School Days Aren't Always Golden

Micah will be 5 in the spring and I think we'll hold him a year before starting him in kindergarten. And then he'll enter the big kid world and forever leave mommy babyless. *sniff*sniff*

He's currently in a preschool just for kids with delays. Our public school has a preschool and I wanted to enroll Micah this fall to prepare him for kindergarten. He'll be used to the setting, the teachers and their routine and ready to start kindergarten with a learning mindset. But I was thrown for a loop. I've learned that our school sends their special needs students to another district. I am a bit peeved about this.

The first time I'd heard this was from a parent of a DS girl in our district. Her child goes to a school in a district we all consider the armpit of the county. You know, the school with the worst education, the most problems, the all-ego and no-brains kids. Unless you're from there (for several generations) you do NOT send your kids to this school. You run from it. I am NOT happy that Micah could possibly attend here. As in, over my cold dead body.

So as any good and concerned parent would do, I let this simmer for a month or so before I went to have a chat with the school principal. I wanted to be sure I was able to form words and not just make noises. I did not mention what I'd found out, I wanted to hear it from him first before I started making accusations and screaming obscenities. (And I don't swear.) He told me differently, though. He said they have contract to send them to another district. The one that's the biggest in the county, the town where we do all our shopping, the county seat. Again with the mixed feelings. MUCH better, mind you, but the school is huge. I love our tiny educational center.

I've resigned myself to the fact that it's for my son's best, though. Truly. So we have a meeting tomorrow morning at the school to discuss plans for him. What should we do about preschool, when would be the best time to start kindergarten, all that kind of stuff. And believe you me, if the school suddenly changes their stance on where he will attend I will go all mama bear on them. I doubt they'll survive the carnage. And I've got an army backing me up. The school will be represented by the principal and psychologist. I will be bringing along the preschool coordinator, his speech therapist, his Behavioral Services Coordinator, and his MHMR Services Coordinator.

I'm taking cookies to the meeting. Sugaring them up may help them see things my way.

29 comments:

Madame Queen said...

Are you sure you're not from the South? Cause the best way get flies is with sugar, not with vinegar, as the old saying goes. Go in nice, but if they give you any trouble you give them heck! Okay, you may want to go a little stronger than that....

Bluepaintred said...

yes, cookies will help. I have been fighting our school system for four years. (They want me to drug my son, and I refuse. He is a little boy and is supposed to be hyper!)

I bring cookies or donuts or some other snack to all of our meetings

kimmy said...

Good luck at the meeting. I know what it feels like to be "babyless". When my daughter entered Kindergarten I felt the same way. I still want a third, but my husband is a NO GO!!!!

Kimmy

Maria said...

Well I definitely see why you would be concerned! Good luck. I hope you get it all worked out for the best.
Maria

LaskiGal said...

Hopefully this means that they have far more resources at this larger school. In our rural area we have few resources and there is talk of more and more cuts for SE all the time. I hate that! As a teacher in this district I am continually peeved that we hold expectations high for our children but we give them so little to help them reach them. Very frustrating.

Hopefully it will all work out for you--it is a good sign that the principal talked with you and explained.

I hope all works out and you won't need to go all "mama bear" on them (but if you do, I'm with ya!).

Ooh . . . yeah, and good idea with the cookies!

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

The Big "D" is a huge downer. If I have any idea that is coming, that it's brewing, I will NOT THE LEAVE THE HOUSE FOR ANY REASON. I will even leave somewhere I JUST ARRIVED if I get the gurglies!!

Hallie

girlymom said...

Oh I hope it all works out in your favor. You should be able to go where you want when you want. Best of luck and keep us updated.

utmomof5 said...

Good Luck!! I am like you I have to sit on things for a awhile so I don't make just noises and canactually get my point across.
I love the Mama Bear thing, you go girl!!

Christina

Deb in OPKS said...

Fight, fight, fight and never give up! I know you won't but that makes me so mad. For all the progress we have made, we still have a long way to go to get a good education for our children. I think it is just as important to have your child with special needs at school with his siblings. A local district in our area only has certain elementary schools that take the children with special needs. I was worried ours would be the same, but when Peanut enters kindergarten she will go to our home elementary school. I've heard some things about the principal, but I'm prepared to keep an open mind until proven otherwise, then like you, mama bear in on the case, but my husband is even better at it than me. I pray it all works out for you and Micah.

BTW, last night I tried the chocolate cherry dr. pepper. It tastes like a cherry tootsie pop. I don't think I could handle very much of it. I'll stick with my vanilla coke.

THE MOM BOMB said...

Good luck at that meeting! I like your idea of cooling down and thinking things through before commenting to teachers/principals. Too often I get too emotional and either don't comment at all or run off at the mouth.

Tootsie Farklepants said...

You handled it like a true pro! Good luck with the meeting.

Andrea said...

We live in a small school district too. My son's first grade class has 20 kids in it. But for kids with special needs, they go to school with everyone else. My friend has a son with special needs and he is asigned a "counsler" that goes with him to class. It's like his own personal teacher. But this way he gets attention and doesn't disrupt the class and so on. I think it's a great solution and it keeps all the kids together. Not a special class and all. You are a lot nicer than I would have been. I would have insisted that my son go to the school that all the rest of my kids go to and it's about time that the small school gets with the program. Sorry I will get off my soap box. You are much nicer than I am. :)

Sniz said...

You go girl. The school district needs to learn they can't mess around with mama.

Melissa said...

I'll be sending you kick a$$ vibes that everything turns out as you hope!!

AnGlOpHiLe FoOtBaLl FaNaTiC said...

I think big districts have wonderful resources for special needs. And, they tend to attract great teachers cause they can afford to pay them. I'm sure you'll actually love it! Keep us posted.

