learning to use my resources against school :)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Jena, Jan 30, 2009.

  1. Jena

    Jena New Member

    so i had posted quick yesterday that my daugther's school has been doing some odd stuff, difficult child that is.

    they retested her on the standardized testing called ela's here in new york without my knowledge. It's how they score their math and reading scores and overall scores give overall school rating.

    they also threw her into resource with-o my knowledge due to her academic decline as of late particularly in math and handled it very poorly.

    so, after having alot of anxiety myself last night and sitting in bed till 4 a.m. between a case at work that's pretty intense and been really difficult a domestic violence situation i figured out and now working to get family safe and mom to do the right thing for all, and difficult child's ongoing issues. I had 2 hours of sleep.

    I went into school today to speak to principal before work. I was told by teacher yesterday if i do not want difficult child in resource i have to speak to principal on it. so i did.

    long story short principal ofcourse lunged, I DID NOT yay me. She said why wouldn't you want your daughter to have the help she needs, she failed the ela.

    I said first of all this is MY daughter and I have a right to be made aware of her being retested for the ela (it caused her great grief the first week of it), and I also have the right to know when my daughter visits the nurses office due to her anxiety, I also have the right to know and be informed if my daughter's math grades are failing (unbeknownst to me) and she is being offerred resource at this point. I said lastly the way in which the teacher handled it was highly in appropriate. I said i have the right as her parent to opt out for private tutoring at home. For a child like difficult child, and you have all her diagnosis docs she is much better served being in a one on one setting in her own home, as opposed to being thrown into a resource rm without any prior knowledge to me and to her and with-kids she does not know for an hour!!

    She began to than say well if she fails again in march (another ela) hate them by the way, she'll be pulled out 3x a week starting next september into resource! I said excuse me? I said first of all this only validates what I have been expressing for the past several mos that my daughter's diagnosis does infact effect her academics and a 504 or iep is not only needed but imperative that she recive the supports she legally is required to to be able to obtain her full potential.

    P said well it's new york state mandated i dont' know what to tell you with a nasty attitude. I said well i'll double check that at my office, i highly doubt a child with an iep or 504 in place would be "mandated" to be thrown into a room 3 times a week and raise her anxiety level to the point where it effects and heightens her ongoing daily school refusal. I said I will continue to handle this via the Special Education department, yet I thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

    I said just so that we are clear, my daughter will not be placed in resource room again which than greatly affected her ability to get into the bldg this week as you can see from the sign in sheet on time. She responded no.

    So, I went to office and after 4 hour meeting i was late to :) I went around and began digging. Winds up new york state does nto have a right with- a kid who has either an iep or a 504 to be mandated to be thrown into situation like that at all. It sounds to me and the others i work with the school is functioning with their best interests in mind regarding getting their overal high rating another year out for their math and reading scores at any cost and they do not know how to provide a safe and acceptable environment for a child with special needs.

    I logged a complaint into the main district office as well as the contact i have here at Special Education committee. I'm going to go after this school with vengenace now.

    had to share that! yea ok i'm totally ready to drop also. :)
  2. Jena

    Jena New Member

    also whole thing is they know the meeting for 504 or iep is coming within a mos or so and their trying to build a case that difficult child doesn't warrant services, hence all their hidden agenda's and not being open.
  3. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hey Jennifer--

    It sounds to me like you've got them "up against the ropes" as it were....

    If they've been sending her to resource room for FAILING the ela's, AND she's having difficulties in math, and experiencing an academic decline PLUS an increase in anxiety-related school refusals, in addition to all of the documentation you have from her doctors--then she is entitled to an IEP and special accomodations to help her in class.

    And they probably know it, too--and they are just being cranky about it.

    Hang in there...

  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Wow, you work fast! :)

    I am not familiar with-the public school system, but my difficult child's teachers always email or call when there is ANY change. Regardless of law, it's common sense and common courtesy. I think you are right to suspect they have an ulterior motive.

    Go get em!!!!!!
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    P.S. I hope you get some sleep tonight. Like, 8-hrs worth!
  6. Jena

    Jena New Member


    Daisy yes I know it too and boy it's so much more than cranky, they have been on my back for a while and playing games this entire year so far since september.

    terry i had to work fast they were popping difficult child into resource again today i had no choice. it was the only thing that got her to school was that i lined it up so she wouldn't have to go. i think difficult child knew i was soo done today adn just beat up she got up got dressed and left no problem. that umm hardly ever happens. i think she felt sympathic. i didn't carry on i just must of looked wiped out
  7. Jena

    Jena New Member

    at end of day it's just disgusting that parents like us have to put up with bs like this. I know mine is on small scale and so many others here go thru worse and it's just ridiculous.

    it's bad enough we have full plates yet when our school's do stupid things ontop of it and make our difficult child's worse it just pisses me off.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I hear you!
  9. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    You know, I'm feeling very lucky I live in the school district I do (also in NY state). With both my dtrs they were the ones to take the initiatives for 504 plans and then IEPs when the 504s were not enough. They seemed truly concerned about both girls.

