your thoughts on separate high school class - special needs

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Aimer_FTW
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16 Mar 2010, 7:25 pm

I wouldn't recommend it. I went to a school in middle and somewhat high school similar sounding to that. I didn't really learn anything. Sure, it helped me mature, but, in math, I'm way behind in my math grade level (I'm in 11th grade and still can only do some algebra). I say, have him still mainstreamed but give him an IEP that fits his needs. And, if he needs to learn social and life skills, get him a socials skills and life skills class. That way, he'll be able to use the things he's been learning in those classes with the mainstream peers.



DenvrDave
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16 Mar 2010, 7:44 pm

schleppenheimer wrote:
I don't know why, but I'm very wary of this specialized class group that separates my son from his peers.

Do you have experience with this type of program? If so, please let me know what you feel were the pros and cons.


Hey there schlep, sorry it took me so long to reply, but I've been waiting for the dust to settle. No experience with these types of programs, but I was wondering could you try it for a semester or a year and see how it goes? Can always go back to regular classes if it doesn't work out. Also, what does your son think about this and what does he want to do? We'll be going through the middle-school to high school transition this year and I'm looking around at all kinds of alternative programs. Best of luck! :D -DD



schleppenheimer
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24 Mar 2010, 3:21 pm

Here's an update --

We went to a sort of transition/class scheduling meeting today, with our son. Two people from the high school, the special ed coordinator from the middle school, and a counselor from the middle school. We started listing the classes that my son was to take (all college-bound classes, basically) and we asked about the Impact classes (special classes for kids who need to learn how to study and how to take tests). The high school people looked perplexed, because my son wasn't on THEIR list. We told them we had been to the meeting to learn about it, talked to the director, etc. I just HAPPENED to have with me a little slip of paper that was from my son's science teacher, showing the three criteria for advancement to the next level (or academic level, or honors level science). It showed his current scores in science (high enough to go to not just the next level, but the advanced), his math scores (definitely high enough to go the advanced), and his Iowa test scores (low, because he didn't get enough time to finish -- MY fault, because we wanted to try having him take standardized tests in the general population -- we won't be doing that from now on). One of the high school administrators took a look at that, at his grades, and just flat out said "with grades like this, you don't want to backslide into the IMPACT science class, right?"

Wow. After all of this doublespeak from the IMPACT director, the middle school people, etc., how refreshing to get a direct answer from the high school administrator. I was NOT looking forward to this meeting, and after this experience and seeing how nicely she treated my son (and expected him to be part of the discussion) my husband and I left the meeting in a totally great mood. She basically just came out and said that he should stay regular ed with whatever accomodations he needs. I think that in the future, I'm dealing with THIS woman!



Tracker
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25 Mar 2010, 11:18 am

It is always possible that the person who thought the impact classes were remedial classes was operating under a false prejudice. For example, when I was in high school I spent my junior and senior years at a technical academy. They taught some trade skills like welding, machining, engine repair, drafting and other such things. It wasn't uncommon for children who did poorly at academic subjects to go there and learn some trade so they could get a decent career. I personally went there to learn things like drafting, pneumatics, hydraulics, and basic engineering principles.

More then a few people got very confused when I was telling them that I went to the technical academy then planned to go to college for engineering. In their minds, the only reason to go to that academy was to get a trade skill if you couldn't hack it at college. They of course were wrong, but the false notion was already in place. Likewise, one of the high school administrators may have thought that the impact classes were only for people who are behind academically, even if that isn't the case.



oncebitten
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25 Mar 2010, 7:34 pm

That's really good Schlepp!

Glad you went to the meeting and found out exactly what the deal on the Impact Program is. Yikes - it almost sounds like they warehouse the kids and do just enough to keep the program looking like it has an 'impact'.

From his test scores - it sounds like your son is pretty advanced academically, that's the travk you want him on and if he has support available to him when he needs it - keep doing it that way.



schleppenheimer
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26 Mar 2010, 1:06 pm

Yes, oncebitten, we were lucky that this whole meeting worked out so well...I really had my doubts going in to it ! !! !

My son does well in math and very well in languages, but we are always riding this thin line -- he would be overwhelmed by advanced classes, so we want to keep him in the very middle-of-the-road classes, so he can feel success but not have the classes be TOO easy. If he gets to the point where he does homework totally independently (no hovering from parents) and just excelled a lot in German (or Chinese, which is offered in 10th grade), and an advanced class sounds like FUN to him, then I would totally be all for it. Otherwise, I just want him to relax, do what he can in regular classes, and be comfortable with life.

The one thing that they offered was a study hall in a resource room, where there's a teacher who has his schedule, and knows what tests are coming up, and can help him with homework. I talked to my daughter who just left this high school, and she said that there is no stigma attached at all to whatever study hall the kids go to, and this really sounds like the best of both worlds -- he has a period where he can get going on homework, with some help from a teacher if he needs it. I have to admit, that sounds good to me -- lighten our load as parents a little. 8th grade has been so incredibly labor-intensive as far as helping my son with homework -- whereas 6th and 7th grades felt like a breeze in comparison!