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#1 imagine.more

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 10:20 PM

We're trying out the local public high school for Ana, 15, 9th grade, this year. However, we're already running into snags. 

 

She's got all sorts of diagnoses, including Mild ID, Profound hearing impairment in both ears, Dyslexia, MERLD, and ADHD. On top of just being adopted and having a few difficulties from the poor upbringing, followed by trauma of separation, and then trying to process all this as a teen.

 

But the school so far is acting as if all this is no.big.deal. They have put her in Algebra I for math right away. They have a block schedule where each class is just one semester. So she'll have 4 classes this semester, then 4 new ones next semester. Which means theoretically kids could go 6+ months with zero math or english. NOT a good idea for a kid with a memory in the <1st percentile! 

 

She presents as a typical, if naive, teen. She's cute, sweet, and socially adept enough to navigate situations. But all this falls apart if you ask her to do a difficult task or learn anything new. 

 

In particular, her math teacher today at the open house was insisting that she'll pass Algebra I because "we don't fail kids unless they don't show up".....so basically she won't understand but they'll give her a passing grade anyway???? Also, she was all "Oh, the graphing calculator will be no big deal if she has a smart phone!" Except Ana doesn't have a cell phone. She doesn't understand email very well despite me teaching her over and over. She can email now. But Facebook was a bust (she can't even find her friends on there, doesn't understand how to use it, etc), and Instagram was as well (she thought the internet existed on only one computer so created multiple accounts....none of which she knew how to upload a picture to). 

 

How do you make the admin/teachers understand? I try to be positive and I don't like to tell just anyone in real life all of Ana's learning struggles. People know she has dyslexia and memory issues and hearing aids. That's about it. But these teachers need to get that she is not a typical high schooler. And if they just pass her along without her understanding anything it won't help her. This school basically has regular education inclusion, which seem way too high level for her, or an isolated special ed that learns life skills which they say, and I agree, is not appropriate for her. 

 

For those familiar with IEP's, how did you make it clear what your child's disabilities were ahead of time when the school seemed resistant? What kinds of accommodations did you find most helpful? 



#2 OhElizabeth

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 10:42 PM

Oh dear. I haven't done high school IEPs, but I guess my first thing is to question why they're saying the special ed path DOESN'T fit her. She sure doesn't sound like she's fitting with inclusion. What is supposed to follow up this 9th gr algebra one that they warmbody her through? 

 

Do you have another district option? Is there a vocational school she could go into by her junior year?

 

Did they actually do evals and write an IEP? Or is their plan to let her fail and THEN do evals and write one?


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#3 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 10:58 PM

Wow.  Just Wow.

 

I agree with OhE, I'm not clear on the details and I think details will help us help you.  Did they actually already do an IEP?  Has there already been a meeting with the teachers for that IEP?  Or were you just casually mentioning some of her issues during some sort of open house?  Is the school planning to start the IEP process after school is underway?  Or...?  Sorry, I'm just trying to understand the context of the conversation and what has actually already been done so we can better assist you.  

 

And hugs to you.  I know this has been a challenging journey for you and your daughter.

 

I agree, the schedule sounds like utter garbage for your child.  And the fact that they are just going to let her drift through Algebra 1 as long as she is a warm body in a chair is unconscionable.  Do they not offer ANY sort of math remediation?  As OhE said, what are they expecting her to do for the math classes beyond Algebra I?  They are basically saying they don't give a crap about her, they just want her in her chair so they can count her present and get paid for her existence.  I would be horrified.  I'm so sorry you are facing this.

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:



#4 OhElizabeth

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 11:05 PM

Cha-ching, and then the truth comes out. That ps gets money for her being there, whether they give her good service or not.

 

My ds has an IEP, and I actually don't think as entirely negatively of the ps system as I'm making it sound. However, best as I can tell, the set-ups at some schools are just not going to fit certain kids. Also, some school SN coors have a really strong bent toward blowing off people and having them enroll for a grading period before doing anything or evaling for an IEP. 

 

So that's where you might need to know what other options you have, what other schools, or how long this would be this way.


Edited by OhElizabeth, 09 August 2017 - 11:07 PM.

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#5 Lecka

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 05:29 AM

I am going to be honest and say we got lucky with where we used to live.

Where we live now I looked into it and chose where to live based on special education services.

To be the most cynical... live someplace where the school district has already been sued and gotten their act together.

Then what happens is people like me move to the district that already has its act together and surrounding districts have people move into it instead of getting fed up and suing.

But to answer your question -- I think start with a private eval, maybe an advocate, and if you don't like what is on the IEP then don't sign it. They are not doing what they are supposed to do for the IEP, but yet it is clearly what they are used to doing.

I think read the Wrightslaw book From Emotions to Advocacy and do your best.

I also think a good social experience counts for a lot. And increased independence. These sound like they will be great benefits. But yeah it can't come at the expense of academics and life skills either.... Because keep in mind maybe she does need some life skills in her IEP even if she shouldn't only do life skills. But every bit of math and reading skill will help her in her life, too.

Edit: also don't worry so much about the Algebra I teacher, worry about the case manager for her IEP. Regular education teachers frequently don't know the ins and outs of what the special education students do even with -- well, my experience is not with full inclusion. But at least with partial inclusion the regular education teacher could see it that way from her perspective, but maybe there really is more than what she is aware of.

Edited by Lecka, 10 August 2017 - 05:33 AM.

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#6 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 07:12 AM

I am going to be honest and say we got lucky with where we used to live.

Where we live now I looked into it and chose where to live based on special education services.

To be the most cynical... live someplace where the school district has already been sued and gotten their act together.

Then what happens is people like me move to the district that already has its act together and surrounding districts have people move into it instead of getting fed up and suing.

But to answer your question -- I think start with a private eval, maybe an advocate, and if you don't like what is on the IEP then don't sign it. They are not doing what they are supposed to do for the IEP, but yet it is clearly what they are used to doing.

