difficult child school advice needed

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Kjs, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    husband and I are really worried about this transition to High School. Yes..husband is also asking for advice. We don't know where to get answers so I thought of this wonderful group who may be able to offer some wonderful advice.

    As you all know School is a struggle. difficult child has many emotional issues. So much anxiety, frustration, anger. He has come a long way this past year and we are so proud of him. Asking advice from parents of easy child's would not be true advice.

    Here is our problem:

    difficult child advanced a grade (would not suggest this) So he has struggled emotionally more than others in his grade. He has always attended very, very large schools. We chose the "choice" High School because it is small.
    difficult child strives on fitting in. Knowing everyone, having many friends.

    We did not want him in the district High School of 3000 kids because there is just too many opportunities for wrong choices. And we understand the pressures. difficult child is excited about the small school. The way it was explained was their sophmore year they would be enrolled in College courses taught by college professors for college credits.

    We also know that Freshman year is very important. Could decide the rest of there High School years. So WE are open to all opinions. Soon. I am going to the school today.

    New school. They do not know him. (good I guess. No reputation yet)

    They messed up his schedule. First they only had him scheduled for 3 blocks first semester. They forgot his French class. He has taken French 6 - 8th grade. I didn't want him to not take it this year then take it later.
    Need two years of foreign language for college.

    His schedule is such:
    Walks to the district school one block away. Takes the shuttle bus to the technical school. He will spend three blocks there. Then take the shuttle back to the district school for his French class to end the day. Walk home.

    We thought Pefect. The culture shock of a small school would be lessened because he would be with all the kids and feel part of the school since he would have his last class there with all the kids he knows.
    (district school is his home school so he is tecnically part of that school)

    However, they also forgot to put History on his schedule. I pointed that out. They took away principles of engineering and added History. difficult child is upset. He wanted principles of engineering. And most Freshman take that to begin their career track.

    difficult child wants that class very much. But we foresee problems. We don't want him to dislike the new school because he doesn't see any of his friends. We don't want him to do poorly on purpose. Knowing if he does not keep up his grades he will get kicked out and not have a choice where he goes. So if we take away French and put in principles of engineering he will not go to the district school at all. He will take the bus from that school and back to that school each day, but no classes there.

    I certainly can see him purposely doing poorly if he doesn't like this school. Very afraid he will miss being part of the circle of friends he has.

    difficult child does not deal with change very well. So this transition has been very hard on him already. School has NO idea how difficult this is for him.

    They also said he can pick up his new schedule the first day of school. Um....NO. Maybe a normal kid would have no problem with this, but it would definately start off bad for him.

    They want him to pick up his schedule the first day of school. Then get on the bus to the district school and FIND his French class in this 3000 kid school. He has never been IN the school before. The stress would be just too much for him. I need the schedule now, take him to the big school and show him where to go.

    Back to the classes....What do you think?? Would the transition be easier if he kept the class at the big school? He wants principles of engineering (something different than the norm). We are both afraid of the shock of such a small school will do.

    On a good note...difficult child starts the day at 7:30. At 8:55 (after his first block) he will have a 35 minute break. All students do waiting for shuttle busses from the district schools. They go to the commons. That is just like work. They have vending machines, snack, food, juice...microwaves so he can warm up food if he brings it. Also have hot lunch program same as other high schools.

    Now, he can use that 35 minutes for intervention if he choses, but I see him socializing. He loves to socialize.

    What are all your thoughts on this? I am going to go to the school today.
    Don't know who his case worker is. Don't know if his IEP was transferred. Don't know if his teachers are aware he HAS an IEP. And what happens with the French teacher at the big High School? How would HE or SHE know of his IEP if his case worker is at the small school?

    I know I am stressing...but I fear school. It has been SOOOOO hard. Really hoping for a better 4 years. New beginning.

    We (yes husband too..:D) really need opinions for people who understand.
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Kjs, even with an IEP and caseworker, many parents of high schoolers meet with each of their chid's teachers at the beginning of the school year, present a copy of the IEP and talk briefly of their child's challenges and needs. As long as it's done in a manner of wanting to work together for the benefit of your child, I consider this a win-win situation.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think going to get his schedule and taking him to see where each of his classes is will be CRUCIAL to having a good year. However, if you can't do this, be aware that MANY kids will be picking up schedules and finding their way the first few days.

    Any chance he can have a private French tutor or an online class in French that he does at home, and take the engineering class? The engineering class will be important to getting into his career track and being where he needs to be for hte next few years. The French is probably available with a private tutor or online class to keep his skills up so he can take it in a future year. He may even be able to do the french privately and test out of the classes (CLEP test, or it used to be - counts as college credit - many of my college classmates took this test in high school and got out of both high school and college classes - I DID go to a very advanced high school though.)

    otherwise, I would ASK him what he wants to do, AFTER explaining the drawbacks and positive points of each choice. See how HE feels, what his preferences are. Because from this point, most of his success is a choice on his part.

    He is a very intelligent person. He has worked hard, as have you and Dad. Go with your gut and his choices. He is lucky to have you behind him!

