I once was talking to a parent about strategy for a meeting, specifically what she wanted to bring up. She talked about how many kids in the school must also be suffering the way her child is. She was thinking about budgets and funds that could be better spent. She was worried the school would see her as selfish for just worrying about her kid. I asked her to drop the concern about appearing selfish. Or pushy. Advocating for her kid was advocating for all kids, because holding a school's feet to the fire can help all of the students. Her task at hand was limited to one child.
At a recent meeting, I needed to express that I do not think the school has the capability to do what the student in question needs. What a hard thing that is for everyone involved. Even the most caring, intelligent school staff has its limitations. As a classroom teacher, I was frequently frustrated about students who arrived in my upper elementary classroom with major, unaddressed learning issues. I couldn't help them. Other people who had been working with them couldn't help them. So I screamed. I nagged and pleaded. I didn't teach those kids what they needed, but I helped them get services. I only was able to do so because the school I worked in had or was able to access needed resources.
One student I remember learned to read because my school had an LD teacher who recruited a friend who was trained in a program that would work for her. Years later I was looking up former students and found she had gone to GMU. She made it from a fourth grader who couldn't sound out simple words to college. I will never apologize for being demanding when it comes to children who need help.
Don't go to IEP meetings alone! Bring me with you! Or a friend, neighbor or grandparent! Someone who can take notes for you and help you digest what happened afterward. Even if the school representatives are universally kind and child-focused, being outnumbered can be intimidating.
I have been reading up on IEPs lately, which is bringing up memories of how frequently parents are not fully included in the process. Not sure what you can expect from the school? Let's talk!
I am having so much fun doing homeschool evaluations! Compass Homeschool Enrichment partnered with me, which means I get to make some homeschool families' lives easier by doing evaluations on campus in Oakton.
I am evaluating students I have know for years and made some new friends. All of these kids are knocking my socks off! From unschoolers to school-at-homers, they are doing interesting things, taking an active role in their learning, and making great progress! I am particularly thankful for the progress, because it means I don't have to fret being able to pass them and get to focus on pumping them for names of good books and hearing about the interesting things they are studying. One of my favorite comments so far was from a teen's mom at the end of our session: "Well, that was easier than two days of testing!"
I have time slots available on Wednesdays and Fridays through the make-up days in June.
I am going to partner with the folks at Compass Homeschool Enrichment in Oakton to provide evaluations this spring! This will make things so convenient for me that I am able to offer a significant discount to parents.
I will have appointment slots available on Wednesday and Fridays. Contact me to schedule!