Thursday, June 5, 2008

IEP placement meeting

If I would have written about Holland's IEP placement meeting right after I got home, it would have looked something like this:

The district rep and the principal both felt that a placement at the Charter School was not a good fit. The district rep is worried about Holland's behavioral issues; the principal is concerned they won't be able to meet his academic needs. I brought up Holland's current school behavior, how he's not the one throwing chairs, running out of the room or needing physical restraint; he's the only student in his class that qualifies for the summer program based on academics and not on behavior. They are worried about withdrawl when he is frustrated with the academics (his withdrawl looks like him putting his head down on the desk and not working. What kid NOT on an IEP hasn't done that?). The principal said that the teacher would most likely not be able to adopt a whole new curriculum for just one student.

I basically get no support from his current school. If I decide to pursue placement at the Charter School, they will not help me. The district rep wants to keep him at his current program. I do not want him around kids with that kind of behavior. I do not want him doing busy-work. I don't want him doing a sight-based reading program that takes every word out of context. The placement I want, they don't want; the placement they want, I don't want. It was suggested that he could do a transitional program in the mornings and then go to the charter school in the afternoons for the hands-on activities. But after considering this, I felt the settings would be so different that he wouldn't be able to adjust to such opposite expectations.

This afternoon, I emailed a former co-worker about my situation. When I taught at a deaf school, she was the special education teacher there. When her kids were born, she quit teaching and now homeschools her two children. She started up a program that links homeschooling families with the local science museum. She also helped write a charter for a school in our city that pairs the idea of homeschooling within a structured school setting. I asked her what she thought I should do. She thought with Holland's special needs that he was in a program that wasn't addressing his current learning abilities and also wasn't recognizing his need to build and create. The whole reason I want him at the charter school is for the hands-on approach; the whole body learning experience. What she made me realize, is that once again, I'm the one who can provide what he needs. Now that his mood is regulated, we can focus on the learning part. I'm hoping to supplement homeschooling with classes at the homeschooling charter school. If we got in full-time, it would mean being able to meet with an educational support person weekly to monitor progress and help with the academics.

I know that his current program is not going to like me pulling him out of there. They think he needs the socialization (what public school doesn't frown upon the 'socialization' needs of a homeschooled child?) and that he would get more benefit out of a transitional program. I do not feel that way. I want him in a place that he will be able to move about, and explore and experience nature and science. So for now, I will keep Romania at the environmental science charter school, homeschool Holland and use the homeschooling charter school as a supplement program.

This next school year looks nothing like what I pictured last year. I will again have two kids in two different locations, getting out at two different times. Oh, the craziness of education.

6 comments:

Laura and the family said...

Have you thought about the first 30 days placement at Charter School? My work district did the same thing with Ryan when I wanted him to be closer to me instead of my home school. After 30 days placement, you can prove that your son has the ability to learn among with other students to the special education teacher.

heidi said...

I didn't know I could do that. They just make it seem like my only option is to keep him in his current placement. The district rep said he wouldn't be able to return to his current placement if the charter school didn't work out. They wouldn't hold a spot (which doesn't matter because I won't put him back there.) I'm looking for a parental advocate to help me at the next IEP meeting.
Thanks Laura!

Laura and the family said...

Another thing, I would suggest you to read the Parent's Procedural Rights (Special Education Teacher usually gives you the hand-out on every IEP meeting, no matter how many you have at home.)Anyway, somewhere in the line, it would mention about having the 30 day placement rights. Each state's procedural rights is different, but I would suggest you to search on line: IEP 30 days placement, It will give you details. Then,you can discuss with your parental advocate to help you.

That's why I refused to have my son attend his home school district because they did not follow many little things. Not only thing, they had overlooked his abilities. He is FAR MUCH higher than they told me. My work district saw this shortly after he enrolled and started mainstreaming in Language Arts and Math (he will go for RSP in the fall) and is doing way much better than my home school district had observed him! Just follow your guts!

Laura and the family said...

P.S. It is not correct that " he would not be able to rturn to his current placement if the charter school didn't work out." If this school is the only special education (though you are not placing to place him in the Fall) is doing illegially by not accepting. You already know that it is the law to accept a special education child if it is in your home school district. They cannot deny that. It sounds like they are trying make you feel like you are only one option.

heidi said...

I'm wondering if it's different because this is an ESD program and not a district program. They only have 10 spots open. I'm working on getting a parent advocate and might even ask for mediation.
They did do at least one thing wrong - there was no classroom teacher present. So I probably have cause to have another meeting.

I googled 30 day placement for Oregon, but couldn't find anything specific about how it works. I have to find my parent handbook so I can read specifically what it says. I've been talking with several people I used to work with to get ideas about how to move forward. It seems because it's a charter school, things aren't as clear cut. Like, who would pay for an educational assistant? The district or ESD?

I appreciate your help Laura!

Laura and the family said...

Check it out:

http://www.ed.gov/parents/needs/speced/iepguide/index.html