Last night, while we were prepping for today’s (now postponed) IEP meeting, we started looking at the website for the school that the Monster will be attending next year.
It’s weird, to consider the differences between two elementary schools in the same district. And while we had already known that the Mount Washington School is a far better school than Garrett Heights… it’s shocking.
The breadth of activities that are held at MWS are incredible – after school activities, parent outings, fundraisers, you name it. GHEMS did some things – the occasional dance or carnival – but this is a whole different level.
MWS doesn’t require uniforms until you get into middle school, and then your year is color-coded. GHEMS has uniforms throughout, with separate uniforms for K-5 and 6-8. (I don’t think, for the record, that uniforms are a Bad Thing.)
And MWS is an IB candidate school for their Middle Years Program – not that this is going to really matter for a while – which is an interesting academic distinction in our district. Only one high school, for instance, is in the IB Diploma Programme, and none of the other middle schools feature the program. (One elementary school in Baltimore City offers the Primary Years Program.)
But.. as I pointed out again to the wife, this really is kind of irrelevant to us, since none of this touches on our basic concerns about how conducive of an environment this school is going to be for the Monster. There still is no provision for ESY services to keep his speech and fine-motor skills up to speed through the summer. There’s no provision for an aide in the classroom – despite the fact that the student ratios at MWS are going to be far higher than at his “Together We Grow” class at GHEMS and despite the fact that his teacher has called out that he does need significant amounts of supervision. Plus, I have major concerns about playground safety and the like, since he’s suddenly, recently, shown a tendency to run… and you end up with two concerned parents.
I do realize that MWS will have to implement whatever is in the IEP. I’m just being concerned about getting it down correctly. I’m worried that if we get it wrong, or worse – we’re right, they’re wrong, and he needs an aide in the classroom – that there’ll be a period of time where we’re waiting for them to implement after making an emergency request for an IEP review in the fall. This won’t be good for the Monster or for his classmates.
I think that moving him to MWS is going to be a positive development in the long run. In the short run… I’m definitely concerned.
(For those who have been following my comment on Twitter this morning – the IEP meeting was canceled because Ms. A is “extremely sick”. Ms. R had the decency to call us this morning – as I was prepping to head out the door – and ask if we wanted to postpone to include her, so we’ve put it off two weeks. As opposed to last time, this was the right way to handle it, and I appreciate the fact that it was done the right way.)
I just came across your blog while googling “Maryland Autism Waiver”. We are a family relocating from PA where all autistic children receive full Medicaid benefits. This is a shock to me that my son will no longer be eligible. Fortunately my health insurance will cover some of his treatments.
We also call our autistic son “Monster”. I really enjoy your posts.
Well, hopefully I can provide at least some interesting and useful local information as part of your move.
I’m still waiting for some clarifications on LISS changes (the wife’s heard some rumors), so I’ll probably have a post on that as well soon.. 🙂
Welcome to the blog!