Posts filed under ‘Kindergarten!’

Summer School and the Newly Minted First grade response

So, the summer of activities continues. We’ve finished with swim lessons, park camp and VBS-and moved on to Summer Literacy at school.

Since today was day 1 of summer literacy, we dragged Isaac out of bed and then brought him to “camp.” There, I found the following:
1. I can’t walk him to his classroom. The teachers come out and get the kids and then bring them out at the end of the day.
2. The kids are grouped by the grade the just finished rather than the grade they are entering. This caused a NICE uproar with my child.

yeah. I was thrilled with both of those. I was super thrilled with the second one. Isaac was NOT a happy camper. I got the ticked off response as only he can do. Whine petulantly and then when I call him on it, walk away with the hangdog look.

What bugged me the most about this morning was that there were a few parents who embodied the “suburban snob” that I have come to loathe and refuse to get myself sucked into being.

Apparently in years past, there was busing for this program. This year, due to budget constraints, there was no busing. BUT, there is busing for the 12 month students. These are the kids who are in need of school services 12 months out of the year per their IEPs. These are kids who don’t qualify for the low key summer literacy program because they need a smidge more than this.

This mom was complaining to the high heavens that her kids deserved busing and how she was going to have to get a 3 year old out the door to drop the kids off. Umm…hello? Your 2 other kids are getting 4 days a week of 3 hour a day instruction for free. There’s a maximum of 10 kids in each class. AND there’s a teacher aide in each! Suck up and deal. Driving your kids isn’t the worst thing in the world.

But Isaac came home and was ok with the entire thing. He was exhausted from the weeks prior, so he came home and crashed.

So, we’ll see how this goes. 3 weeks…and then we’re all done…

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July 26, 2010 at 1:57 pm 2 comments

The end of Kindergarten and the closing of the lab

This past week and a half has been quite the time. We’ve gone through a ton of changes here at Chez E. Nowhere.
Let’s do some detailing, shall we?

First, Doug got a new job (!) at a local drug and alcohol rehab center. He’s ecstatic. This means, as he puts it, No more G-tubes and crushing everything that’s possible to crush.

Okie dokie. Sounds like fun to me…

Isaac survived Kindergarten. So did I.
And had an awesome moving up ceremony.
The entire Morning AND Afternoon classes at Moving up day
singing at the moving up day. This is progress from last year!

and we had cake to celebrate,courtesy of my friend at Caitlin’s Creations (this is her facebook page-if you’re in the area, give her a shout! She does AMAZING work!)
Warehouse Mouse graduation cake! YUMM!

Now, I can’t believe we’re moving on to FIRST GRADE! Holy cow!

the good news in all of this is that we’ve got one of the two teachers we wanted. The bad news is that he’s not with two of the people I requested he stay with. But then again, that’s the way it rolls when you break one class of kids between three teachers.

The other good news in all of this hot mess is that there are (not kidding) 17 kids in Isaac’s first grade class. Yes, you read that right. 17.

I am thrilled.

AND all of his therapists stay the same.

Awesome.

Then, I had to suffer through class night for the outgoing 8th graders at my school. And when I say suffer, I mean suffer.

This is the most drawn out horrific night on the face of the planet. There’s dinner, yes, but oh, my lord. The presentations…

First, ONE BY ONE,the kids are called up to get their yearbooks.
THEN, ONE BY ONE,the kids are called up to get their memory books and caps and gowns.
THEN, ONE BY ONE, they’re called up to get their gifts. (and this is after speeches by the 8th grade homeroom teacher, the principal and the parish priest.)
AND THEN, there’s the class poem where they go through each of the kids ONE BY ONE

and finally, there’s the class video.

and that didn’t start until after a 10 minute diatribe by the 8th grade homeroom teacher.

I went home at that point. I had just been through Kindy Graduation. I wasn’t in any mood to be there.

Sitting through class night is an ordeal. It could be streamlined in so many ways. Seriously. BUT, it’s not mine to run…so I keep my mouth shut.

Then, I spent the last few days of school (not on my scheduled days) cleaning out the lab for the last time.

I was notified about a month ago (late in terms of everything) that my job was being eliminated. The principal got funding, and changed the position that I had was turned into not only the computer position, but RTE (I can do that with my eyes shut-it’s basically Special Ed stuff for Reggies), Professional development for the staff as well as marketing of the school.