I think read the Wrightslaw book From Emotions to Advocacy and do your best.

I also think a good social experience counts for a lot. And increased independence. These sound like they will be great benefits. But yeah it can't come at the expense of academics and life skills either.... Because keep in mind maybe she does need some life skills in her IEP even if she shouldn't only do life skills. But every bit of math and reading skill will help her in her life, too.

Edit: also don't worry so much about the Algebra I teacher, worry about the case manager for her IEP. Regular education teachers frequently don't know the ins and outs of what the special education students do even with -- well, my experience is not with full inclusion. But at least with partial inclusion the regular education teacher could see it that way from her perspective, but maybe there really is more than what she is aware of.


Lecka I had to smile when I read your post. The private evaluator that finally diagnosed the kids with dyslexia (after the school eval netted no useful results) told us our best option for getting the kids the help they needed was to sue the school district. She was very blunt that the kids would get no useful help in the local school district regardless of her evaluation or an IEP. Having my teacher SIL (as well as friends and other family members) struggling to get her own son help in the same system and failing miserably year after year made it abundantly clear to me the evaluator was right. We chose to homeschool instead but I do wish I'd been a lawyer with a lot of money so someone could have finally shifted the negative dynamic here.
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#7 Lecka

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 08:09 AM

I almost forgot too, a school board member who has a grandchild with special needs can also go a long way.

Staff who know they are in a doing-things-wrong district tend to leave for another district, too, and remaining staff don't know any better.

I have talked to people who spent a couple of years in a difficult school distict until they gave up and took a different job, but feel like they are helping kids who would be helped anyway.

Edited by Lecka, 10 August 2017 - 08:10 AM.

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#8 Lecka

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 08:40 AM

We aren't really living where we want to live, here. And now we are driving into the community where we would have lived, for church!

It is a small price to pay to have good services and even be close to speech therapy, but when we go to church I am thinking "it seems nice here" and then the other people at church live there and their kids are in those schools, where we "would" be, too.

The unexpected benefit is for my older son, the district we are in does the Google Chrome thing where almost everything is typed, and it is amazing for him. The other school district is starting it but doesn't have it going full steam yet. So that is the bright side, but we are in a bit more rural and a bit rougher area than what we "would" be in, and there were very few houses on the market when we moved and we live near train tracks.

But my younger son is doing good, so that I think it has been the right decision. But I don't like being in the situation at all.

The "other" school district has a great reputation, too, in many areas, even better than where we are at, but regardless of my other kids' needs we have to go by what is best for my younger son..... because when he is not doing well it is too much.
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#9 OhElizabeth

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 09:09 AM

Lecka, I could drive 40 minutes to a school district that has it all (properly trained teachers AND nice schools AND nice community AND...) but the taxes there are through the roof.



#10 Lecka

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 09:20 AM

Good luck, imagine.more, I hope it will go really well! And keep in mind you can make adjustments, too, if you end up "giving things a try" and then they don't go well. You can bring that up as a reason to do something else.
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#11 Lecka

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 09:23 AM

Oh, ironically the taxes are less where we are compared to the other district, because we live out of town. It is down to individual houses in a lot of ways and whether or not they are in town and I am not even sure... but I think the school taxes are the same either place and then it depends on being in town or not. I'm not completely sure.

It is different here because we live by a military base and most of the kids in the school district we are in live on post. But we didn't live on post here for various reasons and one is that some of the on post housing goes to the other school district, and we weren't sure we would get a choice on that. We might have but overall wanted to live off post.

We are in a different situation in a lot of ways but we are at the point we would in general move and pay more if we could. But he cannot participate in as much and it limits a lot of options, unfortunately. But he is also making a lot of progress and I am optimistic about that changing go forward.

His interaction is limited in a way where he really benefits from public school right now. It takes a lot to help make interaction happen for him!!!!!! But he is making progress on it.

Edited by Lecka, 10 August 2017 - 09:29 AM.

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#12 Alessandra

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 09:28 AM

I'm not sure how much help I can be, as our schools are good with special needs. Many new kids come to the high school each year, from other districts or other countries. They get an IEP in place before school starts. Kids could be mainly in a general classroom with support, or in a self contained LLD (language learning disabled) class, or a self contained ASD class, or out of district in a dedicated special needs school. I know people who have come from a foreign country and had their kids a placement out of district right away, if kid needed it. Btw, self contained does not mean walled off -- some kids are in the self contained classes for only a few subjects.

The Algebra placement is concerning. Doesn't the school offer prealgebra at least? Block scheduling is also a negative, imo -- too much change.

Do you have an IEP at this point? I wasn't sure from your post. And, for the ID diagnosis, do *you* have an actual copy of, say, a test wth scores and narrative?

In your position, I would want to know what types of classes are available. Is there something that would fit your dd, in which case you would try for that. Or does the school have nothing?

One source of information can be a local advocacy group. Autism groups are often very active, and helpful even if ASD is not your diagnosis. Another way to connect with parents is to see if there are any Challenger or special needs sports groups or other classes. JCCs, Jewish Community Centers often have excellent programs for special needs, typically waiving any membership fees for kids in those programs, and are another good networking source. You can also usually find a list of approved special needs schools on your state ed dept website.

I guess what I am saying is that you have to familiarize yourself with what is available. Your school may or may not have in district classes for you, but there should be programs somewhere. Of course, I don't know where are -- rural Alaska will obviously have different resources than a state like Nj.

I second pp's recommendation of WrightsLaw. You could also look into hiring an advocate (as opposed to attorney).
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#13 Lecka

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 09:37 AM

Where I have moved to there are advocates available at the county level. If it is a possibility I would go for it!

I think also -- think of what your daughter's most important needs and goals are. You can be flexible on how to meet them if the school wants to meet them in a way that is acceptable but wasn't your idea going in.

But if they don't seem to address what you think are the main needs and goals then focus on that.

And especially if you have paperwork supporting those main goals and needs then that hopefully will be helpful.

