The new school year begins on Monday.
As I’ve mentioned previously, my wife took the Monster to his new school today to get him familiarized with the place before the chaos of the official “seat sneak peek” tomorrow night. it was a quick breeze-through visit – the staff were busy in a meeting, and so he was given the chance to go see his classroom and the like, and my wife briefly met his teacher and the vice-principal of the lower school.
I have to say, honestly, that I’m already concerned.
Now, it might just be well-deserved paranoia at this point, given how some of the things have gone in past years. As you’re quite aware, in past years, I’ve had to chase the bus across town to see why it was not arriving on time, and I’ve had to make major follow-ups with the teachers and staff. With his move into first grade and a mainstream classroom, the Monster’s now going to a far better school around the corner from the house, and I’d been hoping that such interventions were not going to be necessary.
First… I did ask my wife to ask the teacher if she’s read the IEP already. The Monster’s IEP is short at twenty-six pages, printed in landscape, with lots of individual goals and comments about the accommodations he needs. Today is Thursday, and school starts on Monday. This is apparently a split Kindergarten/First-Grade class (don’t ask, I’ve never heard of such a thing either) and she has twenty-two students (currently) with a single aide in the classroom… and she’s not read it. Personally, I think that if I’d been advised by the district that I had a child on an IEP in my classroom, I would make sure that I knew damned well what the IEP was written for and what I might have to change in how my classroom’s set up well before said child shows up, and preferably before the parent shows up for a sneak peek.
Second, this is the first year that the Monster is not on IEP-mandated transportation. (We’re far enough from his school that he’s getting bussing as a matter of course.) He’s been riding a bus all summer without needing accommodations, so we had thought that it would be easier in fact than prior years – that transportation for the Baltimore City Public School System would send us a letter with what time (and where) the bus stop was, and we would be there on time. Nope! The wife got a generalized letter of where the ‘central’ bus stops are – there are three relatively close to our house, but none less than ten minutes walk from our door, and all involving crossing a busy street – and what approximate time the bus will arrive. And these are only temporary – they’ll plot out permanent routes once they know where children are getting on and how many at each stop.
And finally, both of these together are somewhat making me wonder if the school is really ready to implement his IEP. If the teacher’s not read the documentation, I don’t know that I have faith that the administration has either. One of the clauses in his IEP requires adult supervision when outside the school building, for example – are they ready to follow through on that?
Tomorrow night’s the official sneak peek, and I’m thinking that I’ll need to indulge some of my concerns with questions while I’m there.
(Updated at 10 PM with corrections from the wife. I’d reported 24 children in his first-grade class and no aide, and it was really 22 children in a split K/first-grade class with one aide.)