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.