I am assuming you have given them something in writing saying your daughter needs services... this should lead to you having a contact person for the IEP. That is really helpful if that person and you are on the same page. It will matter more than what random people at school say.
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#14 Ravin

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 10:50 AM

We're trying out the local public high school for Ana, 15, 9th grade, this year. However, we're already running into snags. 

 

She's got all sorts of diagnoses, including Mild ID, Profound hearing impairment in both ears, Dyslexia, MERLD, and ADHD. On top of just being adopted and having a few difficulties from the poor upbringing, followed by trauma of separation, and then trying to process all this as a teen.

 

But the school so far is acting as if all this is no.big.deal. They have put her in Algebra I for math right away. They have a block schedule where each class is just one semester. So she'll have 4 classes this semester, then 4 new ones next semester. Which means theoretically kids could go 6+ months with zero math or english. NOT a good idea for a kid with a memory in the <1st percentile! 

 

She presents as a typical, if naive, teen. She's cute, sweet, and socially adept enough to navigate situations. But all this falls apart if you ask her to do a difficult task or learn anything new. 

 

In particular, her math teacher today at the open house was insisting that she'll pass Algebra I because "we don't fail kids unless they don't show up".....so basically she won't understand but they'll give her a passing grade anyway???? Also, she was all "Oh, the graphing calculator will be no big deal if she has a smart phone!" Except Ana doesn't have a cell phone. She doesn't understand email very well despite me teaching her over and over. She can email now. But Facebook was a bust (she can't even find her friends on there, doesn't understand how to use it, etc), and Instagram was as well (she thought the internet existed on only one computer so created multiple accounts....none of which she knew how to upload a picture to). 

 

How do you make the admin/teachers understand? I try to be positive and I don't like to tell just anyone in real life all of Ana's learning struggles. People know she has dyslexia and memory issues and hearing aids. That's about it. But these teachers need to get that she is not a typical high schooler. And if they just pass her along without her understanding anything it won't help her. This school basically has regular education inclusion, which seem way too high level for her, or an isolated special ed that learns life skills which they say, and I agree, is not appropriate for her. 

 

For those familiar with IEP's, how did you make it clear what your child's disabilities were ahead of time when the school seemed resistant? What kinds of accommodations did you find most helpful? 

 

After the experience we had with dragged out processes, in your shoes I would make a demand, in writing, for immediate evaluation for 504 and IEP plans. Provide documentation of diagnoses and past testing with the letter to expedite getting the ball rolling. You need to do this formally, don't let them drag out casual "observation" or inappropriate classroom placements. 


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#15 Heathermomster

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 11:14 AM

http://millermom.proboards.com/

This board is filled with moms who have undergone the IEP process.
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#16 coastalfam

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 11:49 AM

Oh dear, this is why we homeschool. IEP's and dealing with schools is such bull you-know-what. Sorry. It is just a huge struggle, and yet it is law, so it should not be. Us parents should not be the ones policing schools, but we are. And it is hard. I completely respect your choice to do public with your daughter. I am not knocking that at all. We all have to do what works for your children and our unique situations. I wish our experience had been more positive.

 

I think a couple things it is important to realize is they are not going to willingly offer your daughter all kinds of supports and services. They are not even going to let you know what the possibilities are, and likely, even if a teacher sees a need, it would be against policy for the teacher to speak to you about it. That costs them money. My son has Down syndrome (so you would think it would be obvious he needs supports and services just on stereotypes alone), and his school basically popped him in where it was convenient, and did not offer services until he was obviously failing... in Kindergarten. So, as the parent your job is to research what services will support your daughter, and what classes are appropriate and what modifications are needed within each class, then put in writing (everything MUST ALWAYS be in writing, or they will ignore like it never happened) what your daughter requires to be able to "access the curriculum" and to be provided a "Free and Appropriate Public Education". Get some books on special education, and IEP's--Wrights Law has some good ones. Learn the lingo and how to write an effective letter. Learn your rights.  Learn how to request evaluations. Meet the other parents in the school who have children with disabilities, and find out what they have asked for. And then don't rely on the school to act in your daughter's interest without your insistence, again, in writing. If you want to be sure something is happening for her at school, then it must be IN THE IEP. If it is not, it is not their responsibility to enact it. If it is, then you can hold them legally responsible to provide what is in it. Be polite, but very, very firm. Good luck. Take care of yourself this year. <3


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#17 imagine.more

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 01:11 PM

So we talked with the school starting in May. They assured us they'd use summer to get her all set up. They did do a speech eval and neuropsych testing (cognitive and academic tests with the psychologist and adaptive behavior survey for me to full out). But then they spring on us that we won't get those results until Aug 25th and then an eligibility meeting Aug 29, then an IEP meeting 30 days from there!! Not cool. They did agree to do an SST meeting, like an informal non-binding IEP, on Monday before school starts but still, I am annoyed.

I talked with another homeschool mom whose older son is attending this school and she said they were given a huge run-around too. Also, they apparently have a no-fail policy that they keep secret. No test grade can be below 50% no matter what percentage the student actually got wrong.

I'm debating insisting that she will not start school until an IEP is in place.

#18 Crimson Wife

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 01:38 PM

When our district went to Common Core a few years ago, they eliminated all the remedial math courses (as well as the accelerated track but that's a different thread) and added a 2nd period of "math support" for SPED students. So everyone takes Algebra 1 in 9th and those who need remediation get an additional period of "Algebra 1 support".

 

It sounds to me like an exercise in total frustration both for the students who really should be in remedial math and not sitting through a mixed-ability Algebra 1 course AND the poor general ed teachers trying to teach everyone from SPED kids to the kids who would've previously been in the accelerated track. I'm not sure what happens when the kids who are behind can't pass the state Algebra 1 exam (because they haven't mastered the foundational skills). Do they just keep taking Algebra 1 year after year until they finally either pass or drop out of school entirely?

