iep, charter school my failing child

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by terrie f, May 3, 2012.

  1. terrie f

    terrie f New Member

    hi i found this site by accident and since i'm a bit desperate for info i am posting some questions in hopes that someone will have an answer or two for me. i am the parent of a middle school girl who is currently attending 7th grade in a charter school. she was diagnosed as adhd back in kindergarten and it medicated, she also presents with learning disabilities, OSA, and failure to thrive. Before placing my child in charter school at beginning of this year the school was aware of the 504 plan that was in place as well as her struggles to succeed. we had a meeting, plan was discussed and then i watched as she continued to struggle and her grades got worse. at this point i requested new testing as it had been a long while and it was determined that she was eligible for an IEP. the iep was discussed and written then agreed upon by school counselor and myself....then i watched as her grades still got progressively worse. i am in the school almost weekly trying to get any type of support i can and there is alot of finger pointing at my child for her grades but i feel like the school itself has let her slip through the cracks and they dont care. when i ask for makeup work for her i do not get it, i have asked repeatedly to no avail, seems to me their favorite answer is dont worry about it! its may and she is failing, if i dont worry who will? why am i not advised when she fails 1 or 2 things instead of getting a progress report full of f's? i recently had a meeting with school principal on an unrelated matter and she instigated a talk about my childs progress or lack of, informed me that she may or not make it to next grade, that the school could not accomodate her with any extra learning help because city would not grant them the money for it and then said we could get her through this yr and with some summer school she would be put in 8th grade in A DIFFERENT school and that she would make sure an iep is put in place that would benefit her next year. What the heck is that? she also said it would have been better to keep 504 plan as it is a better plan (which i also believe) and that before she transfers we can go back to. Now maybe it's me in my frustration but it seems like noone here is willing to own whasts theirs and the school is not following the iep at all. my child is capable of learning she just needs to learn things a bit differently then other kids and not in great volumns at one time. so i wonder is she protected by any laws that would question why she has been allowed to maintain f's the entire year with no input from the school? what are my options here? as i'm sure many know when up against admins from the school one can get very frustrated....also are charter schools exempt from following an iep? are they required to uphold the standards set by the board of education? i would like to mention that other then her learning disabilities and very unorganized nature she is not and never has been a disciplinary problem so the school cannot use the distruptive card here. any one with a encouraging comment, an insight to where i should be looking for answers or what i should be asking this school would be great. thank you for reading my post and have a great day. oh we live in massachusetts if that helps......thanks again!!!
  2. terrie f

    terrie f New Member

    i wanted to add if the school knew they could not accomadate an iep plan why did we change the 504 plan for a new one? none of this makes any sense to me...thanks
  3. keista

    keista New Member

    Hello and Welcome.

    I'm no expert but I'll tell you what I know based on my experiences.

    Charter schools, as part of the public eduction system, must absolutely provide and follow IEPs. Reality? they don't like to, don't want to, and do everything they can to either not accept students with IEPs or get rid of them.

    No, a 504 is NOT better than an IEP. It is possible that your 504 was written better than your IEP, but the IEP has more "clout" so to speak.

    You picked this charter school for a reason. If it's is still important for you to keep your child in this school, you will have to fight them tooth and nail. To do this, you will probably need an advocate. You can learn almost everything you need to know about the 504/IEP process here Sometimes just going in, knowing what you're talking about and making a few threats can get a school to fall in line. Me, I call in my advocate when I need to. As soon as I list her as attending the meeting, staff starts tripping over themselves trying to provide the things I was asking for. They know they won't be able to snow her with "finances are tight" talk. Budget restrictions don't exempt a school from providing accommodations or services.
    She "slipped in" with the 504, they decided she was too high maintenance, so are changed it to an IEP. Once they fail (because they didn't try) to provide her accommodations and services, they will move her out so they don't have to deal with her.

    Schools get extra funding for students with 504s and IEPs. I don't know how much more and I don't know if the IEP gets them more than the 504, but they do get extra money. Not all kids use up that extra funding so the 'extra' can go to fund stuff for the general population. "high maintenance" kids use MORE money than is allotted, so they end up sucking funds from the general population. Ultimately, it's a matter of economics.
  4. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Chuckling here at audacity of principal - 504 plans are unenforceable. IEPs are enforceable. Of course she wants to keep the 504. If the 504 is better than the IEP (the actual contents of the 504) then sounds like IEP needs to be rewritten. I'm not, however, certain that you actually have an IEP if it was only written by you and school counselor. There is an IEP team, which should at the very least include classroom teacher and a district representative who has the authority to spend $$$ (paraphrasing there, LOL). If there is an actual IEP in place right now - the 504 plan is no longer applicable, and school must follow IEP.

    I don't believe charter schools are exempt from following IEPs as a general rule.

    What specific services/supports do you think your daughter needs? Are those in the IEP?
    Last edited: May 3, 2012
  5. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Charter schools receive federal funds and must follow IEP's, now that said...not every school can meet every need. I get it though that it sounds like they are not even trying to follow simple things that would easily be done in any school.

    you said:

    This doesn't make sense in any way. Anything that is in a 504 plan can be put into an IEP, you can use the exact same wording and IEP gives you power. Legal rights that force them to have to document and provide accommodations or they can have funds taken away. If you do not feel the IEP is adequate then call a meeting, that is your right and all required team members must show up unless you sign off to excuse them. (again federal law, you do not have this power with a 504 plan). Bring your old 504 and have whatever is in that plan put in your IEP. IEP's can be changed at any time as long as you write on the forms why you are changing the plan. Have you received a progress report yet?? that is a report inbetween IEP's that tells you how she is doing on her IEP goals. Clearly that would probably not look so great (assuming her goals were related to her challenging areas) and that in and of itself needs to be addressed. It sounds like additional goals and accommodations may be needed.

