Help! Need Advice this Weekend!

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by klmno, Sep 15, 2012.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Ladies, I need your opinions and advice. This new school district and I are just not on the same page at all. I want to smooth things out but can't sit by and ignore the way they are appearing to me right now. I really don't want to go back to attny threats, advocates, etc, due to time off work required, money, and this being E's senior year. OK- these are my 3 concerns:

    1) E was going for the advanced diploma which required foreign language and 4 credits each in the 4 academic core areas. He's in a school district where they take 4 classes per semester so they can take sequential courses over the school year. E is finishing up what the state requires for graduation this semester and was planning on taking those extra courses required for the advanced diploma in the spring semester. (This is all in his IEP) However, he had trouble memorizing all the spanish for Spanish 2 this semester and wants to forget the advanced diploma at this point and just get the standard. That means he's eligible for graduation with a standard diploma at the end of this semester. This school district, however, requires an extra class above the state requirements for graduation. If E stayed on path for the advanced diploma he would have been taking that class in the spring anyway.

    The state DOE person emailed me with passages from state regs saying the school district cannot make a transfer student stay in school longer just to meet the local school district's extra requirements. The school district is holding fast that E's normal date of graduation would be the spring so they aren't holding him past graduation. The school district and state reps are supposed to discuss this and come to a resolution on Monday. What is frustrating me is WTH they would even care if E graduated after Fall semester. Can anyone explain this to me? They asked a million questions about his previous stint in Department of Juvenile Justice acting like they have to make sure they'll allow him to come to their mainstream school when in reallity, they had no legal right not to since he actually transferredf here from a mainstream schohol and has never been expelled or done any of the big no-no's at any school. So now they are acting like he'd be privileged to get to graduate from there when he's met the state requirements AND the school district's requirements that were in effect when he first started 9th grade, which according to regs are what is to determine that particular students' grad requirements????

    2) E enrolled in the summer with a supposed guidadance counselor who is there only for kids on an IEP. When school started I had to call for 2 weeks just to get the Special Education coordinator of the school to assign E a CM and get the IEP ball rolling. Therefore tthe IEP mtg wasdn't held until 3 1/2 weeks after school district started (this past week)- their fault, not mine. They are claiming they had no idea he was on n IEP but admit that the IEP was provided to the guidance office at enrollment during the summer. Now, they are claiming they had to get special permission for E to drop spanish 2 class and switch to something else because it's past the withdrawing deadline. They are saying I HAVE to give approval for the 'new' class by Mon. for this to worrk due to the special permission they got but refuse to answer my questions about how grading will work. My gut reaction is that it is their problem because they are the ones who dropped the ball by not having the iep process in order and having a mtg before any of these deadlines for dropping a class. But what's the point of not just answering my questions so we can make an informed decision?

    Specifically- they are saying they will transfer E's grade from spanish and that will count as his 1st of 4 grades for this new class. OK, but then the new class is going to make him do 40 pages of make-up work from what he missed by just now going into the class. My questions- how is that make-up work going to be graded and if it's required and graded, why is the spanish grade being transferred? They are dodging a direct answer but making it appear that the make-up work grades will be averaged in with the future course grades. That means E will come in with a lower grade he's stuck with, have to go back and do the work from the 1st few weeks anyway, and will have twice as much work as anyone else in the class for the future grades in the semester. Does that sound fair? This doesn't sound like an accommodation to help him to me but they are presenting it as a favor to E. His other choices are to go back and take Span 1 over (which is pointless because if he can't get thru Span 3 while in HS it does him no good) or continue in Span 2 and fail or take a 4th PE class, which he despises.

    Again, they are saying they got special permission from the teachers and admin but this leads to my 3rd issue: isn't it supposed to be the IEP guiding the teachers' accommodations, not the other way around? Further, they had a draft IEP written when I showed up at the mtg and it was all behavior oriented because, he told me, "typically students on an iep for ED are on it due to behavior problems so he started with what he typically does, however, he didn't include a behavior plan for E right now because E isn't presenting a behavior problem". Well, any time they start with doing the typical I look at it like it's not a true IEP at all. E's previous 2 IEP's have not been focused on behavior because he hasn't been a behavior problem at school district in years. Secondly, what about his memory (auditory and visual recall) issues and tendency to want to over-achieve then crash when he can't meet his own perfectionist tendencies? Nothing at all in the draft IEP about that- although I think that is exactly what contributed to the current issue in Span class and these issues were in his previous 2 IEPs and his previous IEP re-evaluation, which is less than 3 years old.