 


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#19 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 01:39 PM

So we talked with the school starting in May. They assured us they'd use summer to get her all set up. They did do a speech eval and neuropsych testing (cognitive and academic tests with the psychologist and adaptive behavior survey for me to full out). But then they spring on us that we won't get those results until Aug 25th and then an eligibility meeting Aug 29, then an IEP meeting 30 days from there!! Not cool. They did agree to do an SST meeting, like an informal non-binding IEP, on Monday before school starts but still, I am annoyed.

I talked with another homeschool mom whose older son is attending this school and she said they were given a huge run-around too. Also, they apparently have a no-fail policy that they keep secret. No test grade can be below 50% no matter what percentage the student actually got wrong.

I'm debating insisting that she will not start school until an IEP is in place.

Ugh, how frustrating!  Huge hugs.



#20 Lecka

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 02:10 PM

I think I would try to look at when you requested the stuff. If you requested in writing do you know when you did that?

If not I think request in writing immediately and note that you already made the requests and think your IEP meeting needs to happen faster.

I think sometimes if you show "yeah, I look things up, yeah I am going to put things in writing," it gets them to take you more seriously. Bc for all they know you will go along with what they suggest.

I think you could do more or different; this is just my idea -- see what other people say :)
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#21 OhElizabeth

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 02:22 PM

They violated the legal timeline for the IEP process, but the question is whether they ASKED about finishing in the fall or told you. Look at your paperwork. Call your state board of ed and file a process complaint. Complain in writing to the school saying that you were looking over the IEP timeline and realizing they failed to comply. 

 

They're screwing you because they get away with it. Federal law doesn't say they get a summer break. The timeline still applied.


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#22 Alessandra

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 02:31 PM

So we talked with the school starting in May. They assured us they'd use summer to get her all set up. They did do a speech eval and neuropsych testing (cognitive and academic tests with the psychologist and adaptive behavior survey for me to full out). But then they spring on us that we won't get those results until Aug 25th and then an eligibility meeting Aug 29, then an IEP meeting 30 days from there!! Not cool. They did agree to do an SST meeting, like an informal non-binding IEP, on Monday before school starts but still, I am annoyed.

I talked with another homeschool mom whose older son is attending this school and she said they were given a huge run-around too. Also, they apparently have a no-fail policy that they keep secret. No test grade can be below 50% no matter what percentage the student actually got wrong.

I'm debating insisting that she will not start school until an IEP is in place.

Oh, you *talked* to them? That doesn't count. Get the WrightsLaw book yesterday. It's so easy to use -- sample letters you can use and so. Examples of both how and how not to navigate system.

As you say, keeping child out of school for now is an option, if you can do it. If she has low cognitive skills, a regular algebra class could be torture. You know her abilities, but if you think a class will be WAY above her capabilities, there could be a cascading series of events, starting with depression and going on from there. Obviously, I don't know what your dd is capable of, but I would not put my child in a situation that I strongly believed was unworkable.

The fact that the school did not ask you to make a formal request for an eligibility meeting, followed by IEP meeting, is not a good sign, imo. It does not sound -- to me -- as though they will step up to the plate and help your dd.

I am in a good district, but I have friends in districts that are not so responsive. They have used a range of options, from simply doing the paperwork in the right way to getting an attorney.

ETA

http://www.wrightsla.../11/nl.0830.htm

Sample letter, scroll down:

http://www.wrightsla...ng-eligibility/

Edited by Alessandra, 10 August 2017 - 02:38 PM.

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#23 Lecka

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 02:33 PM

I think also you need to start sending email summaries after you have a conversation. Maybe written, I don't know. I keep email chains and then I have a record.

So I get these messages back and forth where one of us is saying "it was so nice when we discussed x y z."

What happens is we discuss something, but is it agreed? Is it going to happen? Or did we just discuss it but maybe it isn't agreed, and maybe there will be no follow through?

So this is where emails come in.

I had a phase where I wanted stuff added to the IEP, but right now I feel like the email chain goes a long way.

I also don't know that I would definitely do this, but you can cc someone else at the school.

But when you have your email chain and think you have agreed to it, and sent the email saying "it was great we talked and agreed to try or do a b c," then you can potentially forward that email chain on, too.

Honestly though I have had people easy to work with for 99%.

It is just inherent I think when kids are not fitting into the mold and different things are needed, that there are moving pieces and things where a parent wants something different at times.
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#24 Lecka

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 02:37 PM

It feels like you wouldn't need to do this rigamarole, but I think it goes a long way.

And it really isn't so bad. You get used to it.

Granted I have never come near "getting a lawyer" territory and with the rigamarole have found things go pretty well.

Without the rigamarole it is hard to have follow up and things that are discussed that I think are going to be followed up on, turn out to be just like a conversation and not like a real decision.

Edited by Lecka, 10 August 2017 - 02:39 PM.


#25 Storygirl

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 09:37 PM

When our district went to Common Core a few years ago, they eliminated all the remedial math courses (as well as the accelerated track but that's a different thread) and added a 2nd period of "math support" for SPED students. So everyone takes Algebra 1 in 9th and those who need remediation get an additional period of "Algebra 1 support".

 

It sounds to me like an exercise in total frustration both for the students who really should be in remedial math and not sitting through a mixed-ability Algebra 1 course AND the poor general ed teachers trying to teach everyone from SPED kids to the kids who would've previously been in the accelerated track. I'm not sure what happens when the kids who are behind can't pass the state Algebra 1 exam (because they haven't mastered the foundational skills). Do they just keep taking Algebra 1 year after year until they finally either pass or drop out of school entirely?

 

We toured some public high schools this past spring, exploring in advance for DS13, who is starting 7th grade. We have decided that we will most likely be moving to a different district; our current district would be *okay* but a nearby district will (we believe) offer *good* services, and the difference is enough for us to uproot our family and move 25 minutes away.

 

One thing we learned is that high schools will deal with the end of course exams in different ways. OP, do you know if there are end of course algebra exams in your state? Two of the schools said that even though when they knew a student couldn't pass the exam, they would still have to take it, but then be exempt from failing. So they would take it once and get credit for the exam for graduation requirements, even if they didn't pass. Both of these schools offer a prealgebra or math resource room class.

