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IEP/honors courses


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Joined: Nov 03, 2005
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Posted Jun 13, 2002 at 12:17:42 PM
Subject: IEP/honors courses

I wrote to this BB a year ago, when I was frustrated because my son was excluded from a selective honors English/social studies course. We appealed the decision and got nowhere. My son is now in tenth grade. His verbal versus performance IQ is 144/102. That's not a typo. He has severe ADHD, virtually no short term memory--constantly loses well done homework and many other things. This year he is taking honors biochem, French III, pre-calc, and general English and social studies.

He has an IEP and his teachers this year coaxed by a wonderful spec ed teacher are supportive. Early this year, we got the new school psych in our corner and she supported my son's application for honor's English/social studies for next year. We just word that our son has a place in that selective program for next year. However, I am not happy about the message I just got from the school psych. Here is an excerpt:

. One concern the teachers indicated was regarding the grades. Our special education director spoke to the teachers at the beginning of
the year and indicated there were no special education grades. I shared
with them, that my expectation was I would be very happy that David was
earning a C with accommodations. That my primary role was to insure that he had the opportunity to participate in the program, that intellectually he should
thrive in the environment and that with appropriate support he will be
successful. I percieved the concern was based on the fact that you as
parents may become angry with the teachers if he earns less than an A.
I told them I would support them in any parent conference.

signed, the School Psych

It sounds to me like they are saying "Okay the spec ed kid can take the honors course, but forget about an A or even B." Am I overreacting? My son had 3.2 GPA fall semester of this year with the schedule above. I feel like school psych has sold out. Your comments, please.

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Anonymous
Joined Sep 02, 2014
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Posted:Jun 14, 2002 3:27:04 PM

I have a son with similar issues to yours. Our IQ has a 29 point spread and ADD and memory issues (ie:forgeting things-like leaving home without the backpack til I remind him that he forgot it! He is going into 10th grade. Anyway we do have the honors classes and he is objectively graded (but in some reg. ed courses he felt downgraded on essays etc. bcs of his iep- he thinks some teachers think he is dumb and says these same few teachers grade the A student with an automatic A based solely on the name on the paper. I do believe this. Anyway honors courses are never supported in class. He is the only student with an iep that I know of that takes honors classes, and he got little help from the sp ed teacher this year, who focused on helping the students with low grades in reg. courses.
I do not understand your psych's letter. What are they doing-covering themselves in case your boy gets a C it won't be their fault but his. They may be saying that he may be a C student in a more challenging course and you would need to accept that. This is just a guess of what she may mean. If it is what she is trying to say, well there are never any guarantees for anyone and I say go with it, if he struggles in the beginning take him out. Maybe they are afraid you will be asking for supports in the honors courses and they do not want to give that.

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Anonymous
Joined Sep 02, 2014
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Posted:Jun 14, 2002 6:11:05 PM

Hello moms,

Hope you don't mind if I jump in here with some questions. I have a daughter, gifted LD who's in 4th grade. My questions are what state do you live in? Have you had trouble getting the school to agree to accommodations with your sons in high school and - after seeing this I guess so - but can you take honors/AP classes with accommodations?

My daughter currently is doing well in school despite her LD. She uses assistive technology and we even had some of her accommodations removed from her IEP because she never used them. Do your sons use assistive technology and if so, what kind? I have been told through the grape vine that our local middle and high schools "do not accommodate". Period. Just wondered about your experiences.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 15, 2002 10:47:15 AM

It is nice to hear from someone with similar experiences. Although most teachers are understanding and supportive, we too have had the ones who just don't get it. They think if you have an iep, you can't be bright. Or if you are bright, you don't need an iep.

Anyway, I'm hoping they just think they need to cover themselves. We are glad that he has been placed in the class. The ironic thing is we went through the same thing at this high school with his sister (who just finished her sophomore year in college). One of the same teachers was involved and we never questioned a grade.

BTW, my daughter is at Syracuse University. They have a wonderful disability support program. She finds college much easier than high school--no busy work. She has 3.15 GPA!

