Quick Help Needed: School Problem

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by JJJ, Sep 1, 2009.

  1. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Tigger is suppose to attend school 10:30am-2:35pm. The bus has been picking him up at 2:15pm and he has been home before the end of the school day! Also, he is only mainstreamed for lunch, recess, and specials. Specials is a once a day 30-minute class that alternates between gym and fine arts. Tigger doesn't go to the main lunchroom because it 'hurts his ears'. He often eats with a small group 3-4 kids in the social workers room. So his 15 minute recess and the 30 min special are his only times with more than 3 other kids. Now they want to take away his special on Tuesdays so he can have his 1:1 orchestra lesson. I'm no longer sure why we bother meeting at the start of the school year to ensure that things like this don't happen -- it is in one ear and out the other with some of these staff. Here is the e-mail I want to send by noon. Feedback please:

    Tigger has been arriving home at 2:35pm. This is upsetting to me because the school day doesn't end until 2:35pm, yet somehow he is picked up at his school, goes to another school to pick up other children and arrives home -- all by the official end of the school day. His IEP goals cannot be met by spending 100 minutes/week of his instructional time on the bus. Regular education children are not expected to miss their final class period of the day for the ease of transportation scheduling. Due to medical necessity, Tigger already has a shortened day. To shorten it further for the convenience of the bus service is unconscionable. Please talk to transportation and have Tigger picked up from his school at 2:35pm beginning next week.
    Also, the reason for our meeting in August was to ensure that all of Tigger's services be provided in an appropriate schedule. Yet, today I was informed that I will have to chose between his only mainstreaming opportunity on Tuesday or his orchestra sectional. This is unacceptable. Please work with the orchestra teacher to solve this problem. Once the transportation issue is solved, the easy solution is to have Tigger go to orchestra immediately after his mainstream special (1:50pm-2:20pm) instead of the currently offered 1:30pm-2:00pm.

    Thank you for your assistance in this matter,
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    The only thing that jumps out at me here is the issue with the dismissal time....

    My son's school officially "ends' according to their schedule, at 2:15--but there are days when he will arrive home at 2:12. Isn't that before school is even out? Apparantly not...

    They begin dismissing children from classrooms as early as 2pm....to load all the children onto the buses in an orderly fashion. As soon as all the buses are loaded, they leave (about 2:10) and then any children that are "walkers" or being picked up are dismissed from 2:15 to 2:30 and then at 2:30 to 2:45 the after-school programs offically start...

    Obviously, there is no instruction going on at the school after 2, and everyone begins packing up at about 1:50...

    So I would say the "education day" ends at 1:45.

    I would make sure that Tigger really is missing out on something before complaining about the dismissal process.

  3. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member


    That is a good point. Thank you.

    I'm just so frustrated. If they hadn't screwed up his orchestra lesson time despite my repeated reminders that they needed to work together on this! Ugh!

    He needs his orchestra lesson. He loves playing but he has fallen too far behind his peers to actually play in the school orchestra. The goal was to use the next two years to catch him up so he can take orchestra in junior high when it becomes a class instead of an activity. We are doing our part by paying a small fortune for him to have weekly private lessons and to have them drop the ball on their end is frustrating.

    It isn't the end of the world for him to miss 1 special each week it is more the attitude of the school. That somehow my child matters less than the rest of the children when it comes to participation in the "fun" part of school.
  4. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Second draft:

    The reason for our meeting in August was to ensure that all of Tigger's services be provided in an appropriate schedule. Yet, today I was informed that I will have to chose between his only mainstreaming opportunity on Tuesday or his orchestra sectional. This is unacceptable. Please work with the orchestra teacher to solve this problem. The easy solution is to have Tigger go to orchestra immediately after his mainstream special (1:50pm-2:20pm) instead of the currently offered 1:30pm-2:00pm. While I realize that the bus has been leaving early, the school day is not over until 2:35pm so this should not present an insurmountable issue to have the bus wait a few minutes on Tuesdays as the driver will still have plenty of time to get to the other school before 2:35pm for their end of day.