 

The third school said that everyone takes algebra 1 in ninth grade, no matter what. They do offer a math intervention study hall, in addition, and have an intervention teacher in the math classroom. But it's still algebra 1, not pre-algebra, for everyone. If the student fails the state end of course exam in this district, they have to take it a second time the next year (but after moving on to geometry, I assume). If they fail it twice, THEN the school forms an alternate plan for that student.

 

This same school talked up their Pass-Fail option as a great thing. They put students into the general classroom that they know won't be able to master the material, and they grade them Pass-Fail, so that they can list the course on the transcript as completed. They talked about this as a really great option :confused1: . Also, they remove interventionists from the classrooms in 11th and 12th grades, because they expect that students need to be able to work independently by then, in preparation for college.

 

I was NOT impressed with their system. And this school is supposed to be one of the better choices if your child needs intervention support. (To give them their due, I think they may do a good job with dyslexia -- they have made a point to train many teachers in OG, through all grade levels, which might be good for DD12 with dyslexia, but is not helpful for DS13, who needs more help overall).

 

These are all districts in the greater suburban area around our city. What they offer varies greatly.


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#26 Storygirl

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 09:51 PM

OP, I really agree with the others about the IEP thing. Here are the federal guidelines that all school districts must follow (or they can have their own guidelines, but they can't be worse):

 

Step 1 --Teacher or parent makes a written request for evaluations, due to suspected disability. From the date that letter/document is received by the school, the school has 30 DAYS to decide whether or not they will run the evaluations.

 

Step 2 -- If they decide there is evidence of disability and evaluations need to happen, they have 60 DAYS to run the tests and present the results to the parents at the eligibility meeting. (They can decide an IEP is not needed if test results do not show disability).

 

Step 3 -- They have 30 DAYS to write the IEP and have a meeting with the parents to sign it.

 

It sounds like you are in between Step 2 and 3.

 

So the first question is whether your request was in writing, because if so, you may be able to prove that they have taken longer than federal law requires for STEP 2. That 60 days is 60 calendar days, not working days or days when school is in session.

 

***You should have a document that you signed, agreeing to the evaluations and listing the areas that will be tested. The date on that form is the date that the 60 days of Step 2 started. CHECK YOUR PAPERWORK.

 

They are correct that they have 30 days from the eligibility meeting to write up the IEP.

 

However, they do not have to take all 30 days. You could ask for them to combine the eligibility meeting and the IEP meeting together, having them back to back, if it looks obvious to all that she will qualify for an IEP.

 

The school may not agree to that, but you can ask, saying that it is better for all involved if her class placement is determined as close to the beginning of the school year as possible.

 

 

ETA: Just to be clear, the federal law does not actually label that process Step 1, 2, 3. I did that for clarity in this post.


Edited by Storygirl, 10 August 2017 - 10:03 PM.


#27 Storygirl

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 10:00 PM

That block schedule would be horrible for my kids as well. I would make a point to discuss that.

 

Schools here have to offer Extended School Year in the summer for kids who will forget material if they don't keep practicing it. That is just for two or three months in the summer. You are talking about having no math (and no language arts?) from January to August? That's crazy!!

 

Is it possible that math and language arts are taught year round, and the other courses are on a block schedule? Is there a whole-year math option that they maybe don't talk about much, but they will admit to if you press? They are required to put the child in the Least Restrictive Environment, which schools interpret to mean the general classroom, so they might just present that as the standard option, even if there are some other things they offer to kids who need it.

 

Do they at least offer a math intervention study hall, so that she would have two periods to work on math?

 

I get so frustrated about the everyone-does-algebra system. Some kids are just not ready for algebra, and they won't be able to learn the material, so why should they have to sit there in the class? Ugh. (Math disability is one of things we deal with, in case you can't tell).



#28 Alessandra

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 10:05 PM

We toured some public high schools this past spring, exploring in advance for DS13, who is starting 7th grade. We have decided that we will most likely be moving to a different district; our current district would be *okay* but a nearby district will (we believe) offer *good* services, and the difference is enough for us to uproot our family and move 25 minutes away.

One thing we learned is that high schools will deal with the end of course exams in different ways. OP, do you know if there are end of course algebra exams in your state? Two of the schools said that even though when they knew a student couldn't pass the exam, they would still have to take it, but then be exempt from failing. So they would take it once and get credit for the exam for graduation requirements, even if they didn't pass. Both of these schools offer a prealgebra or math resource room class.

The third school said that everyone takes algebra 1 in ninth grade, no matter what. They do offer a math intervention study hall, in addition, and have an intervention teacher in the math classroom. But it's still algebra 1, not pre-algebra, for everyone. If the student fails the state end of course exam in this district, they have to take it a second time the next year (but after moving on to geometry, I assume). If they fail it twice, THEN the school forms an alternate plan for that student.

This same school talked up their Pass-Fail option as a great thing. They put students into the general classroom that they know won't be able to master the material, and they grade them Pass-Fail, so that they can list the course on the transcript as completed. They talked about this as a really great option :confused1: . Also, they remove interventionists from the classrooms in 11th and 12th grades, because they expect that students need to be able to work independently by then, in preparation for college.

I was NOT impressed with their system. And this school is supposed to be one of the better choices if your child needs intervention support. (To give them their due, I think they may do a good job with dyslexia -- they have made a point to train many teachers in OG, through all grade levels, which might be good for DD12 with dyslexia, but is not helpful for DS13, who needs more help overall).

These are all districts in the greater suburban area around our city. What they offer varies greatly.

We are also in suburbs near a city. A lot of the good schools are fairly similar, because they actually tend to model new program on nearby ones that have proved successful. Then there are medium schools -- decent for typical kids, but stingy about special needs (even though sn are largely funded through state). And finally, the not very good districts -- to be fair, many of these have a lot on their plates, dealing with challenging populations. Lawsuits help here.

