Meet the teacher night last night -Ugh!

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twinplets
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20 Aug 2011, 11:40 am

Why in the world do school districts not train their teachers that the IEP is a legal document? We have great district personnel. They have very knowledgeable autism specialists and behavioural specialists with many great ideas. Last May we had our yearly ARD (Texas' IEP) meeting and I fixed the things that weren't working from our meeting the year prior (which was our first time for him to have been under an ARD.) The ideas I had, the behaviour and autism specialists were nodding in agreement. The Educational Diagnostician that conducts the meeting told me after the meeting how wonderful she thinks we are because we always come in prepared and with so many ideas when other parents don't.

So we have Meet the Teacher night last night. For 4th grade, they have team tachers. One will teach Math/Science and the other is for Reading/Writing/Social Studies and the kids are assigned one to be their homeroom teacher. I requested that the twins have the same team teachers, but with opposing homerooms, so they will still be seperate. My AS son got for homeroom a teacher I thought would have been a great choice. She actually was trying to leave and become a counselor, as she just finished her masters, but I guess since schools aren't hiring as much right now, she must not have been able to find a position. I had heard she was a great teacher by other parents. With her training in counseling, I would have thought she might have been a smart fit. The last class we visited was my AS sons' homeroom. I noticed when we were putting away his supplies in his desk that he only had one desk. If anyone recalls he has issues with his desk/chair being bumped and so far no techniques have really helped him. At the end of 3rd grade, they were trying out having 2 desks for him. One grouped with the other kids for when he is working on group projects or is having a good sensory day and wants to be there and one by itself, out of a high traffic area, so he can have that area when he would rather read or feels more stressed. Everyone in the ARD agreed he needed this and it is written in his ARD. So when we were finished, I talk to his teacher and say "I am sure you will want to have a meeting with me at some point to talk about XXX." She says "Well of course I will probably meet with all my parents at some point." To which I reply "You do know he is under and ARD, have you read it?" She then says "I have looked over it and talked to his last year teacher a bit." So I mention the desk issue. She then asks if he can just pull his desk away a few feet anytime he is bothered. I tell her no, that he really needs those two desks, which is why we put it in the ARD. She then says, "Well, I would like to have a fresh start and see where he is before we make any decisions." I told her I would be wanting a meeting next week. I didn't press further at that time because I had all 5 kids being antsy after spending an hour going to all 5 classes. Plus, the principal was announcing that the teachers had a meeting and they were about to close Meet the Teacher night, but I am dumbfounded. I am hoping she is just trying to put on a positive spin on a new start, new year, blah, blah, blah. I don't really feel she will give me much push back. She is fairly young, probably late 20's. Plus, I will call an ARD meeting immediately if I have to to get the district on their butts, but I am disappointed as we have all these great accommodations written in that stupid document for the next teacher to basically come in and try to reinvent the wheel. It isn't like I don't realize accommodations and needs change, but these were just written the end of May specifically for this year. If she gives me crap, I am going to suggest to the district that they have mandatory meetings for teachers to teach them the law regarding IEPs/ARDs. AHHHHHHH!



DW_a_mom
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20 Aug 2011, 12:10 pm

We've gone through stuff like that at the start of almost every year. We are now programmed to expect it. Ugh, I hate the start of every school year. ANYWAY, it does great straightened out as soon as you request your meeting, or is always has for us, so it is hopefully only a short term problem.


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cutiecrystalmom
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20 Aug 2011, 1:19 pm

twinplets wrote:
She then says, "Well, I would like to have a fresh start and see where he is before we make any decisions." I told her I would be wanting a meeting next week.


Beware the "fresh start" comment, red flags going up all over the place based on that comment, my son's grade two teacher said the same thing and he had an awful year because the teacher refused to listen to anything I had to say. That comment just reeks of "I know better than you, I'm going to make my own decisions based on what I feel is right." YOU know what is best for your child, you all have met and determined what the best options are for your child, be prepared to advocate. I hope I am wrong....

Just my 2Cents



twinplets
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20 Aug 2011, 1:25 pm

I knew there would be some bumps, but I am an eternal optimist and hoped they would have read the document and been ready for him on day one. Yeah, right. I too hate the beginning of each year. I tell everyone. "Time to train a new teacher." I really dread the thought of all those teachers when he hits middle school in two years. I don't know how you parents with older kids do it.



twinplets
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20 Aug 2011, 1:32 pm

cutiecyrstalmom, you posted when I just did. Yes, I too think that is possible. However, since it was only Meet the Teacher night and a bit crazy, I am hoping it is more of a glib, rah rah new year response and I will get more out of her with a one on one meeting. I am concerned that she obviously didn't read it the paperwork much if she hadn't had even one accommodation in place. If she continues to act in this manner, I am immediately calling an ARD meeting and I will allow her tell the behaviour specialists at the district that she knows better since the 2 desk thing was actually their idea that they came up with his 3rd grade teacher last April and not mine. Our Diagnostician is a by the book lady. She is very concerned with everything being by the letter of the law in those meetings. I can't see her being pleased if the teacher tries to throw it all out.



