This must be a dream....

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    After calling and leaving messages for half the people at difficult child's Department of Juvenile Justice school and the state doe, I finally decided to give the state dept of correctional education (DCE) one more shot yesterday. I wasn't impressed with their ed spec's evaluation of difficult child last year and it took the dir of Special Education for DCE stepping in and very tactfuklly over-riding her recommendations in last year's iep meetings to get him a half-way decent iep. This year, my issue has been this particular Department of Juvenile Justice school (which is not the same one he was in last year) didn't offer the courses he should have been taking now and instead of putting him in ones that would still help him work toward a diploma, they gave him four (I had thought 5) electives that they give kids who they think will quit school the first chance they have.

    Anyway, I happened to reach the head person for instructional "something" at DCE yesterday and she said she had spoken to the Department of Juvenile Justice school and reviewed difficult child's case personally (and she must have been forwarded copies of my correspondencce to the school too) and she was going to make sure difficult child got the courses he needed while at that school. Also, she said she was sending the same Special Education director from last year to this iep meeting today to make sure things went smoothly.

    And Lo and Behold, it was like a miracle! I was conferenced called in as planned, it started on time, Special Education director was there as well as difficult child. No one laughed at his goals (we've gotten snickers before), the iep coordinator recited difficult child's testing results from the iep evaluation last year, Department of Juvenile Justice processing this summer (those involve a few for diabilities and a few for educational standing/grade level), our standard end-of-year tests for certain core classes, and difficult child's grades from last year and the current ones. His science teacher spoke highly of him. He has an 88 in one of the bogus electives and 94 or higher in all other classes (8 total).

    Normally, when he's doing well like that and they have recited test results, then school district peoplpe want to argue that he shouldn't be on an iep and all his issues are CD or intentional defiance. They didn't do that. The iep corrdinator tactfully noted for everyone (difficult child was there so she was particularly tactful) that he has some difficulty with some teaching styles due to some slow visual and audio processing, particularly when stressed, and a couple of other things that clearly could cause some difficulty learning.

    So now that this is getting long I'll tell you how it ended- They are going to change his classes in Jan and they make kids go to school thru the summer and will see to it that he finishes those classes prior to his release from Department of Juvenile Justice. (The higher up person said yesterday that even if they have to double block him or link him into a local public school for virtual learning, they will.) They are going to list this in his iep which will give it legal backing.

    They are including my concerns for the areas of difficult child's difficulties and had some good ideas on how to accommodate them, which of course are included in the iep, too.

    The dir of Special Education from DCE said she brought a list of suggested courses for the remainder of difficult child's high school years of courses he can take and which year in order to still get the advanced diploma in this state after taking their scheduled classes this year. She can't really put that as a part of his iep because we know difficult child will transfer next year and it has to remain a little flexible but she said she only listed typical academic classes offered and required in this state. She is providing the school there a copy and sending one with difficult child's iep to me.

    Even better, she has already checked to make sure that if difficult child isn't released early for good behavior (evidently they aren't doing that very oftern with repeat offenders anymore), and has to start 11th grade there then transfer/released in November, the classes she suggests he take in 11th grade are offered at that Department of Juvenile Justice school and she said there shouldn't be any problem then with a public mainstream school letting him go right into the same class.

    I have never been party to a smoother iep meeting in my life! Now if the iep I receive in the mail to sign really backs all that up, I'm going to think this must be a miracle! They had difficult child over there buffing floors so he could learn how to be a commercial cleaner and telling him he wasn't getting a better education because he couldn't keep himself out of trouble. While I appreciate the desire to jerk a knot in his rear and wake him up about his future, this is still a k-12 school with legal requirements. And i won't argue that maybe a semester in classes like that might help difficult child get a clue about how he can't take his future education for granted. But if he'd spent the whole school year doing that, he would have been put back a year and I'd bet money he'd quit the first chance he had because he'd look at it like "why bother if my goals are already out the window".

    Of course we all kindly reminded difficult child that this another opportunity but that's all people can do- he has to keep his focus on this, particularly when he's released again- and do his part. I can only hope that he matures a whole lot this next year.
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    It is about dang time that something went this well for you and difficult child!!!! I am crossing my body parts (except my eyes because being cross eyed makes me sick to my stomach and it is rude to barf on the keyboard! LOL) that what they send you is exactly what you are expecting - or better!!

    Maybe if we all had our kids in Department of Juvenile Justice we could get great IEPs too??? Gee, I wish they had just TOLD us that all we needed was Department of Juvenile Justice custody added into the mix! Maybe that is why Shari's wee difficult child keeps getting the cops called on him?? The principal is trying to make sure he gets the best IEP possible??? (Sorry, my sarcastic bone took over. Off to the corner now.)