The good schools in our area generally have three streams -- general, contained classroom language based special needs, and contained classroom autism based special needs. But it's pretty fluid, and students are placed in regular classrooms for some subjects if it works for them. Someone with an IEP could be in a regular class, with a shared aide, plus resource room for elementary or a slightly slower pace class for high school. The self contained classes do the same subjects, but adapted curriculum. It's sort of complicated because there are a lot of choices.

Math in high school has a prealgebra option in the general classroom, but differently taught math in the self contained class. It may be called algebra, but if kids need a review of fractions, for example, that will happen. No rushing, very individualized. My dd would get her own custom made homework, not just General hw with half the problems crossed out. :-(

Districts is my state are tiny, so there are a lot of private schools. Most districts do not accommodate kids with severe emotional disturbances or severe autism. And most parents I know love their out of district schools. I have seen shelves of curricula in these schools -- teachers can pick a program to suit an individual student.

Tests for graduation. My advice for op is to read state education department's website thoroughly and keep up with the news. Our state adopted the abysmal travesty known ac PARCC, but it looks as though that may fade away with a new governor. Our family has refused the tests.

Here is link to a profoundly moving video about the Florida alternative assessment. Scroll down and click on the first link.

http://www.nea.org/home/58242.htm

Edited by Alessandra, 10 August 2017 - 10:17 PM.

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#29 imagine.more

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 10:15 PM

That block schedule would be horrible for my kids as well. I would make a point to discuss that.

Schools here have to offer Extended School Year in the summer for kids who will forget material if they don't keep practicing it. That is just for two or three months in the summer. You are talking about having no math (and no language arts?) from January to August? That's crazy!!

Is it possible that math and language arts are taught year round, and the other courses are on a block schedule? Is there a whole-year math option that they maybe don't talk about much, but they will admit to if you press? They are required to put the child in the Least Restrictive Environment, which schools interpret to mean the general classroom, so they might just present that as the standard option, even if there are some other things they offer to kids who need it.

Do they at least offer a math intervention study hall, so that she would have two periods to work on math?

I get so frustrated about the everyone-does-algebra system. Some kids are just not ready for algebra, and they won't be able to learn the material, so why should they have to sit there in the class? Ugh. (Math disability is one of things we deal with, in case you can't tell).

I've asked multiple times for an alternative to the block schedule and they just keep repeating that "she'll do fine" to which I roll my eyes. They really do it for all subjects, even math and language arts. It's crazy!

And I totally agree about the "algebra for everyone in ninth grade" nonsense. They used to offer study hall but no longer so it would be just the regular class.

Oh, and summer school here is only to retake failed courses. They said there was nothing for kids like her who tend to slide over the summer and she isn't even 'allowed' to do summer school until/unless she fails a course, then she can retake that course.

Edited by imagine.more, 10 August 2017 - 10:19 PM.


#30 imagine.more

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 10:23 PM

We are also in suburbs near a city. A lot of the good schools are fairly similar, because they actually tend to model new program on nearby ones that have proved successful. Then there are medium schools -- decent for typical kids, but stingy about special needs (even though sn are largely funded through state). And finally, the not very good districts -- to be fair, many of these have a lot on their plates, dealing with challenging populations. Lawsuits help here.

The good schools in our area generally have three streams -- general, contained classroom language based special needs, and contained classroom autism based special needs. But it's pretty fluid, and students are placed in regular classrooms for some subjects if it works for them. Someone with an IEP could be in a regular class, with a shared aide, plus resource room for elementary or a slightly slower pace class for high school. The self contained classes do the same subjects, but adapted curriculum. It's sort of complicated because there are a lot of choices.

Math in high school has a prealgebra option in the general classroom, but differently taught math in the self contained class. It may be called algebra, but if kids need a review of fractions, for example, that will happen. No rushing, very individualized. My dd would get her own custom made homework, not just General hw with half the problems crossed out. :-(

Districts is my state are tiny, so there are a lot of private schools. Most districts do not accommodate kids with severe emotional disturbances or severe autism. And most parents I know love their out of district schools. I have seen shelves of curricula in these schools -- teachers can pick a program to suit an individual student.

Tests for graduation. My advice for op is to read state education department's website thoroughly and keep up with the news. Our state adopted the abysmal travesty known ac PARCC, but it looks as though that may fade away with a new governor. Our family has refused the tests.

Here is link to a profoundly moving video about the Florida alternative assessment. Scroll down and click on the first link.

http://www.nea.org/home/58242.htm


We're in Virginia so here they have the SOL's (funniest acronym ever for a graduation test). Students have to pass an SOL in Algebra, then an English one in 11th, and I think either a science or history one too. There is no way Ana could pass an Algebra SOL this year as expected and she will never pass an English SOL in my opinion because of her language disorders. Her language is still that of a 2nd grader at 15. She still mixes up subject verb agreement and struggles to write sentences that make sense or identify a verb vs adverb.
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#31 Storygirl

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 10:30 PM

:grouphug:



#32 Alessandra

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 10:34 PM

We're in Virginia so here they have the SOL's (funniest acronym ever for a graduation test). Students have to pass an SOL in Algebra, then an English one in 11th, and I think either a science or history one too. There is no way Ana could pass an Algebra SOL this year as expected and she will never pass an English SOL in my opinion because of her language disorders. Her language is still that of a 2nd grader at 15. She still mixes up subject verb agreement and struggles to write sentences that make sense or identify a verb vs adverb.


Utter idiocy. The tests, not your dd.

Edited by Alessandra, 10 August 2017 - 10:35 PM.


#33 Storygirl

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 11:31 PM

Perhaps you have done so, but make sure you ask what happens when she cannot pass the end of course exams. Will she get a diploma? Will it just be a certificate of attendance?

 

We have a friend who just learned that his 17 year old (in life skills level resource classes) will not be getting a real diploma when he graduates in two years, and it was a shock for the dad.