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 15, 2002 10:47:59 AM

Leah they do accomodate in both regular and honors classes, in that they will allow for extra time on tests. They will not team teach an honors class and they lump the most students w ieps into the same team taught reg. ed class. To balance the class they will put some of the highest achievers into this class as well. My son does not get any assistive technology although he could benifit. I have never asked for it and they never suggested it either.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 15, 2002 10:58:28 AM

Sherry this is so funny. I was posting the same time you were! Did your daughter or son get resource center in hs? I here great things about Syracuse' s program, but it is a pricey school and then they charge extra for their ld program right? What kinds of services can she get there and what helps her? I am glad that your son did get the honors course. Seems that for students w ieps they have to be grateful to get the benifits of courses at times that nonhandicapped kids get just by making the grade. You are so right that some teachers feel a smart kid does not require an iep-we have been there in the middle grades. These types think this is an excuse to get away with things unfairly, kind of like a cheat sheet!
Is your son going to get support services for the honors class?
It is wonderful to hear about a student w an ld fairing so well at college!!!! You must be a proud mom. I wish them both all of the best.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 15, 2002 11:26:39 AM

Hi Leah,

We are in Washington state. However, we lived in Maryland for many years. I don't think the place matters so much. It has been my experience that the most important thing is to have an understanding and supportive special ed teacher. With the exception of one year for one of the two children, we have always had that. As "Another mom" said sometimes a general ed teacher just doesn't get the program. Then it takes a lot of follow-up from the parents and the IEP provider to make sure that the child gets the accomodations that are specified. We have constantly tweaked the IEP in order to get it just right.

Yes, you can take honors/AP classes with accomodations. We had to campaign for that at first. There was an English teacher who said my dysgraphic daughter, who needs extra time on tests, could not take honors English because they had timed tests. The teacher was told by the IEP provider and the principal that no student could be kept out for that reason.

You need to understand both your child's disabilities and abilities very well. You need to know what is allowed by law. Develop a good rapport with your child's IEP provider. Then advocate for your child so that she can get everything she deserves. When things get frustrating, write to this BB for new ideas and moral support.

The only assistive technology my son uses is a computer for word processing. It has the advantage that he saves everything in the computer. Then when he loses papers, he can print again. Some teachers let him e-mail assignments so he doesn't have to deal with paper. My daughter also uses a computer; she has a lap top now. (For many years, we put that off for fear it would be lost.) Now my daughter has a scribe provided by the university in every one of her classes.

I hope I have answered your questions. If you have more, feel free to e-mail me off line.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 15, 2002 11:30:08 AM

e-mail for Sherry -- post4ssp@hotmail.com

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 15, 2002 12:32:03 PM

My son will get the same accomodations in his honors classes next year. The IEP covers everything. My son took one honors course in the year just ending. The accomodations were the same for that as in any other class. Our wonderful IEP provider makes sure all the teachers adhere to it.

Syracuse is a private university with the costs that go with that. Scholarships are available. Syracuse does NOT charge extra for disability services. The disability office asked for a needs evaluation done within the last three years and a copy of the high school senior year IEP. Whatever services/accomodations the student was eligible for in high school is what they get at SU. It was important to get the IEP right in high school.

My daughter has trouble taking notes. At the begininng of each semester, she privately speaks with each professor/instructor. She identifies herself as needing a scribe and she has documentation from the disabilities office. In the next class, the prof says there is someone who needs to have a notetaker. He asks for a volunteer who will be paid. He screens the notetaker. Then after each class the notetaker takes the notes to the disabilities office on campus and is paid by that office. My daughter goes to the office to pick up the notes. No one in class, not even the notetaker, knows who gets the notes. My daughter also gets extra time for tests. She has never had any professor/instructor even hesitate to accomodate her.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 15, 2002 2:20:12 PM

Sherry I understand that the accomodations are the same, but is an honors course ever team taught. In our school district it is not. You can get a copy of notes and extra time on tests. We have it so that our son is not penalized for tardy assignments.
My understanding at Syracuse is that peer tutoring would cost extra, are there costs associated with that? It sounds marvelous that your daughter is doing so well there. My son has trouble with notetaking, but the biggest issue is an organizational one- Ie: where he put the notes- like did he write his notes for biology into the geometry notebook?

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 15, 2002 7:32:46 PM

Sherry, thanks for your email. I'll probably contact you. It's nice to hear of someone whose ahead of me in the race and is being finding success.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 16, 2002 6:01:57 PM

I wouldn't sweat it 'til there's a problem. Teachers of honors classes have all kinds of defenses for parents who really are looking for any way they can to get that magic A on the report card, and/or they don't want to have to change their grading scale for your child. Sounds like the school psych is trying not to talk behind your back and keep you informed about the concerns of the teachers (but if you've got one with a mindset that an IEP means Really They SHouldn't BE In This Class, it's a little hard to change).
Who knows, your kiddo could be the one to change the mindset :)

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 16, 2002 9:08:21 PM

I don't think we're talking about changing the grading scale, just accommodations. My daughter and I had to blaze a trail this year in 3rd grade. SHe's dual exceptionalities and her gifted resource teacher didn't want to accommodate. We finally persuaded her to and both she and my daughter had a great year. She even told my daughter that she had taught her (the teacher) that you never get too old to learn. Because of my daughter's computer use in her classroom, she is now using the computer to write her IEPs. SHe was computer illiterate up until this year. It's tough, but worth it when it ends up on a positive note.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 23, 2002 8:02:27 AM

I think you might be overreacting a little. Their response is pretty standard to these situations. They don't put a lot of thought into it. You sought permission for him to be in the class - they gave it with a standard warning they give to pretty much anybody.

