Today was the IEP meeting to discuss our concerns about the newly-crafted IEP from February.
A few weeks ago, when we’d called Ms. R to schedule the meeting, she asked us if we wanted Early Learning involved. We said no – we’d had a horrible experience with the woman from Early Learning (the one who ripped out the Monster’s ESY) – because we didn’t know what they could possibly contribute to the meeting. So this morning, it was us, our advocate, the IEP chair, the SLP, his special-ed teacher Ms. A, the general educator he sees in the mornings, and the school social worker.
So the first thing that we brought up was that we’re not convinced that the Monster doesn’t need an aide when he transfers to Mt. Washington in the fall. After all, we’re talking about him going back to his zone school and a regular first grade class… which, as I can easily imagine, is two dozen children and two staff. I was corrected very quickly – we’re probably talking over two dozen children, and just one teacher. Problem number two, though, is that this requires Early Learning to make that decision, even though he’s transferring out of Early Learning when he transitions to first grade… which means we need a “technical needs assessment” to be done PDQ, so we can have another meeting.
The problem, as we put it, is that we’re not sure that his behavior’s conducive to a classroom environment – he has random crying jags at home and less frequently at school, he’s easily distracted, he’s going to require repetition, and no one’s tested him in a real academic environment to see how he holds up. And that’s when the general educator informed us that he’s actually been in her class for a week now in the mornings, and he’s been doing fine in her class. Certainly, we’ve no objection to the fact that they’ve moved him for half-a-day (not just the morning meeting) into the general ed class, but it would have been useful to know that they could be collecting data from that. The assessor will be made aware, as a result, and will view him in both classes to see how he handles the different situations.
But, this all still means: another IEP meeting, between now and the end of the school year in three weeks.
After that was decided (and discussed that there’s really nothing I can do to help the situation along), we moved on to discussions of the remaining supports and goals for next year. It was in this portion of the meeting that I learned an interesting fact – Baltimore City Public Schools has a policy in place called One Year Plus which was NOT followed when this latest IEP was written. Basically, the gist of the policy is that students in a diploma-seeking program should be having goals set that close the gap between them and typical students. When the Monster’s last IEP was written, the goals were essentially set to maintain the gap – having him move from K.4 to 1st.4, rather than trying to get him from K.4 to 1st.7 (where the rest of his class will be in March of next year). It was a revelation to me, and we’d never have known about it if our advocate hadn’t said something. To be fair, I think the IEP chair was just as shocked that no one had said anything to us when the IEP was written in her absence. It seems to be a fairly new program – everything I find for it online is fall 2013 or later.
I think, though, we have everything straightened away for now, until we can discuss the possibility of an adult aide in a few weeks. I’m not much more confident, though, about how this whole transfer back to “regular” education is going to work…