#34 Nart

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 11:55 PM

What stood out to me in her list of impairments is the profound hearing loss. How is the district addressing this? Is a sped teacher with a credential in deaf/hard of hearing involved in the assessment? It isn't surprising that someone with profound hearing loss has difficulty reading, MERLD, and difficulty sustaining attention. Are you even sure the mild ID label is correct? Did the assessor have experience with kids with profound hearing loss.
Here is a link to the Virgina school for blind and deaf. Maybe contact them?
https://www.vsdb.k12...deaf-resources/
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#35 Alessandra

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 04:54 AM

Link to VA special ed. Scroll down for link to evaluation and eligibility section.

http://www.doe.virgi...gov/special_ed/

Link to VA parent guide, very helpful, imo.

http://www.doe.virgi...rents_guide.pdf

Edited by Alessandra, 11 August 2017 - 04:59 AM.


#36 Lecka

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 05:43 AM

I am pretty sure ESY (Extended School Year) is in IDEA.

My understanding is that to qualify, you (you and the school, the school) document regression.

Where we moved from they were having funding issues and were documenting regression over Christmas break to be ready to qualify for ESY in the summer.

For next year, ask early in the year, before Christmas, about qualifying for and documenting for ESY.

Here it seems to be automatic that kids in my son's placement qualify for ESY.

My hope for you is that you are talking so far to people who don't know what is offered to kids on IEPs. I hear ridiculous statements about "we don't have this" and "everybody does this." They just don't know what special needs kids in their own building are doing. And partly this is because of privacy concerns. They are taken very seriously.

For example -- maybe your district pays to bus kids into another district for ESY. Where we lived before, it was like -- one district does ESY, one district does vo-tech, one district does drivers ed, and kids just go to the other district, and there is some sort of agreement or the one district passes their funding over to the other district for that period of time.

This is the kind of thing where less knowledgable people will say "we don't have that" and just not know that really their district is bussing 15 kids into the neighboring district in the summer.

I hope things go better when you have a contact person for the IEP. I will just say -- that is probably not the school psychologist. They are involved in a minor way once their evals are done. They don't come to every IEP meeting, and ime an eval or re-eval kind of IEP meeting is so busy, and usually not the right time of year, to be when ESY is discussed.

Just a heads up, if you don't want her to ride a bus during school, but maybe would want transportation for ESY, then ask at the IEP before you decline special bussing. I am never quite sure how that works and it can be changed, but in my old district they were always wanting me to have "yes" for special bussing even if we didn't use it.

Also -- I don't know all the ins and outs on summer school versus ESY especially for older kids. I see high school kids at my son's ESY here, and I don't think it is what you would want.

But I think there are other summer programs besides what my son is in. But his is set up like a day camp and they are going swimming and stuff, with just a bit of traditional school content. There are parents who turn it down because they would rather tutor their kids at home and do summer activities as a family. But I like it.
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#37 imagine.more

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 07:36 AM

What stood out to me in her list of impairments is the profound hearing loss. How is the district addressing this? Is a sped teacher with a credential in deaf/hard of hearing involved in the assessment? It isn't surprising that someone with profound hearing loss has difficulty reading, MERLD, and difficulty sustaining attention. Are you even sure the mild ID label is correct? Did the assessor have experience with kids with profound hearing loss.
Here is a link to the Virgina school for blind and deaf. Maybe contact them?
https://www.vsdb.k12...deaf-resources/


Yes, we've tried calling the deaf school multiple times. They don't answer or return calls it seems. Plus it's 1.5 hours away so she'd have to live on campus to attend.

And we do doubt the mild ID diagnosis because the assessor was inexperienced with deaf kids. We're planning to have her retested this year, hopefully at Kennedy Krieger which is only a couple hours away.

We have an appointment with the school on Monday to discuss accommodations and that meeting will focus on her hearing impairment and them putting in place the right technology, etc.
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#38 Alessandra

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 10:05 AM

Yes, we've tried calling the deaf school multiple times. They don't answer or return calls it seems. Plus it's 1.5 hours away so she'd have to live on campus to attend.

And we do doubt the mild ID diagnosis because the assessor was inexperienced with deaf kids. We're planning to have her retested this year, hopefully at Kennedy Krieger which is only a couple hours away.

We have an appointment with the school on Monday to discuss accommodations and that meeting will focus on her hearing impairment and them putting in place the right technology, etc.


At the risk of sounding like a broken record -- and you may have answered, but I missed it -- have you had your eligibility meeting and IEP conference yet?

And, if your dd has ID, she may need modifications as well as a accommodations.

You have a lot on your plate! Good luck!

#39 imagine.more

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 12:19 PM

At the risk of sounding like a broken record -- and you may have answered, but I missed it -- have you had your eligibility meeting and IEP conference yet?

And, if your dd has ID, she may need modifications as well as a accommodations.

You have a lot on your plate! Good luck!


No, that was part of my post earlier, the eligibility meeting isn't until aug 29 and the iep meeting would be within 30 days from that. That's a big part of our problem. I'm actually going to bring notes from our last meeting and nail them on the timeline thing too :)
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#40 OhElizabeth

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 12:44 PM

Why not write them now?? Why are you waiting?? 

 

When you let them wait, that shows you agree to want they want. If you try to file a due process complaint, they'll just say you went along with it...  You want to flip it and write an email and get it IN WRITING that they are violating the federal timeline and that you DON'T LIKE IT. If you wait until a meeting, you have no written record. You can create papertrail afterward, sure, but it's much easier to do it now. They might skitter a bit and change something.


Edited by OhElizabeth, 11 August 2017 - 12:45 PM.