    You go, Jennifer!

  10. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    You might want to post this in the Sped forum, but I'm in NY and have been dealing with Sped issues for 4 kids for almost 15 years so if you don't mind, I'll give you my two cents...

    The ELA and math assessment are basically to test the school and not the child. In NYC, they are used to determine if kids pass or are held back and in some districts on the island (including mine) they are taken into consideration in deciding if a kid gets to be in accelerated or gifted classes. That said, unless your district uses the results to determine retention or passing up to the next grade, why don't you just keep her home sick? My school actually told me to keep my dyslexic child home one year. I didn't because he refused it. He got a 2 (for non- NY's, ELA is graded 1 -4 with 1 being failing, 2 being barely proficient, 3 being meeting standards and 4 being advanced and on target or usually above level) and I was told he needed to go to RR for more days (he already went 3 times a week) and to a weekend program. I refused and because he's on an IEP, I prevailed. I told them that the ELA was not designed to test children with Learning Disability (LD)'s and other issues and I was not going to have him punished for doing poorly because of his Learning Disability (LD), which everyone knew about.

    That said, I will tell you that this particular child of mine thrived in RR. He made many friends (kids that weren't in his class) that he is still friends with even though he is now out of district at an Learning Disability (LD) school) and he learned that he was not alone with his issues. The fact that he was able to see for himself that other kids - who weren't dumb kids, but were in fact quite smart - struggled with reading and writing the way he did was very empowering to him. We tried one on one private tutoring before agreeing to RR and it didn't work. He would cry every time that he was stupid and dumb and why did HE need a tutor and none of his siblings did. It was awful for us and him!

    My best advice to you is to use this as an opportunity to get her an IEP (skip the 504, they are unenforceable and the paper they are written on is only good for kindling). Once you have that, you can come up with a plan.

    I have had all of my sons on IEPs at various times. One went from OHI to Asperger's, the next from speech impaired to ADHD to OHI to ED and was finally diagnosis'ed with a school based anxiety disorder (this is the one who reminds me most of your child), the next from speech impaired to Learning Disability (LD) (he's classic textbook dyslexic) and the last from speech impaired to Learning Disability (LD). The youngest is in grade 4 and refused to complete his ELA a couple of weeks; I am sure he failed it but all we have done is set up a new CSE to see how to handle his emotional issue as they are impacting his academics. My ED child blew a fit in grade 8 about taking the ELA in the RR and refused to do the entire first day of it - we signed a waiver and he took the second part with his class the next day. I am sure he failed as well, but the school sent me his math score and his social studies score (can a mommy kvell - he probably failed English, but he got a perfect score in SS). They never even sent me an English grade! Ironically, he is up at the HS now and is running a B+ in English. He is in RR once a week (was supposed to be twice but it conflicted with his foreign lang - apparently, classified kids in my school district don't take language?)

    Anyway, my point about my ELA tales is that you need to check your school district's policy on the use of the ELA. For instance, in NYC it helps determine if a child is left back or not in certain grades. In my school district, it is used as part of the process of determining if a child gets into gifted classes. It is not used for retention purposes in my school district and I have not heard of ANY districts in Nassau or Suffolk that use it for that purpose.

    If the policy is that a child who fails has to go into RR, where is it written? and if you think she is doing worse in math what is the cause? Is the work getting harder - some kids have issues with abstract math concepts and need to learn them over and over again. and RR can reinforce the lessons for her. Maybe if you tell her that RR NOW will help her do better on the math test and if she continues to do better that would be great, she'll be less opposed. Has she said why she won't go? Is it because other kids tease her, because she thinks it means she's stupid or because you have bad feelings about it?

    On the other hand, I also tried private tutoring in foreign lang for my 9th grader. He was so humiliated by it that he resolved to work harder and he has been. They don't offer RR for foreign lang and besides I think he's the only RR kid in his grade taking a language!

    I don't know how your daughter would react to a private tutor but before I spent a ton of money on it ($80/hr for the lang tutor, $100/hr for my daughter's math tutor because I couldn't get her classified and into RR), I would try RR. I admit I resorted to small bribes at first for going and cooperating. I'm not above buying them. I figure if I work extra hard at work, I'm supposed to get a bonus or at least a decent raise, so why shouldn't they?

    The thing about your post that really has me confused is that I don't understand how on the one hand, they can say she is deteriorating academically and on the other hand, not want to classify her and give her an IEP. If you need an advocate or just want to speak to one, I can get you the name of someone I believe may be near you.

