January 16, 2010

The pow-wow

We met, we talked and we agreed. These are all good things, late but good. Alex’s old, and from my perspective illegal IEP, was thrown out and a new IEP implemented. This new IEP will meet my standards, and the goals will be reasonable but tough.

With the exception of two people, everyone I requested attend our meeting to talk about Alex came. In attendance was the Principal, the school counselor, speech therapist, psychologist, two regular education teachers, Alex’s special education teacher, the BOCES consultant, John and me.

We talked about Alex’s strengths – her sense of humor, her love of music, arts and sports and her advanced computer skills. All agreed she is a visual learner and when motivated will work very hard to master a task or concept. She self advocates well, is responsible about herself and her schedule, and likes to stay on topic. She is well thought of in the school environment.

Alex's testing results showed she has not made any academic progress in the three years she has been in this school system. I heard apologies, and a desire to do the right thing for Alex. Her speech services as well as school counselor times were upped. We agreed there has not been any consistency in these deliveries in terms of working on common goals, and there should be.

Alex’s regular ed teachers committed to working harder with the special ed teacher. I applaud these regular ed teachers; they were never coached or instructed on working with a child with special needs. They voiced there lack of education in this field, but reiterated their desire to help Alex succeed. Both teachers, independently of each other “got” Alex – they already knew how she learned and gave her topics that tied into the class but were simplified for Alex.

I do not mean to criticize the school system – we arrived in this valley when special services were being transitioned from a third party provider – BOCES (more about this when I talk about Educating Alex – the Middle School Years) to the district. Although the transition occurred, the knowledge base and funding that need to accompany such a transition got stuck in limbo. Or so I believe…

We agreed that a TEAM APPROACH was best for Alex. Can I just say – this has been my request from Day One - in August, 2006. Finally, with the Principal on board this will happen. I really know these teachers and service providers are dedicated to their students and to Alex. Everyone seemed completely vested in her success. The disconnect I see is the lack of a “model’ of special education that has worked well in our valley. I know there are lots of reasons for this – but I want to move forwards, not backwards.

So to our success….Alex’s primary teacher will facilitate e-mail meetings every Friday afternoon. He will share what Alex’s goals were for that week, and how she did. He will put forward ideas for the following week and provide consistency across her delivery of services. Everyone on the team will be expected to provide their thoughts. This group will meet in person as needed. The IEP will be implemented, measured, monitored and executed. I will be happy and Alex will realize her full potiential.

So I wonder - isn't this the way it is supposed to be?

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