We'd all like our children to be treated as the unique individuals they are and your son's cumulative average in the face of his learning differences is remarkable. In the best of all possible worlds, they would have considered your son's remarkable track record when they wrote up their permission and opinion but sadly we live in the real world, not the ideal world.

Look past their cookie cutter response and celebrate your son's entrance into the class he wants.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 24, 2002 10:59:08 AM

It sounds more like they are trying to be realistic given previously mentioned problems. Letter grades demonstrate competencies met and that includes daily work, class participation, group work etc. What kinds of accomodations are you requesting for an honors class? The curriculum in an honors class should be sacred.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 24, 2002 11:05:54 AM

There is a major difference on the high school level between accomodations and modifications to the curriculum. High schools are accountable to the state for curriculum and the grades they issue are representative of specifics. The major problem is admissions requirements at the collegiate level. The assumption of an honors class is full non-modified curriculum. Accomodations such as assistive technology do not effect curriculum, as it should. I think many parents think an IEP guarantees a specific change to curriculum - a modified curriculum equates to a resource classroom. Parents who are looking at post-secondary education should do some serious investigating into what accomodations are required and which are not. Typically there are no modifications of curriculum at the post-secondary level. High school classes are a good testing ground for what kind of success a student will have at the next level.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 24, 2002 11:11:03 AM

these are the typical accomodations that are provided at most colleges - the only stipulation is that the student must advocate for themselves - good for your daughter!!!!

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 29, 2002 8:31:33 AM

No, I do not think you are overeacting. It s difficult enough to deal with the constant dilema of the balance betwen maintainig high expectations for your child but not overwhelming him, without having to deal with bias against you and your child because of his disability.
While I agree that the psychologist may be trying to give you the heads up regarding the attitude of the teacher, part of her job should be to make it clear that your son should be regarded the same as others regarding his intelligence.(After all it is the alw) Maybe as a new person in the school she is usure of herselfand just trying to cover the bases. However, were other kids without a disability told when they registered for the course that they migt not get an A because it was a difficult course? Why do they feel compelled to stress that to you? Isn't that another way of saying: OK if you insist we will let your son take this course that is probably above his aptitude but don't come complainng to us WHEN (not if) he doesn't do well.
It seems to me you are probably astute enough to appreciate the "reality" that he might not get as high a grade in an honors course.
When my LD son (who is on a 504, 20 point verbal-performance split, but lower verbal score th yours) signed up for all honors classes in 9th grade, I got the same vibes. I dropped him down to standard level in history thinking it would give him a break. Guess what - he got all A's in the honors classes and a C in history. I believe the caliber of teaching in the standard class was not as high and he was unable to pull out what was important in terms of note taking and studying.
It is this attitude on the part of teachers, admnistrators, psychoogists that is at the core of what is wrong in special ed. I understand that they are human and have to deal with reality, but they need to understand the reality of a learning disabled student - it is discriminatory to assume that they cannot perform well in an honors course.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 30, 2002 7:43:15 PM

Ann, I like your comments re: honors classes.

My daughter gifted/LD (19 pt spread :) was discouraged from attending a gifted resource class in 3rd grade b/c "well, you know, she can't copy from the board...". To which I replied, "When the barrier to learning is the ability to write, then YOU need to make the accommodation". They also told me that they were "concerned" b/c she would be missing a whole day of academics in the general ed classroom to go to gifted. I'm sorry, but I don't believe they are "concerned", I believe I am the one concerned about what's best for my daughter. Geez, when will they get that LD doesn't mean low IQ? As my daughter says, "Well, mom, just because you don't know the answer FIRST, doesn't mean you don't know the answer".

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jul 17, 2002 3:11:09 PM

I know what your problem is and I told you what we done. In my dautghter's I.E.P. we stated that we wish she can take some college classes. So, when the next school year rolled around. The school said she couldn't take any college classes due to her disability. So, we turn the I.E.P in to the principle and a few minutes later we got the okay. And off we go

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