Is it me, or does that seem to be 2 full time jobs rolled into one? Yeah. It is in my opinion.

I didn’t take the opportunity to reapply.

Why?

For years, I walked into war zones thinking that it wasn’t as bad as it seemed. It was always as bad or worse. When I took this job two years ago, I promised myself that I would only take it and stay if it wasn’t a war zone. I had to protect myself and my family from another school year of being stressed, sick and treated like trash because of things out of my control. I had a bad feeling about this job, and I had to listen to my gut. It’s all about self preservation.

So, as I closed the lab for the last time, signed things that I had to sign and finished off the stupid technology report cards (that the 7th grade teacher THREW OUT-yeah. Not redoing those) I had mixed emotions. I was happy and ticked for all of the work I put in. I was happy and sad to be leaving and not coming back. I was totally sad for the kids. I’m going to miss my wackjob kids and their bad answers.

But what’s done is done.

and when one door closes, there’s either a window or another door open. Don’t know where that is yet…and I’m not stressing as hard as I could be, because I want to enjoy a hard earned break, and I’ve got things to do with Isaac all summer-swim lessons, park camp, ice skating lessons…LOTS to do!!

So, this is the end in a lot of ways, but we’re all ok with this. And we’re ready for the summer to start!

June 27, 2010 at 9:06 am 3 comments

Special needs and first grade, take 4-the report card and meeting

So, I bet you’re all wondering how the meeting went and if all of my twitching was worth it…

well…
it was.

We pretty much got what we wanted out of the district, except summer OT. I don’t understand why with Isaac’s scores that summer OT is out of the question,but it is.

The other good thing is that Isaac is at grade level in a lot of his subjects. Normally a parent would EXPECT this,but this is Isaac, and he tests like garbage and is so highly distracted that even if he knows the information, he has trouble getting it out. So, the fact that we got some decent scores in some subjects is just amazing to me.

Since I was highly concerned about the “coteaching” room next year (the school uses a consultant model of coteaching. Not sure if I like this or not….) I put in a call to Plastic Principal. She had a good 30 minute conversation with me about the time frame of Isaac being out of the classroom-there’s lots of things that he’s pulled out for-6 specific times for therapy.-and I don’t want him missing any of classroom life. Turns out my kid is the only “coteaching” kid and resource kid int he first grade. Seriously? How is this possible? Turns out the rest of the kids with special needs are in the k-2 room, and most won’t be pushing into first grade at all-they’ll be pushing into Kindergarten, because they can’t hack first grade. My kid? He can hack it.

So, interesting…very interesting.

we shall see what happens come September. Right now, my focus is getting through kindergarten in one solid piece.

March 20, 2010 at 9:22 pm 3 comments

What’s the deal with this IEP flip out?

So, yes, I’m twitching about this IEP. I wish I didn’t have to. Seriously. BUT, I just want to explain WHY I’m twitching. This hasn’t just been an overnight “Oh, my sweet Lord, here comes an IEP, let’s get all hot and bothered about it,” but has been a cool run up of debacles, missed chances and excruciatingly painful non-access to the core curriculum.

I’m all sorts of disenchanted with this school district and the services it provides special needs kids. What’s the use of being in a “good” district when you can’t get a solid, quality education for your child? It just doesn’t make sense.

Here’s what’s happened…
I’ve spent the entire school year fighting to get information on Isaac. He’s on Adderol, and I really NEED information about how he’s surviving his day, so we know if we need to change dosing times or what have you. After the Vyvanse issue (depressed kid-it wasn’t pretty), we need to be very on alert. It took nearly 2 months to get them to realize that I wasn’t kidding. I needed this information and I was going to get it one way or another. They finally instituted a “notebook” and it was so disgustingly subjective. We’d get a note saying his day was “not well” and no explanation. We couldn’t figure out what the heck was going on. We didn’t know when to speak to him regarding his behavior, or reward him for good behavior.

We would also constantly get notes from his PT about how awful he was for her. Umm..we warned them. We also told them how to get him to be compliant for PT, and the PT poo-poo’d us. Well, fine. Then don’t complain.

Then, came the entire crowning glory of everything. We were asked to let them run the consequences of poor behavior at school and not even give him any consequences at home.

WHAT? You’re kidding me right?

Nope. They weren’t kidding. They wanted us to lay off.

Wanna hear what ticks me off about all of this? If we really had laid off, they would have been the first ones complaining regarding the lack of follow through at home. They would have lamented the fact that there was no home support.

