, and we were all out. It was a great night over all. BTW - my stamps for OWH came in! I'm so excited and can't wait to get these cards shipped out! There's a huge need for hand crafted cards right now and I hope to send a giant package at the end of the month. If you live by me and want to contribute t the box I would be happy to ship your cards. Just let me know.