Monday, August 09, 2010

I love posts that are lists of disconnected items.

1. The house next door to mine is undergoing massive construction. The people who bought it tore it down to the frame and then started rebuilding, bigger and better. Recently, the end was in sight. I say "was," because after we came back from visiting D. at camp, we saw that they had suddenly framed an addition, and so all the trucks and what have you are back in full force. Fine. The cu-de-sac shudders under the weight of the 15 (YES I COUNTED THEM) trucks here daily, but we'll deal. But, oh future neighbors of mine, here's a tip: when you are going to do work on the shared fence between our properties, I would really love it if you would knock on my door and say, "Hey, we're doing some work on the shared fence between our properties, so when you back out of your garage, try not to hit the man on scaffolding in your driveway." Nothing like a little adrenaline rush first thing in the morning.

2. There is still time for you to enter and WIN awesome Wall or Easel Art from CVS!

3. This morning, I tried to call D's school to follow up on getting his ARD scheduled. You can read about how that worked out in the email I sent to the people listed on the web site as the principal, assistant principal, and instructional coordinator.

My son, D, is slated to start first grade at [redacted] this fall. The short version is that we need to have a new ARD before school starts. The longer version -- with important details -- follows. 
Recently, I sent a letter to Dr. Grier. He actually wrote about my letter in his weekly e-news. He forwarded my letter to the Special Education Department, and they contacted me to tell me my son's file would be reviewed, a new ARD would be held, and a more appropriate placement would be made. I called to follow up last week, and the woman I spoke with in the Special Education Department indicated:
*that she was emailing you about my son
*that someone from your school would contact me to schedule D's new ARD
*that the district absolutely recognizes that co-teach classrooms are the right solution for inclusion.
I called your school this morning and spoke to a woman who told me to "call back later." I know that this is a busy time of year and that you are busy trying to accommodate all of your students. My job is to advocate for my son, and right now that means relentlessly hounding you until his ARD is scheduled. Please call me at [redacted] at your earliest convenience. If you're not the right person to handle this, please let me know who is. 
So, within a very short time, the assistant principal called and left a message on my cell and home phones, and then the woman from the district office called, and then finally the special education coordinator called. And we have an ARD scheduled. The woman I spoke to at the school said, "We're trying to do more inclusion. The thing is, we only have one resource teacher on staff for this year, so we're going to have to work out a schedule. I'm sure we can find a way to support your son." She declined my offer of a photograph of me to hang on a dartboard in the office, which I thought was quite gracious of her.

Here's the thing: What I want for this school year is for D. to be in a classroom that has a full-time regular teacher and a full-time special education teacher sharing duties and supporting students with and without disabilities. This is the least restrictive environment, and the one that gives D. the greatest chance of success. What I don't want is a situation where D. and other special ed students are tossed into a regular classroom with a regular teacher because the school doesn't have the resources needed to do otherwise. That's not good for anybody.

So, to be honest, I am still a little worried -- and Dr. Grier, if you're reading this, maybe you can reassure me. I'd also still really like to know if a co-teach first grade classroom exists somewhere in HISD, and how I can get my kid in it. 


Ruchi said...

I really get frustrated when things are made so difficult. when my son got a placement for a 12:1:1 special ed class they asked me if i had a preference of schools. I asked- well what schools in the neighborhood have that kind of classroom. Their answer was- we dont know yet, it changes every year. so how exactly am i supposed to have a preference if i dont know my options!
now we have a placement but so far he is the only one in his class for about one on one attention.