Then, when I registered Isaac for hockey, I emailed the PT to see if he needed to wear AFOs with skates. I got back a huge diatribe about how bad an idea this was-to put him in hockey and how awful it would be for him, because he wouldn’t be able to negotiate with a stick and puck. She only relented after I sent back a quite curt, pointed email with the fact that this was a LEARN TO SKATE FOR HOCKEY program and that it was developmentally appropriate, and please answer the question-AFOs or not?

I had meetings and meetings and emails and phone calls, and all of that. I thought things were ok for a bit. Isaac was having good days, things were going well, people were doing their jobs. I could finally relax and know he was getting the best stuff he could get.

Then, in January, the final straw hit.

I had been noticing that the aide was doing tons of writing for him. Writing in his sight word books, his stories, ect. I was a bit concerned, but wasn’t really too sure. I figured I’d give it a bit and then maybe ask a polite question, as I had questioned the goals for OT from the start.

Then, a worksheet came home with a date on it of mid January. It was work that Isaac had been doing competently (if not excellently) in Pre-K over at his old school with his old OT, Pam in JULY.

This is when I fully and totally hit the roof. I fired off a polite, but pointed email to the OT and a less polite and no less pointed email to the consultant teacher and waited for responses. The OT was canned, and evasive. It was the largest cop out email I’ve read in a long time. She even CC’d the consultant teacher on her response. I also got a mail back from the consultant teacher explaining some things, angering me even further with their lack of pushing Isaac to give him full access to the core curriculum (which is required by federal law)

A list of suggestions from the OT followed the next day for things we can do at home to increase fine motor skills. This was a complete and total insult, as we do all of the things on the list. This is not what we asked for as follow through for home. We asked for actual work, letters, numbers, ect. We got a list.

Yeah. Nice.

Knowing that Isaac was no closer to writing (short of an I and a circle and some intersecting lines), I demanded a plan be put in place for him to write more, do more and possibly make a plan for at least the beginning of first grade for written responses. I made it clear that he could NOT have someone scribe for him at all times and it was unacceptable anyway. I suggested a keyboard or something (I can teach him how to type-he knows all of his letters…as evidenced by the fact that it was a goal for him and he achieved it by, oh, OCTOBER…told them…) that would allow him to do his own responding. I also made it clear that the lack of writing and pencil control at this point in the year was quite unacceptable, and we can’t follow through at home if nothing is being done at school.

The consultant teacher said she’d work on that with the OT, and everyone else. Ok. I’ll let that ride for now. She’s usually pretty good at this stuff.

Then, at the latest PTA meeting, I asked the principal when I could place requests in for next year. I’m concerned about peer grouping, ect. Plus, there’s one teacher I want him to avoid, because I KNOW the two of them won’t get along and it will be MISERABLE. I can’t do miserable.

When I asked her about when requests have to be in, she snapped at me “Isaac will be in the coteaching classroom because he has an IEP!”

umm…so, since when does that matter? They use a consultant/push in model. Does it really matter what room he’s in?

And the PE teacher can’t seem to do without his aide (who he only has half time) because she won’t redirect him to the activity by herself, which his hockey coaches can do just fine with 3x the number of kids!

Honestly, I think the only thing they have right is the fact that I’m not going to tolerate any lowball goals like I did last time. They won’t even try it…

Now do I have permission to be twitchy and flip out over this impending meeting?

February 15, 2010 at 10:57 am 2 comments

100 days of school = 100 ___________ in a ziploc.

I swear-I think the homework that Isaac has is meant to be sweet revenge for all of the insane things I’ve assigned over the years in the name of education.

This year, by district rules, Kindergarten kids are supposed to have 15 minutes of homework a week. Our wonderful Kindergarten teacher (bless her-she does AM and PM kindergarten…) decided that their weekly sharing would be their homework. This is due to the fact that it works on public speaking, ect.

My darling child has no problem with this. We’re a far cry from 3 years ago when he said one word and would just melt down…now, we can’t get him to shut up…must be the ADHD. Yeah, that’s it…the ADHD. But, I digress…

So, we’ve been plodding along with the LAME sharing topics (my name is special because, I can, tell a joke -see? LAME!!) and I’ve been begging for a more homework like experience for Isaac. He needs to have more than his sharing, which, like Mami-he does on the fly-he gets his sharing and nails it down as he runs out the door for the bus.