    Be sure you talk to the teachers at both schools. I know that now my difficult child (almost a easy child!!) HAS an IEP, but is not actively using interventions. He has come far enough that regular classes and supports are enough for him! We hope to get Jess and thank you to this point. They are both on 504s for health reasons.

    Let us know what you all decide on!
  4. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    They offer "E-school" here. He can take classes on "e-school". French IS one of them. Actually almost all classes are offered on e-school. Considered a "choice" school. Principle said many kids who stuggle with getting up early take e-school for first block and come to school at 9:30. However they do NOT allow you to take on an extra class. He would still have to drop a class to take a class with e-school.

    e-school is open 24/7 - 365. But if the kids sleep in, that means they stay up later to do e-school as well as other homework. So I don't see the benefit there.

    It is an option we have open though for 1 or more classes in the future.

    He wants the engineering class. I just do not think he see's the impact that we foresee.

    And yes, both schools told me the first day there will be many freshman lost. That may not be a problem for most, but it would definately be a problem for difficult child. He MUST feel in control. When he loses that feeling he falls apart.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Could he take French in the summer on e-school? I also don't see the benefit of starting later and staying up later, except that research shows teens do perform better when they start later. Mostly because their biological clocks have them staying up late and then having trouble in the morning. If he can get to sleep early, then it would be best not to skip the first block.

    I think getting the schedule early to help him feel in control will help, regardless of the choice of classes.

    Is there a way to pay a private tutor for French? Here one of J's friends has had a private spanish class for 6 years. Maybe if you ask around, or ask the French Dept of a local university you can find a tutor? usually the Dept Head will know a prof or a student who tutors. Often the students are VERY affordable for tutoring.
  6. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    I don't want to "stereotype" anyone - so please don't anyone take it that way. He may get a lot more understanding in the Engineering class from both the instructors and the students.

    See, a lot of our "Aspie" children excel in that type of program, aspie's are traditionally sort of swept under the rug when it comes to socializing. Your difficult child is more socially outgoing. He could be beneficial to those in the class that are more reserved and they may be more adept at blowing off some of his issues and embracing him.

    I could be completely off base, but if he desperately wants this class he'll be more apt to work at it to prove YOU wrong! lol!:whiteflag:

  7. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    When I taught high school it was common for the parent to sit down with the guidance counselor prior to the scheduling process to discuss what might work best.

    During the year, I often attended staffings for special needs kids or those with medical problems for the purpose of becoming aquainted with the child's issues or to for a team discussion.

    Make an appointment with case manager and a guidance counselor so these problems can be resolved.

    I agree that I'd be inclined to try and keep the class he wants to be in and delay the French. If this is freshman year, there are still 3 years left for him to fit the requirement in as well as other options to get the credits.
  8. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    I have tried to get a meeting with case manager, teachers. I was told I had to wait until the year started.

    The school only has one counselor. I saw her the day of registration when she added the french class. Then I emailed her when I saw there was no History. She emailed me back his new schedule and told me she would not be available until teachers report the end of the week. I asked several times if she could meet with me and she continues to tell me there is no need to meet.

    The biggest issue with French is that it is at the district High School. We felt it would be an easier transition for difficult child if he ended his day at this school, still being able to see the many friends he has. That way he wouldn't feel so alone at this small school. We are afraid if he feels alone, with no friends he will not do well knowing if he gets poor grades he will be kicked out. I do not want him at the big High School. Just thought it would be a shock for him to be in such a small school after 8 years of large schools. It isn't the French class, it is the two schools. And also feeling as if he is part of the school spirit because technically the home school is where he is for sports, if he choses.
  9. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Is there a way that he could be at the larger high school with a one-on-one para?

    Sorry for throwing in a "last minute" idea - but it could be an option if the smaller school doesn't work out!

  10. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    One more thought from a mom who has been there done that with anxiety: sometimes we come to junctions where we need to let our kids test the waters and see what they can do. And sometimes--when they really want it--they will surprise us and be ready for new things we didn't dream of.
  11. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I would show up in the office, with difficult child, get the schedule and a map, and take a little tour, whether the counselor likes it or not. We took Miss KT and several of her friends on the tour to find everyone's classes before junior high and high school too. We started from first period and walked it so they all knew exactly where they were going, and everyone felt really good because they didn't get lost the first day of school.

    I attended a seminar by Rick Lavoie, and something he said has stayed with me..."You have to prepare the child for the situation, and prepare the situation for the child." That's why we walked the schedule. That's why I was chatting with counselors and teachers, not necessarily to tell them all my child has ADHD, but to be visible and let them know that, if it becomes necessary, I can bite.
  12. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    After FOUR schedules in one week this one is final.

    difficult child said he was ok if he stayed at the tech school all day. The only reason he was taking french was because he thought I wanted him to.

    He knows he would not see most of his friends anyway with just that one class.
    He will be at the High School before and after school , coming and going with the shuttle bus to the other school.

    He now has Principals of Engineering, and he is happy.

    Thanks for all your thoughts on the subject.