Thursday, February 2, 2012

Trying to move on now

Today Mat and I went to our conference about Finley's report card.  The teacher, her 1:1 aide, and the special education director were there with us.

I have to say, the meetings was overall productive.  We got a lot of our questions answered, and feel a little more comfortable with how the communication between home and school will happen from now on.  There was definitely a misunderstanding going on about Finley's communication log, and we got that resolved.

I was glad Mat went with me.  Always level headed and even toned, he is good when I look like I might start to lose it.  He gives me a little look, a little squeeze, or a little pat and I know not to say what I am really thinking.

He is also the "challenge master".  He will challenge anyone to back up what they say with hard core data until he gets a satisfactory answer.  It is like living "20 questions" every day, I tell you.  Back off ladies - he's mine.

Also, in the back of my mind is my friend Jess (who is a special education teacher) saying - "remember that mom?  The one that ripped up the IEP and threw it at us?"  Okay - I am not that....

I have always been overly involved where Finley is concerned.  I can tell you that with Cainan and Arlington - as long as no one is bleeding, or bullying, or getting into trouble in school and all is good, I don't bother their teachers.  But with Finley, there is enough involved that I just can't sit on the side line.  Not yet.  Hopefully someday.

We went in with our list of questions.  Why did she do so poorly on her report card in the social/emotional/work habits areas?  What is going on that isn't being communicated to us in her notebook each day?

What we found out is that she is having to be prompted quite a bit during the day to keep working.  She can DO the work, but she wants to do it on Finley time.  And Finley time is "any time after I draw a picture or color" - not when her teacher needs her too.  Once she is told that what she needs to do, she gets to work, but not before asking if she can color first THEN write.

She is also having trouble with middle and ending sounds of words.  She has beginning sounds down.  By this time of the year, they would like her to have end sounds down and be working toward middle sounds.  Cainan has all three down already, and is sounding out words he doesn't know by looking at them - just to give you an idea.  Finley is not.  Part of me believes she doesn't care and so she isn't really trying that hard.  Part of me believes it is something that is going to be hard for her.

So we will be working with her at home, of course, and school has her working with the reading specialist a few times a week.  She is making progress, but it is slower than they would like.  They will spend the next three weeks working on this (for all my teaching friends - Tier II before she moves to Tier III) and they will see where she is.

We were happy to hear that they were really trying to work with her.  They have many things in place we weren't aware of, and we were pleased to hear that.  I guess they just haven't figured me out yet - that I need to know all the details.  At least about Finley.  If she is struggling in reading and writing, I want to know about it.  Thank goodness we also started her in Kumon to give her extra support outside of school.

The communication log is going to be changing.  Instead of just a little blip at the end of the day about her overall day, the special education director suggested a paper where we know how many times she is being prompted and how things are going a little more specifically.  That works for me.  I am sure that is a lot of work for the teacher and the aide, but I do appreciate it.

The special education director also talked to me about the transitional program.  She knows me (her son and Cainan are in class together) and knows I am highly nervous about it and what kids go into that program.  We did get a better feeling about the program after listening tell me that it will look very similar to her class make up this year.  Meaning - there will be kids with IEPs, there will be kids who are highly active, there will be kids who are shy, there will be kids who are reading on a 2nd grade level.  It is not a dumping ground for problem children and children who are developmentally behind.

That gave me a bit of relief.  I feel much better about the idea - if it comes to that - because I know a little more what it is.  The special education director was happy she had a chance to clarify the program because she had the feeling I had the wrong idea.  Which I did.  We even got to visit the classroom and watch circle time in action and see the room set up.

We will also be meeting again in a few weeks especially after the Occupational and Physical therapy reports come back and we get to the end of their reading/writing assessment of Finley as well.  Then we will probably have to amend her IEP with some new goals.

In the end, Mat and I agreed that transitional will be the right way to go if her social/emotional development is hindering her education and getting in the way.  If she continues to struggle academically because she is developmentally behind, then we will put her in transitional.  If she is academically on track for first grade, then she will go on.

Tonight we will sleep.  I am not going to talk about transitional or first grade, or conferences or IEPs or communication logs for a long time.

Or at least a week.

1 comment:

Jen Giroux said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences. We are bracing ourselves for report cards on Monday and I think we are going to have to make an appointment to discuss Claire's progress. I hope now that you are on the same page, everyone carries out their responsibilities!