    On top of that, they are telling me to just hurry and make a decision about the class and "we'll deal with the IEP later". HUH?? So all decisions are to be made and committed to then we'll discuss IEP issues?

    My take on them is this: they stereotype the students beyond belief and have very old-fashioned views/opinions about kids on an iep or who've been in Department of Juvenile Justice. (They are all poor, un-educated parents, grew up on welfare and food stamps, etc) They think the school district can do what they want and iep's are there to make kids conform to that. Kids are lucky to go to school and lucky if they get to graduate, even if the kid has met the requirements. I thought I was old-school in some ways but these people are wayyyy old-school thinking. The principal is old enough to have been one of my principals over 30 years ago. And I don't think they get the point of IEPs to begin with. They are emailing in a CYA mode and refusing to just stay on the questions I have asked but keep trying to put it all on my shoulders.

    Sorry so long and thanks so much if you made it thru. I'll let the school district and state deal with the first concern but am wondering about your opinions on how to bridge this gap in our communications and just get something workable until E graduates, whether that's after this semester or in May.
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I would just repeat that you have called for an IEP meeting, that according to state law (quote it), the meeting must be held within X number of days which would be (include the date) and you would be happy to discuss everything then.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would have the advocate sit in on the IEP meeting anyway. Sounds like they are just screwing you around and, being E's last year, why not make it go smoothly?
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    well here's where the bottom-line problem lies: they want to fail E for time "they are held up" and I have no advocate lined up because we just moved here after he was released from Department of Juvenile Justice in April and he was transitioning fairly well at the old school. That intial school district was VERY supportive. In my optimistic thinking (rare for me but there this time), I thought this senior year would be no big deal.
  5. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    What does it mean, they want to fail E for time "they are held up"? Does this mean that they will punish E because they have to wait for an IEP meeting? You really need an advocate or lawyer or someone because this school district isn't going to listen to you and will try to snow you (lie through their teeth) to get you to do what they want. Even if its not in E's best interest. The punishment might have to be addressed in the IEP meeting you call and take an advocate to.

    Good luck and sorry you are going through this. You know E very well. I've been very impressed with how well you handle everything you and E have been through together.

  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    E took Span 1 two years ago and doesn't remember much from it. He's bombing Span 2 due to memory issues. He has made 100 on every homeework assignment and 40-60 on every test/quiz. He can't pass that way because now they have moved into listening to taped conversations in spanish and he's even more lost.

    The school district says they can move him to an SAT prep class and that's fine- except they want to carry over this current spanish grade to be on his first report card for the SAT prep class PLUS have him make up all 40 pages of work they did in sat class while he was in spanish. So how does that get graded? If he's going to do that make-up work, shouldn't that replace the spanish grade or at least get averaged in? Nope- they apparently are going to average that in with future grades in sat class. Now remember, no one is going to teach him that previous stuff- just hand him 40 pages to do on top of whatever they are doing now. They won't come out and say that- all they will say in writing is that he HAS to do the make-up work but the spanish grade will be his first grade no matter what. Also, they are saying I have to approve by Monday AM (tomorrrow) or E loses that opportunity. And we'll discuss the IEP and work that out later. We don't have another IEP mtg scheduled right now- we had one last week. They didn't present this option at the mtg. They called me with it Thurs. afternoon. I asked my questions about grading Fri morning and they emailed back saying what I have relayed here- without actually defining how E's grades will be caalculated. It appears the teacher could give him whatever gradee she wanted in the sat prep class and they are setting him up to get the lowest grade possible in there.

    I think he should go to the sat prep class. He has takeen the sat once as a junior and plans to take it again late this year. My position though is that the grading for spanish and sat make-up work should be discussed and agreedd upon by the iep team. Of course in this school district, that will mean them telling me why I have to agree with what they are telling me. They've already pulled the "this is all we can get the teacher and administrator to agree on" BS on me over this twice. It will eat up the semester pulling in the district or state's Special Education people, an advoctae, etc, and fighting the issue that this isn't how an iep is supposed to work. An iep would serve no purpose if they were all run like this, in my humble opinion. Oh- except in thiis school district where an iep for ED is only there so the school district can put the kid on a behavior contract.

