Thursday, April 21, 2011

IEP first for us

We've felt like it many, many times before.  I think every parent has.  At least every parent that has to contend with an IEP meeting.  I've had many an IEP meetings.  Too many to count.  All 7 of mine have IEP's.  I take that back.  Bojan finally no longer needs an IEP as of a few months ago.  So, 6 of them have it.  I've dealt with resource classes(pull-out), inclusion, regular ed, and self-contained.  I've seen it all and most likely, experienced it all.  I can't stand going to these meetings and I'll tell you why in a minute.

Getting back to original thought here though.  Today was a first.  Though I didn't get to experience it first hand, Warren told me about it.  See, we have asked for the ENTIRE year if Irina would be attending Cleveland High School next year or West Johnston.  She is districted for Cleveland.  That's where Max goes. We like Cleveland.  They keep us informed of what's happening w/ Max.  They listen.  They make suggestions.  We make suggestions.  They listen.  Did I mention they listen?  They care.  The staff actually says hello when you walk in the front office and doesn't ignore you.  The school isn't a mecca for crime such as drugs, stealing, assaults, etc.  Yes, I'm sure it goes on.  But not to the extent of Irina's school.  Shoot, West Johnston got so bad w/ stealing that they had to go ahead & install cameras.  It's just sad.  So, we like Cleveland, feel welcomed there and feel like they are actually trying to make the kids succeed.  We knew w/out a doubt that if Irina was not going to be going to Cleveland this coming year, that we would homeschool her.  Period.  We asked ALL YEAR LONG.  Same question.  Said we need an answer.  At the meeting, asked in the beginning again.  They did not know.  Ahh, a common theme here...ignorance is bliss.  No.  Unacceptable at this level of academics.  Period.  Plus, superintendent and us go back from 2005 when I wrote a letter to the DPI after getting no response from him.  So to say I have no confidence in the man is accurate.  Meeting people said that they would not have an answer until most likely two weeks before school started.  Are you kidding me?!  Two weeks?!  Now, what makes things even worse is that there IS NO SELF-CONTAINED program any more at WJHS.  That being said, there really is no reason they can't have them at Cleveland.  They claim it is b/c the OCS program is only at West. However, I've seen absolutely no benefit of this program to Irina.  Plus, it has her in inclusion classes that are well above her level.  She even told me that she puts any answer down b/c she understands none of it.  Yet, they pass her every single time.  She has much ability to learn yet they are not teaching her.  Horrible examples at best.  Her job coach got fired.  Ironically, I told them this was a waste and she was learning nothing at job training.  They deny, deny.  Shoot, that woman was even on the phone coming out of the grocery store.  How do I know?  B/c I could have run her over!  I slammed on the brakes as she was not paying attention!  She didn't even know it happened.  URGHH!!  She was fired from job coaching b/c she was always on the phone.  Lovely example for the kids.  I could tell  you all the things that happened to Irina at West Johnston this year but really would be a waste.  I am all out of fight w/ these people.  She is done when this semester ends.  Done w/ JCPS system.  Forever.  She will be homeschooled and she WILL learn.  She did before when she was homeschooled.  I was naive to think high school would be different.  It wasn't.  It was just as I anticipated for our daughter in special education.  Trouble is, we have many more following in her footsteps.  She will be a trailblazer and will learn so much more than the school could have ever taught her.  Shoot, the head of special ed told me when she first came home that Irina would never pass a second grade level.  So not true!