    Thank you for your help in this matter,
  5. Christy

    Christy New Member

    I understand your dilemma especially since Tigger is already on an abbreviated day and you don't want it to be any shorter! I hope they can reschedule the orchestra time or find another time he can have a mainstream opportunity. Another possibility with the bus is that is is making two runs and therefore leaves earlier to be back to pick up another group of kids at dismissal. Are you available to pick up or drop off Tigger one day a week if they can schedule orchestra at one of those times? (If the bus can't accommodate a schedule change)

    Good Luck,
  6. Iamwipedouttoo

    Iamwipedouttoo New Member

    I have had to work with the special education system for over 16 years, not with my difficult child, but with my intellectually disabled child.

    I know how frustrating it is when you spend all that time and make all those decisions in the best interest of your child and think everyone is on board only to find out things aren't going as hoped!

    You have two very valid concerns. Both of which need to be addressed.

    I know I don't know the entire history so I'm going on the assumption the school has been cooperative in the past or you have no past history with them. :)

    First, and always, document everything - Dates and times your child is home before school is out. Dates and times your child is missing integrated time, etc. You get the picture.

    Second, before you write a note or send an email, I would call the teacher to explain person to person your concerns about the lesson taking away 30 minutes a week of your child's integration time and ask her how she felt about it. You could be on the same page. You may not be, but at least you will know.

    In addition, when you are talking with the teacher, find out when there might be a better time to take those lessons so they don't interfere with your child's integrated time. If she does't know ask her if she will look into to it. If she agrees to do that, pin her down as to when she'll know if anything else is available and follow up with her.

    If she doesn't get back to you with a reasonable solution or doesn't address it at all THEN you request an IEP meeting in writing that includes the reason for your request.

    The transportation issue is a tricky one, though, a very valid concern since your child is losing out on instruction time as outlined in her IEP.

    Unfortunately, this is not only a problem for your student but for all students this is happening to.

    I would ask the teacher why the students are leaving the school before their school day is over when I call her about the other issue. (I would ask her more as a side note, myself, like "Oh yeah, I noticed that difficult child was getting home at the time school is supposed to be letting out. Is that normal for this school (year, grade, etc)?"). Just get her explanation. Don't go into what you feel about it right now.

    If the explanation is not you somethign you can live with you are going to need to address this with the principal and, then, the transportation department. Addressing transportation issues takes time so I would not expect an immediate solution but continue to document everything in case you ever feel you need to go back to the school to request compensatory services.

    My suggestion is if transportation is a major issue in your school district that you do not go it alone but with other parents of children who are also affected by not receiving the educational hours outlined in their IEP.

    Be prepared, though, some parents don't see it as being an issue! As such, these are the things that Due Process Hearings are made of. Look for an educational advocacy organization in your area and ask them what they think about the situation. They probably will be able to offer advice in how you should proceed.

    I feel for you, girl.
  7. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I like your second note much better than the first...

    However, rather than requesting a teacher reschedule AND the bus re-schedule...is it possible for you to offer to pick Tigger up one day each week to allow for an "after-school" lesson? That might be easier accomplished than changing the transportation schedule (especially because you know that the moment the bus is a few minutes late somewhere else because of waiting a few extra minutes for Tigger that the Transportation Super is going to hear an earful from any other parent that has been affected by the change.)

    Good luck!

  8. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Okay, got to say I am impressed with his teacher. She talked to the orchestra teacher and his lesson is now after his special so the only problem is getting the bus to wait for him but that is above what the teacher can do. If we can't get the bus ordered to wait, then I will have to pick him up every Tuesday, all year, ugh. Course, I will do it cause he's my child.

    The bus would be 5-7 minutes later than current schedule so I'm not asking for the moon.
  9. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Could the driver pick up the other children first, then come get Tigger?
  10. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    As Tigger is the youngest of my four special education sweeties, I have a long (9 years and counting) relationship with our school district. Like all relationships we have had our ups and downs. It is easier to fight the big battles when they are doing something that clearly harms one of mine. It is these little battles when there is no blatant harm but it just isn't right.