    E dosn't need this additional credit for the spanish/sat class if he's getting the standard diploma- but E says they don't allow students to take classes for "no credit". We are worried abiout how all this is mutliating his 3.2- 3.3 GPA because he wants to go to a 4-year college. It's this type of stuff though that can be accommodated in the iep but they are standing fast that they are accommodating his iep enough by "allowing him" to transfer to another class but these are their conditions and it has to be done Monday.
  7. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    The state requires, for the standard diploma, 2 credits of foreign language, fine arts or career and technical training. If he already has one credit in Spanish and doesn't think he can pass (although at only 3.5 weeks you are not even 1/2 way through the first grading system and he could get after school tutoring from a 4th year spanish student or the teacher I'm sure), take another 1st year of foreign language. German would be a great choice since it's the easiest foreign language to learn (English has it's roots in German). Beginning a level 1 foreign language will be easier than a 2nd year of a class he hasn't taken in a while. First year language classes don't leave the mark you need to retain. If language is not an option, what about an art class? The only downside here would be the fact that he only took one year of foreign language on his college applications.

    For an advanced diploma he has to have three years sequential or two and two sequential so that would make foreign language out for him in the advanced goal if they are holding to the spring graduation. But he could still take German I and qual for the standard since there are no sequential guidelines.

    One thing I don't understand is the whole timing of the IEP issue. What type of accommodations and modifications does he have for THIS TYPE OF ISSUE in his CURRENT IEP? Those would have to legally carry over to the time before a new IEP is written. If it's been longer than 3 years since he's been tested for his learning disabilities, he has to be tested again to see if he still qualifies. The kicker here is going to be whether his current IEP has/had accoms and mods for "memory" issues. If not, legally they don't have to bend over for this issue.

    If he does have accoms/mods for this (these) issues, then you have a legal leg. The grading can be something that is discussed. In only 3.5 weeks, if he begins another level 1 foreign language, he can easily make up the work - seriously. It would be a fresh start if he's willing to put in the work. That's what I would push for.

    The first week of classes they don't do a whole lot. He would, in reality, have about two weeks of work to make up which doesn't translate to a whole lot for a level 1 language class.

    If he currently has accoms/mods in his EIP for this, I would go into the meeting and be very calm and say something at the start, requesting it become part of the permanent record of the meeting, like, my son's current IEP is still legally in force. I attempted to contact the compliance office to schedule a meeting but didn't get a call back in over two weeks. It is the school's responsibility to see that the needs of every student with an IEP are met. My son's records were turned over to you in a timely manner and the burden of making sure you are in legal compliance is on you, not us. Since his current IEP is still in force, you are legally required to accommodate my son's needs. I know the law and I know his rights. Let's work out something that is for the benefit of my son's future which should be the common goal here.

    See what happens.

    Since your son, by your own admission, has a history of reaching too high and then crashing, perhaps making this year a little less stressful for him would be a good thing. He may have a 4-year college on his list of goals, but community college for the first year or two might be an option that will benefit his maturity level. There is no SAT requirement for community college and, even after one year, he wouldn't need SAT's to apply to a college or university.

    Good luck. Fall is always stressful on us parents of difficult children!

  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    He's already met the requirements for the standard diploma by getting the other type of electives in fine arts & tech classes. He was only going the foreign language class to shoot for the advanced diploma.

    The iep he came in with had no accommodations for memory issues because it wasn't an issue in the classes he took last year, however, it still stated those problems in the iep, as well as the IEP he had in Department of Juvenile Justice which ran until April of this year. (That IEP from Department of Juvenile Justice did have accommodations- minor because he was in Department of Juvenile Justice but still) Also, it came out in his evaluation which is only about 1 year old or so. No one has propposed re-testing him. This school district only wanted to pay attnetion to previous behavior issues and completely ignored the memory issues and perfectionist/crash tendencies. This is one reason I refused to sign the draft iep they had written.