Now, the reasons I hate IEP meetings.  There is some sense in the meeting that it is more important for the team to be right than to be honest.  Seriously, it does not matter about who's 'right.'  It matters about the child.  Period.  Doesn't matter what others think. It is about the child.  Nothing less, nothing more.  Simply how the child can best succeed in school.  It is not right for professionals to leap across the table at a parent (yes, it happened at my very first ever IEP meeting).  It is not right for teachers to make assumptions about your child.  IT is not right for a meeting to last for hours w/ out a break.  --wears the parents down & I do think that's the goal to be quite honest.  It's not right for the schools to have troubled equipment every single time.  There are endless things not right about these meetings that are supposedly to help the child.  It took me almost a year, a YEAR, to get Nik an interpreter for school.  And during that time, they were lying to me about finding someone.  Lying!  I know b/c one of the people contacted me.  Btw, before that they wanted him to go into the self-contained classroom with Alyona.  Umm, he's just deaf, there is absolutely nothing wrong w/ his intelligence.  I couldn't get an FM system for Yana who has severe CAPD.  I couldn't get the school to be honest when asking why Max seemed so frustrated w/ math at home.  They said " oh, you don't have to worry, he's getting all A's."  I kept complaining to them that something was wrong. They assured me it wasn't.  Hmm, I pulled Max out in 6th grade to homeschool him & realized he couldn't even do basic addition!  Keep in mind, I'd been saying something was wrong for years, yet they'd send me work home that showed he did it.  Trouble was, it was group work.  He wasn't doing it at all.  URGHH!!!  Caught him up and sent him back to school in 8th grade.  He has a severe math disability.  Why oh why can the schools just not listen to the parents when they feel something is wrong?  It blows my mind.  Now, I'm sure I will get backlash on this one for sure but at this point, I don't care.  I have no intentions to make friends at the schools.  My only intention is to get my child a proper education.  I personally do not think that is happening in our school district.  And apparently, neither do a lot of other parents as the homeschooler #'s here are huge.  Waiting lists for homeschool classes are long.  I don't honestly know how I'm going to do it, but I am going to try to homeschool all of them this coming year.  I may keep 2 kids in school but not sure yet.  I feel after giving the school district ample time (I do feel 11 years is ample enough time!) to help my children learn, I should move on and try it myself for awhile.  Fact is,Irina learned not a thing this year and I'm questioning Bojan's education right now.  Though all A's & B's, I asked him a BASIC math question the other night at dinner.  Asked all of them that were standing there.  It was simply taking one date & subtracting it from another.  Not Irina, not Yana, not Bojan could do it.  No one.  I was totally saddened.  They also don't know what many historic things mean.  Or geography.  Praying I can infuse a little knowledge into them after we start homeschooling. 

I just don't understand what happened to the system.  This post is already long.  I have another IEP coming up.  Can't remember who that one is for.  We'll see.  I hope that in other parts of the country, public eduction is better than it is here.  I don't know what ranking we are in the US now.  I know it was around 48 or 49 years ago.  That should tell you something.  And, I can honestly say I don't blame the teachers.  It is a system they have to follow & get lured into thinking is better.  You know, years ago, no one complained that not everybody got a prize in school.  No one complained we had 25 to 30 students in a class.  No one complained when the teacher disciplined the child & not w/ some stupid tally mark.  No one complained when we had a wonderful Halloween festival and the whole school participated....in costume.  No one complained when we walked to school, not took the bus when you could see the school from their house.  No one complained about the amount of homework.  You did extra stuff, did your homework, had dinner w/ the family & went to bed.  No one had to sign 2 to 3 pages for you to go on a field trip.  And above all ,no one worried that the school wouldn't teach the child.  I attended NC Public Schools.  Warren attended his entire life.  School was different then.  But a good different.  Not everyone had to win.  No one got a prize from the treasure box.  You were recognized for hardwork.  No one got 5 chances to turn something in!  Seriously, you fail here, you keep going till you don't.  Teachers were allowed to give you a 40 if you deserved it.  here, they are NOT allowed to make below a 70, no matter what the grade is.  It's sad really as some very smart students have learned how to work the system.  When I went to school, if you forgot your lunch, you didn't eat lunch.  You also remembered it the next time.  They are not allowed to do this now.  They didn't send your child home for every little thing back then either.  Alyona was sent home for a few bumps on her hands the other day.  Nik was sent home for the bruise he had when he fell on his handle bars.  They swore it was ringworm!  LOL.  Umm, no.  They write an incident report for any little bump or bruise from the playground.  I went to school, you went home & told your parents how you got that bump or bruise.   I digress.  Point I'm making is they are getting sidetracked from teaching and worrying about every other little thing.  Or, at least that is my opinion.  This was more of a vent post if you couldn't tell.  Thanks if you mangaed to make it all the way to here.  I won't bore you further.  Thanks for listening though.  Maybe the schools can take cues from you all. 

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