    Seriously, I am so happy that the IEP went so well, and that this gives difficult child a real chance to meet all of his goals. You both really DESERVE to have this happen all the time.
  3. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Keep us updated, I'd love to hear it works out well for him. :)
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    thank you! Haozi- since you're new I will tell you that my son has a five year hx of doing very well- behavior and academic-wise both- during periods of incarceration. The problem is that he can't/doesn't sustain that in the real world. And it's not due to academic stress but he has very poor coping skills and can be a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. His academic goals seem to be the ONLY thing he cares enough about to put forth one ounce of effort for and that is why I advocate so strongly that as long long as he's putting forth that effort and has those goals, the school district needs to give him the opportunity inasmuch as the law says they need to. He's 15yo and just started 10th grade. He wants to go to college. Even if he doesn't actually make it into college or thru it, I strongly believe that any education he gets can only help him.
  5. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    If memory serves (and I grew up in a town with two major universities) college boys are a bit crazy anyway, so as long as he doesn't go too far he should fit in just fine. :p A friend and I used to do our shopping at the Wal-Mart at ungodly hours (skating on the freshly waxed floor in our socks every chance we got) and razzing the frat pledges sent out on "scavenger hunts" because these guys knew NOTHING about how to find anything in a store on their own. We'd help them find stuff and make comments about their lists vs what they choose, the most memorable being "lube" and "candles" and this pair of pledges had KY and those HUGE pillar candles. We made a few sinister insinuations to them about the intent behind those being on their list and could.not.stop.giggling.
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Oh trust me- my son was going too far at age 11yo. He was just released from Department of Juvenile Justice this past spring and was recommitted over the summer for being truant, sneaking out at night to get high, letting boys put cigs out on his bare skin (chest and shoulders- actually he wasn't in legal trouble for that but it clearl;y shows his skewed thinking), completely disregarding house arrest rules set in place by parole officer, and the clincher was cutting the pockets of my shorts I was asleep in to steal my last dollars. That was just between March and July that all this took place. I'm the one that demanded the cops take him to juvy to await trial and NOT bring him home to me this time. So I am just as hard-nosed about not letting him get by with walking all over me as I am about advocating for him when I think he's justified in getting it.
  7. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Yeah, that sounds a bit above and beyond stupid college pranks. Hope he does get it figured out before then and that college doesn't set him back on that stuff. Might not be a bad time to start thinking about whether he should live at home while in college instead of on-campus.
  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Yeah- I've been mulling that kind of thing over for a couple of years. If he actually does graduate high school (which still isn't a given but this milestone today gives him a better chance IF he'll do his part when he's released next year), then I'm thinking a year or two living at home (sigh) going to a community college or even local university if he can get in would be best. If he's really sinking his teeth into it by then it will be clear and I won't mind helping him at all under circumstances like that. Then he can think about transferring to a college that offers what he really wants to do. I definitely don't expect that he'll be released next year, stay in mainstream and graduate HS without a hitch, go off to college and make it, like the typical American dream. I don't even know what it will take if he gets a good diploma and actually keeps up his grades to get accepted into a college with his Department of Juvenile Justice hx. That alone could put up some major walls.
  9. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Community college is a good place to start (and cheaper) for core classes. A lot of classes are offered on do it at your pace basis (within reason), online, and by television in some places, taking some of his classes by alternative methods might be helpful for him rather than having to sit through every class. I did a number of at my own pace classes in college, only had to go to campus to a central testing location when they were open to take an exam or turn in a paper, and I found the actual have-to-turn-in paperwork to be a LOT less than would be required if I had taken it as a normal class. Have you looked at Ignore all the ads on the site (plenty of them now!), but there's some good stuff on there that might help him prep himself for college classes so the material he hits there isn't totally new to him. You don't get any credits for it or anything, but it's pretty cool.
  10. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Loved reading this!!! So glad to hear the iep went so well!!
  11. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Susie, I couldn't help but mull over what you said in your post. I realize you were being sarcastic and Lord knows, none of us want to see Wee in Department of Juvenile Justice, but there is some truth to what you say- not about being able to get a great education there so much but because it really is so much about funding and who's enforcing school district's requirements, it really might be easier to get something accomplished in this scenario than a mainstream school district.

    First, I KNOW local school district's don't want to pull from their pool of funding for kids who have atypical needs- which is why I told Shari before that I think her school district is trying to get to that county team- so they can access the bigger pool for her jursidiction. My son had a little access to that before since he was on probation however, PO stood in the way and that's why he was sent to Department of Juvenile Justice instead of Residential Treatment Center (RTC)- it got him on the state budget and out of this jurisdiction's. I have read reputable reports that now that our state had to cut some funding to local jurisdictions, they are sending kids to state Department of Juvenile Justice more to force the state to pay for them one way or another. (ie, the jurisdiction is looking at it like "if the state won't give us the funding to get what the kid needs, we'll send the kid to Department of Juvenile Justice and the state can pick up the cost that way")

    As I've said before, I definitely don't think there's any chance of Wee getting committed to Department of Juvenile Justice at his age, or even being arrested and I don't think that's what his current school district is trying to do. But they are setting a path for this to occur later when he gets to middle school and that school has an issue and then reviews his file from elementary school. That happened to my son.