    They are approaching this the way the "old" school district jursidiction did- the one E was in when I first came here some years ago. Yes, that got worked out but it took months or around a year. We don't have that kind of time. They are on a 4x4 block schedule here and started school 4 weeks ago at this point- that means it's the equivalent of almost 1/2 a typical school year. (4 classes per semester for 4 full credits each semester.) They didn't have an iep mtg until last week- 3 1/2 weeks into this and now are pressuring me to agree to what they proposed this past Thurs- like I'm holding things up. I had been on the phone since the second week of school started asking why an iep mtg hadn't been scheduled and they admitted they dropped the ball.

    IOW- they will stand fast knowing it holds things up to the point where there is no choice.

    We're a lot more worried about his gpa as a result of this than the sat. He scored well enough on English last time to get into a mediocre college and from what we've been told, a lot of the math comes from algebra 2. He's taking that class now and doing very well in that class so we expect that grade to up on the next sat.

    I'll dig thru his IEP from the last school district again and see if I can find anything at all to help. They did mention in it that he was striving for the advanced diploma and wanted to go to college and appeared to have overcome previous problems. That''s why this is difficult- we had all discussed that there would be no pressure and if he needed to get a standard diploma there's nothing wrong with that.
  9. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    If the problems are stated on his current IEP and it's not up for review, then the issues exist and you have a right to request accommodations. The issue will be what are they willing to accommodate at this point - what would difficult child like to see happen?

    At his age, the schools put a lot of weight on the student's goals. I know they really required my difficult child to be an active participant at his IEP meeting at the end of last year going into this, his junior year. They wanted to hear his perspective, his goals, and his opinion. His preparing to advocate for himself may go a long way.

  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Actually, him advocating for himsellf is something we've had in the iep for 2-3 years and another thing this school district conveniently left out. E wants to take the sat prep class and feels he has no choice but to do whatever makeup work and grades they give him. He doesn't understand he has legal rights to certain things- he thinks he's at their mercy. He has also expressed concern about the amount of makeup work and how it will be graded, on top of having the spanish 1 grade transferring into this class. The thing is, if I "approve" this change by tomorrow then it isn't in his iep to grade things otherwise. They are saying it's the only way they'll agree to the class change. I'm saying it's an iep issue and needs to be dealt with accordingly.

    I've alrerady got the school district district-level people talking with the state doe about the graduation question so I hate to turn aound and also get the state Special Education people involved with the school district tomorrow morning but it looks like I might have to. I'm so sick of rogue sds in this state. Oddly enough, the one we just left, that has such a poor reputation, was the most welcoming and supporting school district E has ever been in. Now the school itself was the best in that school district, but the school district ranks pretty bad as a whole. But they were great and E loved it there. The problem was my job situation. *sigh*

    I want to approve the class change but make it clear that the incorporation of spanish 1 grade and/or sat make-up work grades are an iep issue. I really don't see how they can incorporate both grades for late-Aug/early Sept work since you can't be in both classes at the same time, Know what I mean?? Now if they refuse to change him any other way, what happens?

    The tutoring after school district won't work because E has no way home other than the bus and E says he simply CANNOT learn this.

    ETA: After combing thru this latest iep (from the jurisdiction we just moved from), I find that while it does mention the auditory and visual recall problems found during the previous evaluation, there are no accommodations for it. Those were in his Department of Juvenile Justice iep, from the year before. Reason being is that E had a very light course load at this last school district and they felt like with him just coming in new, there was nothing seen or immediate that would warrant accommdations for it. I agreed- not knowing we would be moving. Now I don't know if I have a leg to stand on that these problems have resurfaced with a more demanding course load if it's just in an evaluation- the evaluation is still current and this school district hasn''t asked to do another one. I'm just real worried that this school district's idea of bombarding him with work in a sat prep class (the make-up work on top of the normal load) because they think this makes up for "doing him this favor" and he's going to get overwhelmed and start crashing and give up.

    I still strongly feel like the iep team should be making decisions, not admin and teachers then ttelling me the only choice is to change to what they will allow or stay the way things are. Am I wrong about this? Is this issue that they didn't have anyone at the iep mtg with authority, like someone mentioned in another thread?
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2012
  11. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    What happened today?

  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Complete detour, or at least postponement- see General. Sorry- I've had about 2 1/2 hours sleep since Sun. morning. I'm wiped!