Getting in Gear for the School Year

After today, there are only five days before the Monster returns to school for his second year in the public school system.

There are a lot of questions about the coming school year.  How much has he regressed over the summer?  How much good did his ESY services at camp do?  How much good did the social interaction from camp do?  Will this year be better in terms of his progress?

And my big question for this year – will the bussing be any better?

Obviously, if you’re a reader of this blog and followed the issues we had last year, you know that the bussing really can’t get much worse.  (If you’re not a long-time reader of my blog, I’ve set up the helpful tags for you to track down my prior posts about the Monster’s bussing.)  The most follow up that we ever got from the Baltimore City Public Schools was a promise that they’d try to make sure things go smoothly this year – nothing more than that.  Frankly, I get the impression that the new interim head of schools and the new head of transportation couldn’t care less about the matter.

(Actually, to be honest, they promised more.  They had said they’d send along a form for “reimbursement” for my having had to take the Monster to school on several occasions, to compensate me for my “expenses” incurred in getting him there.  We’ve never received said form, and as far as I’m concerned, they should be paying me for those occasions what they were paying Durham Bus Services for transporting him, if I’m doing their job.  The fact that Durham is still one of the school system’s vendors tells me all that I need to know about what BCPS is concerned with vis-a-vis the bussing.)

But, the new school year is a chance for them to start fresh and get things off on the right foot.  The Monster is returning to the same school as last year, to the same teacher… and that means bussing, due to the distance we are from said school.  Our local neighborhood school – one of the best elementary schools in the city – doesn’t host an Autism inclusion program, so the Monster goes across town to another school that is 25-35 minutes away depending on traffic.  This, therefore, obviously requires that he will be bussed to school, on a bus that the IEP specifies will have a 5-point harness for him.

And as I said, we’re five days out from school… and we have no notice about his bussing.  Not a good start.

As another parent of a child on the Spectrum pointed out on Twitter, the notice is very helpful – our children need to get used to changes in patterns, and knowing what time the bus will arrive allows us to start shifting the schedule to match that so there are fewer problems on that first day of school.  I have a guess, based on knowing the travel time, but I don’t have a definite time to be tuning his schedule towards, and a deviation from that might cause problems next week.

I called the school transportation office, and was told (dismissively) that the letters had been mailed yesterday, and that if we don’t see it by Friday, we should call again.  Why don’t I have much faith in getting that letter before then?

I have a feeling that the new transportation director and I will get to know each other very well this year…

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