tagline
WETA

Search LD OnLine

Get our free newsletter

advertisement

Forums
Postsecondary Education

Procedural issues


Author Message
Joined: Nov 03, 2005
Posts: 69138
Other Topics
Posted May 21, 2001 at 7:33:57 PM
Subject: Procedural issues

I need to vent. I am looking for a little moral support. My son is in ninth grade at a junior high. He is very bright and has severe learning disablities. He has an IEP. He is currently taking honors English (grade: A) and honors social studies (grade: B). He applied for 10th grade honors block English/ Social studies at the local high school. He was turned down. We decided to appeal.

I am well acquainted with all his teachers. I communicate with all of them frequently. I am a very assertive, and I am also polite. I thought I had a good rapport with his current teachers. When he was rejected from the 10th grade honors program, I e-mailed his French told her what happened, what we planned to do and ask if she would be willing to make a statement on his behalf. I sent a similar message to his IEP provider/resource teacher. I did not get a response from either of them. I sent a message to his English because I wanted to make sure I understood what his grades are. She agreed to meet me.

When I got to school, theEnglish teacher, the French teacher, the resource teacher AND the principal were all waiting to meet me. I was flabbergasted. I know realize that every time I send an e-mail to a teacher it is forwarded to the principal. I feel like my privacy has been violated. I think it was at the very least, rude for 2 teachers not to respond and then show up at the meeting. That was only the beginning. The principal led the verbal attack by saying "What did you expect to accomplish by coming here today? This is an issue for the high school."

Am I wrong to expect responses? Can the principal demand that all a parent's e-mails be forwarded to her? I feel betrayed by teachers I always thought were supportive. Thanks for listening.

Back to top Profile Email
Anonymous
Joined Oct 21, 2014
Posts: 69138

Other Topics
Posted:May 21, 2001 10:10:12 PM

Your feelings of being betrayed are understandable but it might help to try not to see it that way. Issues between schools - between middle schools and high schools or any one school and another - are tricky. Schools and teachers like to maintain their working relationships with each other and so at times can be more supportive of each other than of their students and their parents.

The principal should not have spoken to you that way but sadly people do. In retrospect, one can think of a million good things to have said back to him but in the moment, it's hard not be flabbergasted especially when all you were asking for is really letters of support.

Let it be a lesson to you, however sad. Always know e-mails are public documents - yours to them and their's to you. Know that the best of teachers, including me, is still an employee of their school and would like to keep their job. Know also that it's unlikely you're going to get help and support from these teachers as you try to get your son in the Honors class no matter how supportive they've been in the past.

Your son's good grades should speak for themself. Take his transcript up to the high school. Visit the guidance counselor there and maybe even the teacher of the Honors course. Listen to their reasons for not allowing him in that class and ask yourself if they're good reasons. If they're not, don't give up if that's where you really want him. Keep on asking politely until they say yes.

Good luck.

Back to top Profile Email
Anonymous
Joined Oct 21, 2014
Posts: 69138

Other Topics
Posted:May 22, 2001 11:19:42 AM

Thank you for your calm, rational reply. I needed that. I really appreciate your taking the time to respond.

Back to top Profile Email
Anonymous
Joined Oct 21, 2014
Posts: 69138

Other Topics
Posted:May 24, 2001 12:53:34 PM

Take a deep breath and remember how much you both have accomplished so far.

Remember that schools are institutions that must speak with one voice and teachers must first be responsible for their own bread and butter.

I was not as successful as you have been.

So give yourself a big round of applause and try to figure out what is really going on here. Do they really believe an honors placement is wrong for your son, or are there budget or political considerations here. Services cost a district money. If they can place him so he will need less or none, that saves them money, at least in my state. Accommodations usually mean making teaching style changes which take time and effort.

How does your student feel about this? Where is his social support network? Are all his buddies in honors program? Professionals had my daughter convinced it was more important to appear "normal".

Remember in the end the school is out to support the school and you are there to support your kid. Sounds like you have been doing a terrific job. Keep up the good work.

Good luck,
Barbara

Back to top Profile Email
Anonymous
Joined Oct 21, 2014
Posts: 69138

Other Topics
Posted:May 25, 2001 6:26:17 PM

What a great sense of the "big picture" you have and how well you state it. You should write a book for parents!

Back to top Profile Email
Anonymous
Joined Oct 21, 2014
Posts: 69138

Other Topics
Posted:May 26, 2001 11:29:19 PM

Often proposing a "trial period" works to help convince teachers that you're not simply pushing a kid who doesn't really qualify for the class, for your own reasons. There are teachers out there still who believe ability is a linear thing, so you're either smart or not, period... and some of those teachers are teaching high level classes because they like to teach a certain kind of learner, period. Some of them are educable, and it's definitely worth a try.

Back to top Profile Email
Anonymous
Joined Oct 21, 2014
Posts: 69138

Other Topics
Posted:Jun 03, 2001 10:58:07 AM

Sherry, I think every parent goes through the nightmare of advocation within the public school system. It's hard sometimes to remain courteous when an educator, by nature, feels they know more about your child's issues than you or your child, that you have no place advocating for them because you're not the educated professional.

Venting is good and I encourage it. Do that here so when it's time to meet again with your child's school educators and administration you can maintain a professional demeanor which is crucial to helping them to understand you're trying to work 'with' them, and not against them.

One of my biggest disappointments in k-12 education is that the special services programs are often given to educators who have the least to do. Who at your child's school has the least amount of responsibilities? In grade schools and junior highs it's most often a sports coach, the least effective educator for the task. If you're lucky, you live in an area where, by the time your child reaches high school, there will be a formal Special Needs Program complete with a competent staff who specialize in serving LD needs.

I agree with the advice to keep at it. What this will do ultimately is let educators know that this LD child has a purposful advocate, one they need to listen to. Do know that supporting your child by advocating for them in the public school system is a must and something you'll never regret. Do stick to it, even if you sometimes feel you're rushing at windmills.

Back to top Profile Email