Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Happy Days Are Here Again!

Every once in a while, I get exactly what I want. It's rare, mostly I compromise, but not today. Today I was clear about what I wanted, and even clearer about what I didn't want. And it worked! Holy Moly, it freaking worked!

Today was the Girl's emergency IEP meeting. The meeting we've been trying to set up for weeks, but the school just would not cooperate. The meeting where they conveniently 'didn't have time' to invite most of our support team. Um, yeah. So I came into the conference room, sat down at the head of the table, and confronted them immediately about leaving out such important people. That set the tenor of the meeting, and they got the idea right off the bat that they were not going to screw with me any more.

First, they presented a program that I had already refused. They had asked me about it a week or so ago, and I told them "no" but they felt they needed to do the hard sell. The guy that runs the meeting gave me this song and dance about how it's only a 45 day program to reintegrate kids back to school, that it isn't an academic program, that there are only 8 kids in the program, blah blah blah. I told the attendees that the reason the Girl was in the situation she was in, besides her obvious NVLD social issues, was that she empathized with kids that were in trouble to the point where she took on their pain. I DID NOT want her in any more dumping ground programs for kids that are into severe drama.

The hard sell continued, however, until the Girl spoke up and said she had no intention of being stuck in this program which isn't even on school grounds. "No way", said she. And that was that.
The next option was to put her into a sister program of the Boy's program, held in the other high school. She absolutely refused. She does not want to go to another school, plus the other school's quotent of high drama is even worse than our school. It's drug central in town, they have more kids from difficult environments, and even the Girl realizes that this is a recipe for disaster. Go Girl! So that was out as well.

The last option was the one that I had cooked up with the Pupil Services representative from the school department. It's an actual Individualized Education Plan. Not just shoving the Girl into one program or another. It's designed just for her. Wahoo!

She'll be attending school for a couple of blocks each day. She's going to take Biology and Math at school. She'll still be working with her tutor, who will be coming for increased hours. She's right behind me here, as I type this. For English, I'll be working with her. She needs to make up 120 hours of English, which they will allow her to do by reading 5 books and writing 5 papers. Now, to me this seems like a total gut, but to the Girl... OMG, this is hard hard work. She's not a competent readers, she's slower than molassas, and she does not understand much of what she's read. So we'll be choosing books that are already movies, so she can watch the movie before she starts the book, and will be able to understand the plots better. We've already started with the Merchant of Venice, which she's watched twice. Now that she's got the storyline down, she'll be able to attempt to read it. Shakespeare is difficult for a good reader, for the Girl it's almost impossible. But we'll get through it together.

History is tossed. She only needs 3 years of history, including one of US History, in order to graduate. We're blowing off this year since her history teacher, who coincidentally lives directly behind us, is totally uncooperative. She refused to work with the tutor and does not want the Girl in her class. Nice and neighborly, eh? But honestly, I don't care. She can make it up in her senior year with social science electives, which are more interesting anyhow.

So what's left is "Wellness", the politically correct name these days for PE. They will give her credit for PE because she's in therapy. I have no clue as to why, but who am I to argue with a free pass for PE? I only wish I could have done that when I was in high school.

The upshot is, she'll get enough credits to move forward to her Junior year, she'll be out of most of the drama of high school and under my nose more, and we'll be able to work together to ensure that she gets everything done. It's the best of homeschooling combined with the best of high school. I'm so happy! And so is she.

Of course, and all you lovers of the NCLB will find this especially grating, next week is the MCAS and they were desperate to get her to take it. You take it in 10th grade and if you pass it, then you're DONE and you can graduate. If you don't, you have 2 more times. So they want her to do it. She was not thrilled, but she'll be there and they'll be accomodating her up the yin yang. Stupid test. 3 days of testing and that's just for the English part. Math comes later. She's already passed the Science!

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Blogger TX Poppet said...

Yeef! Way to not get intimidated or sidelined! That's great news.

19/3/08 3:36 PM  
Blogger Daisy said...

Way to go! It still amazes me that school personnel can treat parents so poorly. I've been in IEPs where the parents were equal participants (with me, the teacher) and it works so, so much better!

19/3/08 4:28 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

I agree with you, Daisy. And I have to say in the school's defense, once they GOT that I was really serious and that if they didn't offer a do-able program now, that I was reporting them as out of compliance under IDEA, they snapped to it and tried to make it work. They didn't want what we ended up with , but I don't CARE what they wanted. I know it's the right thing. And that's all that matters.

19/3/08 7:00 PM  
Blogger Monitor LCD said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

19/3/08 10:04 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

I'm glad to hear things are moving forward!

I'm sure you have heard this many times but I have found that people who struggle with Shakespeare do much better reading it out loud. It was never meant to be read and I think it's hard for people to understand it that way. If you can, have her get up and move around while reading it out loud. It seems to fire certain synapses that get the mind working. I can't explain the science behind it. It just works.

20/3/08 12:23 PM  
Blogger JaniceNW said...

You persisted and you ulimately triumphed! HOORAY for you and the girl.

21/3/08 11:34 AM  

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