    My best advice to you is get her on the IEP asap and try to figure out the services. Is her only academic issue math? It sounds like she has anxiety as well. We had in school counseling for that. Does she need to have the ability to leave the room and go to a safe place if she feels overwhelmed? You might want to ask them to do a functional behavioral analysis. I finally demanded one for my ED son in grade 6 and it was amazing what a difference it made. We were finally able to figure out that his acting out and work refusal had a clear pattern and once we had that down, were able to brainstorm responses designed to achieve the goals we wanted - not the goal HE wanted. An FBA can pinpoint what it is within the school environment that is causing her stress and anxiety and can work with you and the school in coming up with alternatives. With us, instead of sending my son to ISS every time he refused to write because he saw that as a victory and a reward, he was told that he would have to sit in class with the math teacher (they had a mutual hatred society) and do his writing assignments at lunch/recess. This removed the positive reinforcer of avoiding the work by getting sent to the office and gave him a different option if he chose not to work with his classmates. He is now in grade 9 and a B+ English student. If he chose not to do it at lunch/recess, he had to do it at home and lost his Scout meeting privilege for the week.

    Sorry this is so long, but I really believe that kids with anxiety really suffer at school. I will say that once we had this diagnosis, things began to improve. The FBA also recommended he be transferred out of the math teacher's class and he improved so much that he is now in Honors math! Now when there's an issue, I simply tell the teacher that my son has a diagnosed anxiety disorder pertaining to school and that we need to come up with alternatives for some assignments and that because he is classified, I have that right. Most of the teachers have been very willing to work with us. As long as my son makes the effort and does what he can, they are very accommodating.

    In sum, please pursue getting her an IEP, look into whether or not anxiety is the real culprit, read up on ED classification (be VERY careful here because some diagnoses disqualify you for services but anxiety does not, at least in NY) and think about putting a positive spin on RR (you can tell her to try it for a month or for the next quarter or whatever and then see what happens. My kids opted to stay in at that point.)

    I hope you don't think I'm being too pushy. I just hate to see a child suffer internally and externally from the residual effects of anxiety.
  11. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member

    It's a sad commentary on the system when resources need to be used against the school to achieve what's best for the student. If the resource pool could be a cooperative effort, think how much could be accomplished and how much less stressful it would be!
  12. Jena

    Jena New Member


    wow that was long lol thank u for taking the time and thought to share your experiences with me for my difficult child. :)

    I'm sorry to hear you had to go thru all of that it's just insanity it truly is. ELAs are a joke to me i hate hate them!!!!

    My difficult child cannot handle the resource room due to her anxiety level, which is often out of control on many occassions. one of her diagnosis's is infact. Also the school had no right to place her in there with-o telling me first. Same exact thing on my part they said resource room 3x a week starting next year. last year she barely got a 2 and this year she tanked. Reason being hmm pick a disorder and link it to the symptoms of that disorder lol, seriously though :)

    The school to my understanding cannot hold difficult child back due to her failing the ela's, yet they tried to pull a hmm educational neglect card on me the day she didnt' go in for it, so i had my pediatrician write a letter and fax it to the school stating due to her various symptoms she struggles with her anxiety is too high today to handle this formalized test blah, blah, blah. last thing I need is a cps call on me in my job, i'd get fired no doubt.

    I'm actually an advocate and new at it, i'm going to be bringing others with me to the initial meeting for the iep. i'm soo not going in alone. they are much better versed on the laws in new york state than i am in regards to this issue.

    They do infact use the ela scores to place the school's ranking, they also state they use it for following years placement which in our school is bs bigtime!

    i'm going private tutor for now, difficult child lacks focus and has severe attention problems, staying on task, as well as has always done poorly on these types of tests.

    it's a long history with this school. last year we handled it on bldg level, difficult child almost got hospitalized she was decomposing to say the least, than i quit my last job and put forth a whole lotta effort into her and here we are now and i'm employed again. The school had this "we can fix" her attitude last year when we entered the school i said umm ok lol good luck with that. she recvd. weekly counseling, an anxiety group did nothing lol. than by the end of the year staff was apologizing oh we're so sorry we didn't realize how severe it was blah blah carp.

    this year a new school psychologist started and everything was different, no more accommodations for difficult child on any level, them stating oh she's fine, not telling me when she goes to the nurse due to her anxiety issues, they didn't even tell me difficult child failed the ela until i questioned why is she being retested??

    I was told as per her principal that according to new york law each child is mandated to take rr 3x a week whether they have an iep or not. I said really i'll check those facts at my office. than i learned at work that's a load of bs also. with an iep in place which she will have she will not be pulled out 3x a week to do rr.

    are you experiencing the new math their trying to jump on board with now that california is doing?? it's insane it's kinda like a backward approach to math. reason their doing it, because california's scores are so high.
  13. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member