    Getting back to funding and resources, etc- the other factor that plays into it is that the federal government holds state governments accountable for complyiong with federal law. It is up to state governments to enforce the laws with local jurisdictions. Many times local authorities know how to get around state authorities and push the limits so they aren't really being held accountable as they should. The federal government doesn't really look at what is going on in a local area unless someone brings forth a case accusing the local authorities of breaking federal law. The state agencies, on the other hand, are watched more closely I think. And they don't have much of a "buffer" between them and the federal government. Even if our state government didn't want to comply (and they say outright many times that they don't), it doesn't matter, they have to or that federal funding will be cut off to the state. That puts a lot more pressure on the state as a whole than one local jurisdiction sliding through a crack and not being in the spotlight.

    On Monday, I called and left VM's to the section of DOE that accredits schools and the federal office that ensures compliance for school related funding, among others. The matter would have been "lost at sea" for a few years probably if this had happened at a local, mainstream school.

    And the third thing that I think plays into it: Department of Juvenile Justice can't suspend students; students can't be truant or late or sleep, etc, yet they do get assistance thru IEPs if warranted; the student to teacher ratio is 10:1 instead of 20+:1; no homework is assigned (it would require taking materials to and from school to the living units and that's a big no-no in Department of Juvenile Justice); all school matters are handled at school- teachers nor students can get help from or put blame on anyone else (unless a legal offense occurs like a fight with a home-made weapon- and then the Department of Juvenile Justice, not school district, guard is called to remove the kid from the building but the kid will be either homeschooled in isolation or returned to school the next day or sent back to court if it's serious REALLY serious like major bodily harm was done); no bullying or clique-forming is tolerated and they all have to be treated the same. Of course they say this makes the student more responsible and accountable- yep, but it makes the school and teachers rise to the occasion too!

    So unfortunately, I have to agree and tell you that my son got more education in his nine mos at the last Department of Juvenile Justice school (last year) than he had in I don't know how long and it was a darn good one. When he went back to mainstream school halfway thru the last semester, he had already learned what those kids had yet to learn in the same classes for the rest of their school year. I was told that by him, teachers, and his IEP coordinator there. The down side of course is that difficult child still has this record and will have a more difficult time being accepted into any educational institution, whether educated or not. But my son didn't change into a different person- it was the method of education that gets changed, so what does that say?
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2010
  12. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Doesn't it feel good when they go well? Holding breath til the copy comes....
  13. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I haven't updated on the country team thing, anymore, but I have continued to research it. The district can not (or will not) tell me what they hope to get from this team other than "more services for the family".

    I have spoken to over half the participants of this board and they do not provide services to the school - only to to the family. Since Wee is doing well at home, they can't do anything more. The only exception is the person on that board that is from the school district where the board resides...which is not our district. THEY can offer services to the school, but only to THEIR school. Not to our district.

    And since the school has adopted this attitude of keeping everything secret, until they can give me some inkling of what they think they can get from this, I'm not wasting my time.
  14. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    My copy of the IEP came today but I don't think I have the energy to even open the envelope this evening, much less read thru it with a fine tooth comb. What makes it more critical is that this will be the iep in force when difficult child is released- or at least it could be and I really might have a battle on my hands with him being released to a new school district so I need an IEP that will work for him if I have to refuse to sign one for this new school district for a while. Apparently that bull the last school district told me about "having" to have an IEP signed thru their school district for it to count was just that- BS! The last IEP stays in force until the parent signs a new one.

    On a good note- I spoke with difficult child's Department of Juvenile Justice counselor (this isn't a therapist or school district related) and he said that only kids classified as serious offenders were being denied early release for good behavior, even if this was a recommitment. He double checked and said difficult child is NOT classified as a serious offender so potentialkly, he could be released as early as July (end of mo) if he does everything he should to a T. I hope he's right- I really do think it would help difficult child transition better if he wasn't released while school is already in session again. The middle of Aug. would suit me just fine- it would allow him to complete those core classes without special accommodation that I might have to fight for, it would allow a little time for me to take time off work and reconnect with him (at least try) and get to necessary initial appts we'll have to go to, and allow him to start his Junior year of high school rested up and at the same time as everyone else. I just think if I could get him places where he could blow off a little steam in a legal way prior to jumping back into everything mainstream it might go a long way.
  15. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    While I understand (and have implemented the "I can't do this today" wait to look at something from school) it is my understanding that if you don't sign or refute the IEP in 10 days, it goes into effect.

    Just check that law. It bit me in the butt this summer cause I couldn't get ahold of my advocates in time to prevent them from trying to stick Wee in mainstream, even tho I didn't sign it, that's how he would have started the year if I wouldn't have threatened them to get it amended.
  16. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I wonder if that means 10 days from the meeting date or 10 days from the time I rec'd it. I figured I could look at it tomorrow evening and Sat. morning, in time to get it back in the mail Sat. so they'd get it by Tuesday at the latest. That should work either way because the meeting was this Tuesday. But thanks for the heads up-

    I'm just really hoping it reflects what was verbally said. I'm sooooo tired of fighting sds. Really- just like giving difficult child legally required academic classes- why did we have to spend time and energy fighting for that?

    I can see more and more why difficult child flips over any suggestion of me backing off from his life while he's in Department of Juvenile Justice. It's more than just punishing the kid for whatever they did while at home- if the parent isn't there to advocate for him, the kid doesn't even get legally required things.