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#41 Alessandra

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 01:30 PM

No, that was part of my post earlier, the eligibility meeting isn't until aug 29 and the iep meeting would be within 30 days from that. That's a big part of our problem. I'm actually going to bring notes from our last meeting and nail them on the timeline thing too :)

Oh, right, I found your post #17 with the details. Sorry! I once had a terrible case manager who delayed, but practical consequences were not significant as we were already in the syste. First, she asked me to sign something agreeing to a 30 day extension, which I did. Then... time dragged on and she asked if we could proceed without speech eval. Huh? I knew the evaluator was dd's regular speech therapist, case manager was just too lazy to call. Anyway I said no, and eval was done the next day. Thank goodness, our other case managers have been wonderful!

It's difficult to determine when you are being stepped on and when you are being so aggressive that everyone hates your child. When I was beginning, I found a wonderful advocate who would tell me what I should ask for (often things I had not thought of) and what was an unreasonable request, something no one ever gets. My advocate knew all the schools in my area and was well respected, which was an advantage.

If you cannot get an advocate, consider bringing another adult to the meeting. It helps to have an ally at the table.

ETA
It is extremely common to have eligibility and IEP scheduled back to back. The fact that your school is not doing this, considering school starts soon, is deeply alarming. Jmho.

Edited by Alessandra, 11 August 2017 - 01:42 PM.

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#42 Alessandra

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 01:40 PM

Why not write them now?? Why are you waiting??

When you let them wait, that shows you agree to want they want. If you try to file a due process complaint, they'll just say you went along with it... You want to flip it and write an email and get it IN WRITING that they are violating the federal timeline and that you DON'T LIKE IT. If you wait until a meeting, you have no written record. You can create papertrail afterward, sure, but it's much easier to do it now. They might skitter a bit and change something.


I put my requests in email, then attach a PDF letter with request (for easier printing). Then, I also prepare a hard copy. I usually hand deliver, but I think I have done some by certified mail.

Then there is the art of deciding who gets your correspondence -- case manager, special services director, principal in the building, district superintendent. I have called first to ask who should have a copy -- it is often not logical.

Due process is always possible, but (for op), be aware that most districts will have an attorney if complaint proceeds to a hearing, so you would want one too. $$$.

#43 imagine.more

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 02:46 PM

Why not write them now?? Why are you waiting??

When you let them wait, that shows you agree to want they want. If you try to file a due process complaint, they'll just say you went along with it... You want to flip it and write an email and get it IN WRITING that they are violating the federal timeline and that you DON'T LIKE IT. If you wait until a meeting, you have no written record. You can create papertrail afterward, sure, but it's much easier to do it now. They might skitter a bit and change something.


Good point to get it in writing but to whom? The school website is a joke, no useful contact info besides office phone. The meeting is on Monday though and I've been caught up with job interviews all week so I honestly just didn't have time.

#44 OhElizabeth

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 03:28 PM

We always have a person appointed as the coordinator, so that's the person I write for follow-up summary notes like Lecka was describing, etc. I only cc to someone else if I'm trying to escalate.



#45 Lecka

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 03:34 PM

I think Monday is pretty quick! Try to make sure who to talk to in the future when you see them on Monday :)

I wouldn't think it would be hard but we moved recently and the system here is set up differently.

But to some extent I think if you pick a reasonable person they will forward it to the right person.

Good luck on Monday!!!!! I hope it goes really well!!!!

#46 Crimson Wife

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 04:39 PM

Good point to get it in writing but to whom? The school website is a joke, no useful contact info besides office phone. The meeting is on Monday though and I've been caught up with job interviews all week so I honestly just didn't have time.

 

The district should have a Director of Special Education. If you can't find an email address, then faxing and sending the hard copy via mail still counts as written documentation.
 


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#47 Storygirl

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 05:28 PM

Since the meeting is on Monday, you can discuss the time line issues then. But WRITE up a letter expressing your concern that they are overlooking the federal guidelines for completing the evaluation process. I think you said they agreed in May to do it? And it is August now.... so it is already over 60 days. Give them the letter on Monday, in person. Do not just express your thoughts orally.

 

The eligibility meeting should have been within 60 days of the date of the Parent Consent for Evaluation form that you (should have) signed back in May.

 

(I say "should have," because I suppose it is possible that the school skipped the step of having you sign the form, in an attempt to keep things informal and off of the required time line. That would be cause for legal action against the school, though -- doing testing without signed consent from the parent --  so I doubt they skipped having you sign the consent form.)

 

If it has been more than 60 calendar days since you signed that form, and you have not agreed to an extension (such an agreement should have been in writing, if there was one), the school is in the wrong.

 

Sometimes parents kind of allow the school to take extra time over the summer, since school staffing is low. Some parents give the school a little leeway over the summer, if they don't want to be pushy and think that waiting until the beginning of the school year is not a big deal.

 

They may have assumed or counted on you being one of those parents. While granting the school extra time may be NICE, the school technically has to follow the law, and you can call them out on it. If they don't respond appropriately (perhaps by speeding up the remainder of the process, to make up for lost time), you could choose to file a complaint with the state department of education.

 

Be cautious, though, because if you did tell them, in writing or verbally, that you understood that things were slow over the summer, and that the evaluations would take extra time. Or if you agreed in May to the August dates.... They may be able to respond to a complaint by saying that you agreed to the delay.

 

Not saying that you did or did not. Just explaining how they may look at things.

 

It seems to me that you have reason to request to have the eligibility meeting moved up, since they are past the 30 days. They may say that they will not have the test scores prepared before then, but really, that is their problem to solve, not yours. You could respond with, "How can we make this happen within the legal time frame?" and throw the problem back in their court.

 

I would really push for the eligibility and IEP meeting to be on the same day. It is a completely reasonable request, considering that they have taken longer than they should have for the evaluation period.


Edited by Storygirl, 11 August 2017 - 05:29 PM.

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#48 Storygirl

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 05:32 PM

I think it would be wise for you to have an advocate with you for upcoming meetings. I'm sure it is too late to arrange one for Monday, but have one with you at the next meeting.

 

And does your husband go to the meetings? (assuming you are married). I highly recommend that you both go on Monday.


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#49 kbutton

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 10:32 AM

An advocate is a good idea. Bringing your DH is huge!