Thoughts on Collaberative?

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by LittleDudesMom, Mar 6, 2007.

  1. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have visted both middle schools that are in contention for being gifted with my difficult child!

    One being in the same district but a different zone and the other being in a different district. difficult child and I have visited both. While I believe the out of district middle school may offer difficult child more in the way of "extras" and perhaps have a little higher academic standard, the school is very large and he wouldn't know anyone (and it's a longer way away). FYI, no issues when being presented with difficult child's IEP.

    The city school (which we also had to make applicatino for) is 1/2 the size, some of his classmates will be attending, it has a more "family" feel but does have some challenging disciipline/behavior/academic issues since they pull kids from two public housing areas. However, both difficult child and felt more "comfortable" in this school.

    But, they don't do "resource" pull out. They have both a ED and MR self contained. They began collaberative last year. I was told that difficult child's grades are good enough that he would be in there "core academics" (advanced) and that any IEP issues would apply an the Special Education teacher would come in the regular ed room during those classes to address those issues. The principal said that it is working great and they don't have plans to change next year.

    difficult child and one of his friends both would like to attend this school. However, they both have resource for math and la. I am totally clueless as to how their Special Education issues would be able to be addressed while the reg ed teacher is teaching. Currently, they teach differently and a little slower in the resource room. To add something else into the mix, this little girl's mom spoke with the Special Education director at this school and she was told that if your child went into core or honors (rather than the reg academics program), you waive rights to the IEP and it becomes "consultive". She and I are questioning that today since we both were given different information by the school.

    In the meantime thought, anyone have experience with collaberative or can offer me some words of wisdom. I only have until Friday before I have to give word to the out of district school and would like to make my decision before then.


    Thanks,
    Sharon
     
  2. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    Dear Sharon,

    IF difficult child can manage totally in regular classes, then the consultative model might work. However, for kids who need the resource room partially for instruction and partially for refuge, consultation alone is problematic.

    There is a lot going on in Sp Ed right now--specifically, its existence is under attack (again) with proponents of the three-tiered RTI (response to intervention) model saying Special Education. is unnecessary and has be a "failure." Tell that to the parents whose kids were excluded from school prior to the original federal legislation (P.L. 94-142). The advantage of RTI is that if administered with good will, it MAY deliver services to students in the "grey area" who are not sp ed qualified but need help. It is true that a large amount of money is expended on evaluation. RTI proponents view this as a "waste" and feel that intervention should be directed to "observable levels of performance." Most folks around here believe that correct evaluation is crucial to correct treatment. RTI does not subscribe to that view--recently I wrote at some length in a thread started by mistmouse about what would have happened to both my kids when they were small if they had received generic "help" of the type RTI offers. easy child would have been presumed to be MR and ex-difficult child Learning Disability (LD). Obviously easy child is not mentally retarded and ex-difficult child is not Learning Disability (LD) although he has never been a particularly motivated academic student.

    Another problem with RTI is it is directed almost totally at academics or behavior interfering with academics--it is virtually useless for internalizing behaviors as far as I can tell. Further, many of our boys desperately need the protection against suspension and expulsion an IEP currently provides. (This is also under attack by the way.) I would NEVER EVER waive my child's rights to have an IEP with the full force of law behind it. If this is a requirement of the school you prefer, I would run the other way so fast--I'd be a speck of dust on the horizon.

    Any administrator can tell you that in general, some approach is working well--it may be. That does not mean it will work for any particular child. RTI is definitely OSFA--and if you don't "fit" too bad.

    Finally, this is a general comment having nothing to do with your difficult child: RTI will not work with the 15% of the Special Education population that is severely disabled. If the RTI advocates (who can be aggressively obnoxious and self-righteous) think that the parents of those kids will quietly let Special Education be abolished and turn the clock back 35 years, they have a poor understanding of the history of the education of children with severe disabilities in this country.

    I expect if you choose the RTI (or consultation) school, your difficult child will lose most of the individual accommodations he has. They will say they have no problem with his IEP--but they will also say he will get the same services in the gen ed class room. You ask how this could happen...that would be a problem--the answer is they can SAY services will be delivered, but will they? This "first" inclusion movement led to wholesale dumping of Special Education. kids into gen ed classrooms with little to no support. RTI is the newest attempt to take the "individual" out of the system. IF Special Education. is abolished, then the funds expended will be up for grabs--and there are a lot of grabby forces out there.

    Martie
     
  3. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    The meaning of collaborative may differ from area to area.

    Our district does team teaching. It's not referred to in the district as collaborative teaching to parents, but I believe that's what it is.

    In 2nd - 4th grades, difficult child had a 2-teacher team. Beginning in the 5th grade, his teaching team has consisted of his four core teachers.

    I'm sure they collaborate on different issues, but the one I most familiar with is my difficult child. lol

    Example: difficult child has been having some problems in school lately; something (unknown) happened in January has triggered difficult child. He's been having difficulties ever since. I had been in contact with-all his teachers trying to identify the trigger and get him resettled. Last week the team leader called for a brainstorming session -- the team was going to have meeting to see if they pinpoint the trigger and do some problem solving.

    I like the collaborative approach thus far. I think it's been helpful for my son in several ways.

    In your situation, however, I would be leary of transferring my child to a school that indirectly is saying we don't really do individual education plans.

    IDEA 2004 recognizes that there are gifted children with disabilities. While nothing surprises me about what a school district will tell a parent, I'd be very surprised to learn that a school district would put "you waive rights to the IEP and it becomes "consultive"." in writing. This would be a violation of IDEA, State law, SEA rules and regs, and most likely school district policy. Don't be shy about asking for written policy, rules or regs.
     
  4. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Martie</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Dear Sharon,

    IF difficult child can manage totally in regular classes, then the consultative model might work. However, for kids who need the resource room partially for instruction and partially for refuge, consultation alone is problematic.

    </div></div>

    Martie, you hit the nail on the head! I have always felt that his resource room was also a refuge. I spoke with his Special Education teacher at pick up time time today and asked her about collabertive. Her last job was just that. She felt that difficult child could handle it. She also felt that he would be less likely to "act up" with all his peers present rather than just 5 others. Keep in mind she has only worked with difficult child since January so I take her words for what they are, a quick snapshop of my son.

    I appreciate all the information RTI, this is the first time I have heard of it. You've given me some things to think about. Thank you.

    Sheila, collaberative, in this instance, means the Special Education teacher coming in the room with difficult child, and any other student who needs him/her during mainstream classes. There is a 5th period built into the schedule for all students, and those with IEPs use that time for "resource" type attention from Special Education teachers and help with homework.

    I'm waiting to speak to the other mom who had a meeting at the school today with both the principal and the Special Education director.

    Thanks for your help. I'll let you know what I find out.

    Sharon
     
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