DW_a_mom
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20 Aug 2011, 1:57 pm

twinplets wrote:
I knew there would be some bumps, but I am an eternal optimist and hoped they would have read the document and been ready for him on day one. Yeah, right. I too hate the beginning of each year. I tell everyone. "Time to train a new teacher." I really dread the thought of all those teachers when he hits middle school in two years. I don't know how you parents with older kids do it.


In middle school, you get the IEP meeting schedule as fast as possible, because each one of those 6 teachers is required to make an appearance. Sometimes they rotate in, but I like it when the meeting is after school and you've got them all together for one shot. 6th grade was our rockiest start, however, no denying it.


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cutiecrystalmom
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20 Aug 2011, 2:23 pm

twinplets, it is GREAT that you have all the support of the team behind you, that is what will make the difference. In my situation, I didn't have a team behind me, they took the teacher for her word over mine, and well, you can guess what happened. At least you know that you have the team to back you up and advocate on behalf of your son.

I am absolutely dreading the start of the school year. Mine is also going into grade 4, but school doesn't start until the 6th or 7th of September. There was supposed to be a transition plan in place (as per our May IEP meeting) that our son would get to spend time with his new teacher throughout the month of June (you know, quick visits to the classroom, just to familiarize with the classroom and the teacher). Didn't happen, and actually when I asked about it I was given the "well, we don't know who his teacher will be yet", even though the request had been made and agreed to in May. It has been frustrating to say the least, I am trying to get my son into a different school, but our options are limited at this point. I will just have to steel my stomach and hope beyond hope that they finally listen this year.

Sending positive school thoughts your way!



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20 Aug 2011, 3:42 pm

Twinplets - your post had me grumbling big time! This happened to my DS last year, and literally drove him off the deep end. The IEP team spent a year figuring out what he needed to succeed. The class wasn't appropriate because it was chaos filled. We agreed to put him in a non-public school which was much calmer.

Well, the teacher wanted to see if DS needed the things in his IEP, rather than just doing them. For instance he is to keyboard rather than write. She encouraged him to just try with writing. He didn't say no, but then he was anxious and not doing his work. Because he didn't protest and wanted to fit in, she didn't connect the lack of performance to the writing.

I could go on and on, and I won't. I just want to encourage you to act sooner rather than later. I wish I had.

We are homeschooling this year.



twinplets
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20 Aug 2011, 3:42 pm

That stinks about the summer transition plan not happening. They did a bit of transition stuff with ym son the end of 3rd grade. Mostly, he has a new resource room, so the K-3 one took him to meet them and show him where their room was. It would make more sense to try and have the next year's teacher at the meeting in May. It would prepare them so much better. Granted, sometimes teh teacher may leave and it would change, but I would think those times would be the exception and not the rule in most districts.

Good Luck to you too when your classes start.



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20 Aug 2011, 4:42 pm

I was just thinking: If you've heard this teacher is good, maybe she doesn't deal well with transitions and the start of the year makes her feel and act flustered. A lot of teachers I know feel the same way as we do and start the year with trepidation. In any case, sending you wishes for a rapid turnaround!
J.



Kitty70
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20 Aug 2011, 5:44 pm

twinplets wrote:
I knew there would be some bumps, but I am an eternal optimist and hoped they would have read the document and been ready for him on day one. Yeah, right. I too hate the beginning of each year. I tell everyone. "Time to train a new teacher." I really dread the thought of all those teachers when he hits middle school in two years. I don't know how you parents with older kids do it.



I know you would think they'd read these things before school starts right? My teacher had not read my DDs until the 3rd day.



Sk8
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21 Aug 2011, 8:42 pm

You need to document this so when it does go wrong, you can cite your email showing that the teacher was not complying with the iep. Basically, what you wrote in you email, you can take snippets to piece together to make a memo for the record to the assistant principal of the school. I would say somersetting like:

Dear Ms. A.P.

I am writing to alert you that I have some concerns with the start of my son's school year after meeting with his teacher, Ms. X, last night at the open house. After introducing myself to Ms. X she informed me that she had not read my son's IEP and was merely relying on a chat with my son's teacher from 3rd grade to familiarize herself with my son.

Additionally, when I asked Ms. X about the seating assignment for my son, X, Ms. X said she wanted to try something new this year instead of following the accommodation section of my son's IEP. As you know, an IEP is not a suggestion where a teacher gets to decide if they want to abide by it or not. I trust your intervention in this matter will get things started on the right track for my son as his success is in all of our best interests.

Sicnerley,
Ms. X

*******

Obviously you can tailor it to your style and tone it down a notch, but I write my letters pretty straight forward and I don't hold punches as I got skin in the game, kwim!!