As I’ve more than alluded to, the Monster’s first IEP meeting was not a process that I particularly care to repeat anytime soon.
I was informed by our advocate that the average IEP meeting takes about two to three hours. I was told by the dads’ support group members that a five hour IEP meeting is not particularly unheard of for a first-time through the process…
When we went to the IEP, and we were denied ESY, we were informed that we could always – with new evidence to present – request a meeting to wholly rewrite the IEP if we wanted to try again for ESY eligibility. Given the possibility of it being another five hour meeting – one that I really couldn’t stomach sitting through again – we decided it wasn’t worth the effort, bit the bullet, and put in for insurance funding for some therapy over the summer.
At the time, we were given an ‘assignment’ to one of the city public schools (not our zoned school) that is hosting a “Together With Me” program that is structured like the PIES program that the Monster was in when he was 2. That program did a great deal of good for him, so we were alright with it, even if we weren’t thrilled with the neighborhood that the school is in, and even if it meant his being ready before 7:30 in the morning for a school-bus pickup. Well, that and the fact that the wife wasn’t terribly thrilled about buying him school uniforms (there’s a reward for the kids in the program if they wear the uniform, though it’s not required of the IEP kids in this pre-school program).
While we were away this weekend, we received a letter from the school board regarding the IEP assignment. It seems that he’s been reassigned from the school in question to another school all the way across the city. This raised a serious question to us as to why the IEP was being modified and especially without consulting us first. I came up with three possibilities:
- The “Together With Me” program at that school was being relocated
- The program had filled up as we’d not yet registered him at the school and were being shunted to a similar program with an opening
- Something else had happened which precipitated the district moving our child to another school
So I directed the wife to call, since I had work yesterday.
It turns out that it’s a variation on #1 – the program was split, with the three year olds in the program being kept at the first school, and the four year olds being relocated to another school. (Plus, the teacher with whom my wife had met has left the program, so it’s moot that she’d actually had the meeting.) The newly assigned school is, as mentioned, across the city from where we live – the original school is about 15-20 minutes away – and starts at 9 AM, meaning that he won’t be home till at least 4:30 or 5. This complicates any external therapy he might be getting in the fall as well, due to scheduling.
Now, personally, I think that the school district had an obligation to reach out to us sooner to say “By the way, the program is going to be moving,” but what do I know – I’m just a parent…