    Please do not lose your IEP, they can be hard to come by if she needs more services. It gives you rights to ask for assistive technology (like word processing programs, extra time for tests and work, different formats for things, certain kinds of seating, a host of things...if you tell us of her specific issues we can brain storm with you, smile!) . IEP's cost the district money because of staff and for some kids equipment. However, they also get additional monies per student who is on an IEP. a 504 does not cost them money and since there is no legal way to monitor it, you are at the mercy of people doing the right thing.

    I would also suggest you keep a log of every time you communicate to anyone about her education. put when you show up to the school, who you talk to, the result of the conversation (did you get what you asked for or not? what did they say??) THis way if you ever have to go thru a formal procedure to get her needs met, you have documentation of your efforts and their negligence. Hearing officers love this!
  6. terrie f

    terrie f New Member

    hi just to reiterate...there is definitly an iep in place..i requested and recieved new battery of testing for her complete with psychological, we had a team meeting which included the schools Special Education counselor, her teachers and a Special Education teacher and i have a copy of iep. this wasnt done just between counselor and i. its legal and its binding which is why i am so frustrated. it is my understanding that with an iep if child is failing then it should be reviewed and revamped. it feels like i am the only one looking for answers while the school is content to ignore the problem. i actually chiose this school because of the smaller classroom and advertised more one on one capabilities but in my opinion they are looking for children who all are capable of learning the same way. i dont believe all kids learn the same way and it is the teachers job to ensure they are learning and to adapt to the child, maybe i'm wrong but its how i feel. someone mentioned an advocate? how and where do i find one of those? sometimes in these meetings i feel like its me against them.
    my daughters needs some individualized time, modefied work loads and very detailed instructions, some modified testing and more time to complete assignments. she is capable of learning but gets very overwhelmed, forgets things and has zilch for organizational skills, she doesnt always stay on task so needs redirection and positive reinforcement...sounds like alot but nothing that isnt possible if the teachers are willing i think.
  7. terrie f

    terrie f New Member

    hi and thanks for responding, i always thought i had more clout with an iep but they said she wasnt eligible in the past but after testing this year that changed BUT i still havent seen any improvement. i do get weekly progress reports and sad to say she has an f in every subject every week and has since the beginning of the year and it doesnt seem to bother them and her grades on these things are all over the board but where it counts the most is in testing and she has failed so many that even if she gets an a somewhere else it doesnt bring the f up. its so frustrating to say the least. because her short term memory is so bad if she isnt reminded of things she forgets period and its not just at school...would it be so hard for the teachers to remind her? i think not. i will come back on later and let you know exactly what is in her iep and what exactly i think woulod benefit her the most and maybe we can figure out someway to make the school accountable because i do believe they should be. i also agree with the statement that they are going to try and bounce her out at the end of the year because she is more work then most and i would like to force their hand so she can stay she actually likes it there.
  8. terrie f

    terrie f New Member

    hi yup there is actually a legal iep in place with all the proper steps taken, not that i see it made a difference but it is there. the principal told me the school dept would not approve any more special help for her outside of the classroom and that they would say that these programs are already in place elsewhere so send her there instead. isnt that passing the buck? so every kid that needs extra help should be shuffled out because its more work for them? i dont have the iep in front of me but will be back on later with specifics if that will help. have a great day!!!
  9. keista

    keista New Member

    For the advocate, try the State's board of Education. They should be able to point you where to find one. If not, Call your Early Steps Center. They need to be in the loop- for all sorts of services so they may know where to direct you.

    I am not surprised this school did a bait and switch - advertising one thing, but actually doing another. You have to remember that although charter schools are funded by the public school system and are required to follow Federal Laws, they are privately run institutions whose only goal is a profit. Where I'm at? We have a few good ones, but not a year goes by that there isn't some sort of investigation into a charter school because of misused or misdirected funds. This year, we've got one going bankrupt and another that will get closed because it's a failing school! Fortunately this isn't all in my district but spread out amongst the 5 local districts.

    And they are content to ignore the IEP because they are pretty sure you are not fully aware of your rights and their responsibilities. This is how schools get away with this CR@P. You need to force them.

    However, since this school isn't even offering what they advertised, I'd just move on. in my opinion it wouldn't be worth the effort to fight them, but only you can decide if that is true.
  10. keista

    keista New Member

    OMG the principal is a LIAR! School dept does not need to approve more help. If it's in the IEP the school has to provide it. The School Dept has already provided the funding and the school has to figure out how to provide the services. Principal is LYING because they don't want to provide the services. Completely illegal.

    BUT like I previously said, why would you want to keep her in this school if they LIED (WOW common theme at this school) in their 'advertising'.
  11. terrie f

    terrie f New Member

    your probably right about keeping her there when they obviously lied except she likes it and there are not many other obtions around here except for the large junior highs we totally at a loss here. i went to the site suggested to find out about an advocate but no luck yet...
  12. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    Most charters are underfunded and dysfunctional - just as dysfunctional if not more so than the neighborhood schools they are trying to replace. I would ask for an immediate IEP meeting to revise it so that it mirrors the 504 plan that was more effective for her needs. It sounds like you know exactly what she needs. She would likely benefit from the presence of a paraprofessional in the classroom - maybe even a one on one if her needs are significant. What is her primary disability?