    But to update, I think the school is working it out. :) :) :) I'll let you know if his teacher's efforts work!
  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Gosh, I didn't even have time to send good luck before you almost completely solved the problem. Way To Go.
    So sorry it's been so frustrating. Best of luck with everything.
    Glad the teacher is cooperating and making things happen.
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am glad they are working with you. Personally I see missing 100 minutes of instructional time a week as a big deal with LOTS of harm being done. Esp as Tigger's school day is only 245 minutes long including lunch. That means he is missing 100 out of 1225 minutes of instruction a week. Roughly 8% of the school week.

    If you subtract the time he is in lunch and recess (30 mins for both probably) then he only gets 1075 minutes of instructional time per week. That means he misses more than 9% of his instructional time. This could keep him from going to the next grade if the state auditors get picky. NOT a good thing, in my opinion.

    In our state if a child misses more than 10% of any quarter they are NOT passed on to the next grade. Period. They work very very hard to get parents to NOT make IEPs with less time for learning. The state auditors have held some kids back even after the school told them they passed to the next grade. All because the child missed more than 10% of the quarter. They work HARD to invalidate or ignore any IEP accomodations that lessen the school week or day (which is just plain wrong but they do it anyway with parents who just don't know their rights).

    But missing 8% of his schooling will take a big toll on how he can keep up with his peers and on his social development.

    PUSH the principal and school board to keep him in school the full day if at all possible. You should not have to drive him. It is THEIR job. But if it ends up making things a lot smoother then I could see driving. But if you do agree to drive him, get ready for the school to want you to drive him every day. It will gradually edge up to that. At least it does here.

    I really hope that they can arrange this so that he gets what he needs.. Sorry you work so hard before school begins and they muck around anyway.
  13. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member


    I have a more unique situation here. I'm actually the one fighting the school district to keep him partial day. If he is woken up too early (for him anytime before 9:00 or 9:30am) more than 1-2 days in a row, it throws him into a severe depressive state. We tracked it last year when we tried full days. He got more work done at school when he attended partial days and was a happier child.

    In our state, our schools have the option of retaining a child who misses 10% of more of the total school year (18 days) with unexcused absences. But our schools don't retain special education children nor do they retain kids who miss but have all passing grades. We have a doctors note that restricts Tigger to starting at 10:30am, so his late start would be considered "excused" anyway.

    PROBLEM SOLVED The program supervisor was not happy to find out that all of her special kids from these two schools were getting pick up early. She 'corrected' that with transportation and now Tigger's bus will be later, he will have his orchestra sectional without having to give up anything else, and the teacher will have another small block of time to teach :)

    I need to remind myself that this is not last year and that these staff do seem to care :)
  14. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    WOW!! It sounds like you have a really AWESOME school and support staff this year. I am glad your school district is much more relaxed about special needs kids and what they need.

    Our district is really good at all but one school for elementary. Ironically the BEST schools for meeting special needs are at the two poorest schools that much of the town regards as "substandard" in their snotty ways. We have been at both of them and the education is far better than the fancy expensive schools in the district. then we have terrible middle school and great jr high and high school.

    So our system is really wacky. I am glad that you figured out what Tigger needs to avoid depression. Depression is one of the scaries illnesses, in my opinion. I have had several close friends give in to depression and commit suicide. It breaks my heart.

    It really does sound like your school system cares. Such a wonderful gift to all the parents around the church.

    Keep on advocating for your precious children! You have done and are doing a great job making sure they have what they need, that they don't have to do things that would be detrimental AND that they have all they need to be successful in life.
  16. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Depression is what led us to a psychiatrist when Tigger was 5. No child should feel that the world would be better if he was dead. Looking back, I think Kanga was already filling his head with garbage. It is so hard not to be angry at her for the damage she did to my younger ones :(
  17. Christy

    Christy New Member

    So glad things worked out :)