Jen said...

I think one thing to consider is not to look at it as who is on what side. You all have the best interests of your child in mind, but have different ideas about how to get there. My DH worked for years as a school psych, and I can't tell you how many times parents came in irate with something or other, and expected him to be "on the other side" before listening to his opinions & experience. If your district professionals really are hostile, check around (ask other parents, and the professionals you've hired yourself) if there is a non-profit advocacy group who can help mediate & represent you.

I'd recommend addressing it instead as a collaboration, and take the meetings first as a chance to get on the same page with each other before anyone gets irate.

Depending on the population demographics of the large school they may have access to more money and better programs too-there could be a lot of benefits. Look at the teacher to student ratios too-in a small school often one teacher has tons of kids & in a larger school there are more adults per student (because of more money through title programs & special grants.) Bigger doesn't always mean diluted attention, and a bigger city almost always will have access to professional consultants that aren't available in a more rural area.

Good luck!

Sandy C. said...

Good luck sweetie....That's good thinking to go in with a more level head. I hope all goes well. Keep us posted!

Karen said...

I so appreciate all your well wishes. I don't mind the larger district because it DOES have better resources and things that our tiny school just can't provide. As much as I'd like him with his siblings, it's really for his good. And I really am going in with an open mind. Our school has the BEST principal in the entire world and he's so very understanding. But so help me, if he renigs on the larger district thing and threatens to send M to the armpit school (smaller than our district!)...

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

1. I think I know which "big" city you are referring to and if so, I have heard great things about the schools. A friend of mine was a First Grade teacher there until she was lured away by bigger money in a different state. Her class was a blended needs class and she was certainly given the resources and assistance needed to do the best job possible. It just might work out if that is where Mr. Micah ends up.

2. I swear. If you need somebody to do some cussing, just let me know.

3. Darn you people and your ability to find the Diet Chocolate Cherry Dr. Pepper! I drink soda maybe once a week and would LOVE the taste of a cherry tootsie pop for that occassional veer off the watery path.

jessica said...

good luck at the meeting. sounds like you don't need luck. you've got cookies!

blog

OHmommy said...

Hope the meeting goes well. The cookies are a great idea. You have to be your own advocate and fight for what you believe. Good luck!

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

People say I must spend all my time homeschooling. I don't spend half as much time homeschooling as most people do dealing with the school system! Good luck.

Flea said...

You go, Mama Bear!

Pam said...

Being a teacher - I applaud you for taking time to calm down before storming in and breaking down the doors of the school. You have every right to get the education you want for your child, but thank you for doing it in the appropriate way. I hope this school will meet your expectations and give you a good feeling about sending your 'baby' to be in their hands. I have been part of many of these meetings and have seen them go in all directions. Share your side, listen to their side, stand firm on your desires and don't let them walk all over you, be nice but firm. Oh, and I sure wish someone would bring me cookies - I would be much happier and willing to do whatever that mommy wanted! ;)

Shellie said...

Well. it's looking like your boy won't end up in the armpit so that's good. Anyhow, no one can force you to go there. I'm all with you on remaining calm and having support, and trying to get on the same page with everyone. My boys ended up in a special kindergarten at a title 1 school that is an extention of the Pre-school. We love it, the class is small-12 kids with 2 aids and lots of resources motor room, speech, OT, etc. It's been great! Hope they can do something like that for your boy.

Colleen said...

Yes, hopefully this bigger school, while not with his siblings, will be able to provide all the support that Micah needs. Certainly better than how our crappy county has the schools setup here. My girlfriend teaches 4th grage and had a special needs student in her class, except that whomever decided to put this child in a "mainstream" class didn't evaluate her, because in 4th grade she couldn't tie her shoes and could barely get herself dressed after using the washroom, and actually still needed some help in the washroom, and she couldn't read. While my girlfriend didn't mind helping her, she still had 20-something other students and no aide or helper. I know my girlfriend had to throw a fit in her principal's office to try and get this student the help she needed. Unfortunately this isn't an uncommon event. Don't know why we don't try to do what PA counties do.
Either way, I hope it all works out for the best.

Cecily R said...

I'm behind again, but I hope the meeting went well. I don't know Micah for real or anything, but what I do know about him, any school would be lucky to have him (and his mom) as a part of their school.

Michelle said...

I know every state and school district are a bit different, but can they legally decide that he "automatically" gets sent to another district? Seems like he should be given the opportunity to go to school right there in the district he's currently in - isn't that part of the "Least Restrictive Environment" from the NCLB Act? Kayla is also in a DD preschool, but it's part of the public preschool and they also have peer models - typically developing kids too. I'm told that she'll go right into Kindergarten next fall and there doesn't seem to be any discussion of needing to send her to another district. It's all so confusing though; I hope you get things figured out!

Susie said...

GO MAMA BEAR!!! You reminded me of my teaching days...........You have rights--tons of them. I am a former teacher--from a school that was not even mainstreamed, much less included, and we had to send kids with special needs out of district as well.
I didn't understand it then, but do now, why a couple of parents fought tooth and nail to keep their children in the regular classroom--with a special ed teacher co-teaching with me and doing individual pullouts in her own classroom. THE PARENTS made that happen--and all of a sudden the school was mainstreamed and the special ed teacher found herself a full time job. HUGE court case and tons of time and pain for the teachers and admin., but the mom didn't care--her son came first...and now that I am a mom I totally get it.

go mama bear! You can do whatever you want--cookies or not--to protect and serve your own families needs--and with your own private army, that school had better watch out!

LOVE THIS BLOG!!!!!!!

btw, my aunt just celebrated birthday 52--she has DS as well.