I know that’s not something you usually hear a parent say, but the proof is in the pudding. Going into our third year in the non-public placement, we’re finally seeing the Monster starting to make good progress against the prior year’s IEP goals.
I don’t think that it’s really anyone’s fault that the Monster’s not made so many of his goals in the past – I think that we’ve just finally hit our stride in terms of figuring out where and how he thrives, and where it’s important to concentrate to get the best results.
Our city has a goal of “one year plus” when they write IEP goals in the regular environment, and the goals in prior years were asking for a lot. I mean, seriously, we had a lot of nearly-60 page IEPs to have teachers working with when we were in the public setting… and that’s a lot of things for everyone to consider. Because he was behind in so many areas, that was a lot of pushing on him to get things accomplished, with supports that were already stretched to their limits, and… it showed. On the other hand, our current IEP team is more concerned with foundational stuff and building a good base with learning how he learns, and then building a structure on top of that which supports his retaining skills as he acquires them.
This past year, he “completed” about 65% of his goals, as the team pointed out in both the pre-meet and the actual IEP meeting… but had we had another few weeks, he’d have gotten another 25% or so completed. I tend to give a lot of credence to this being “good progress” because I can remember how he did under his first IEP at Gateway – when he was working with the IEP crafted by the team at his zone school – or how he’d done under prior IEPs which always seemed to feel like he was doing “okay but not great”.
And as contrast, this year’s IEP is 45 pages (not counting the two blank pages at the end). Almost every goal has been updated to either add a wholly new objective, or to move the goalposts on things he’s nearly to mastery on. There was no need to change his service levels, because they seem to be sufficient for his purposes, nor to introduce anything novel save for adding in accommodations for the PARCC, which he’ll have to take next year as a third grader.
Of course, I can wish for a lot of things to be in the IEP that aren’t feasible at the moment – goals for serious mathematics that are age-appropriate, or for reading comprehension goals. But if I’ve learned one thing through the last five years, I’ve learned how to read the goals and objectives, and understand how what they’re planning to work on during the next twelve months builds to those skills, and how they’ll eventually segue into more difficult academics. And I know that this is the team that’s going to get him there, come hell or high water.
And onwards we go…