Maybe he got my talent for Extemporaneous speaking-heck…it’ll serve him well if our district STILL has a speech and debate team…I did go to a tourney there once…I think I even placed…but again, I digress.

This week’s sharing has to do with the 100th day of school. I have no clue why this is such a big thing. I just don’t get it-classes are now celebrating being in school 100 days. Umm…I was always on the countdown…80 more to go! (A school year in New York is 180 days…)
But they celebrate it and do lots of things with the number 100.

We got a note home from our darling Kindergarten teacher that for sharing this week, each student had to come in with 100 items that fit in a gallon ziploc bag. Yeah. a gallon ziploc bag. I was less than thrilled.

So, I got to thinking…what can fit in a bag….what can I get 100 of on the cheap or even free?

Some good friends of mine were coming up with AWESOME ideas-100 grains of rice, 100 pasta noodles, 100 q tips…

But hrm…we have to be different. Seriously. It’s almost a preoccupation of mine.

Last night, I decided to hit the craft store on the hunt for the 100 items. I was thinking buttons, pom poms, googly eyes, pipe cleaners…anything that was cheap and different.

I stopped in at the ‘bux I used to sling at to clear my head and see if some friends were working, and I encountered MichyMoo and Big W! NICE!

So, they asked me what was new, and I began to lament this insane 100 day project. MichyMoo who has two kids who have been through this before, laughed and knew exactly what I was talking about.

I looked at Big W on the bar and said “So, W, got 100 coffee beans?”

Now, mind you…this was sarcastic and offhanded. I did not expect him to go into the bin of coffee beans that were going to be chucked and fill a pastry bag with them!

I left with my latte, and Isaac’s 100 day project covered! WOOHOO!

I came home and met up with the boys, and counted the coffee beans as required with the shrimp. (we had to put them into bundles of 10 and count the 10 bundles by 10!) and into the ziploc they went.

I swear, this is Karmic revenge for all of the random projects that I’ve given over the years.

but we have our 100 coffee beans in the ziploc ready to go!

gotta love the awesomeness of the green apron!

February 7, 2010 at 2:16 pm Leave a comment

It’s February! Let the games begin!

No, I’m not talking Olympics-but i will be watching and really getting waaaay too far into the Olympic hockey, both men’s and women’s. Seriously. It will be overload. So, be warned.

What the games are for me at this time of year are the IEP games. Last year, it was the kindergarten debacle. This year, we’re talking first grade debacle. Right now, we’re not in debacle land quite yet, and I don’t know if we’ll get to the heights of what we went through last year, but one never knows in dealing with this school district.

At least Isaac’s consultant teacher has some sort of sense in her head. She had the good sense when dipwads from the district said “we want all IEPs done at your school in NOVEMBER.” to say “Not a chance.”  We got pushed to March. Not terrible…but still annoying.

I’m truly not looking forward to getting the majority of the reports back from the teachers/therapists. Based on the one I got early,  I’m not impressed. She not only had wrong items on the report, but things were all sorts of misspelled, and things that shouldn’t have been noted in this report were.

I’m so not ready for this. I’m already writing request letters for teachers and to see if we can keep his shared aide with him…unless she wants to stay in kindergarten…

I don’t know if I can handle the stress of the IEP this year. I’ve emailed the consultant teacher many a time, and I think the line that says it all here is the following:

“Something has to give here, and I’m afraid it’s going to be my sanity.”

I knew the IEP process sucked for teachers, but you have no idea how bad it sucks for the parents until you’re on this side of the fence…

February 1, 2010 at 10:01 am Leave a comment

The great backpack fiasco of 2009, the reprise!

Let me start this tale by saying that I hadn’t planned on this happening. Seriously. I hadn’t. But, Isaac demanded that I send applesauce in with him, in his Star Wars thermos, so I did. BUT, he didn’t close it all the way, and whammo. Applesauce all over the pack.

We did what any parent worth their salt would do. Empty the pack and toss it in the washing machine with the next load of wash, which happened to be towels. We’ve done this with all of our packs and bags, both REI, EMS and LL Bean. We have never, ever, ever had a pack come out of the wash looking like this:
 Yep, that's a big rip!
Yeah, that's a HOLE.
Oh, lookie loo. That's ANOTHER hole!

Needless to say, I was NOT impressed with the LL Bean backpack that we had fought so hard to get. Knowing full well LL Bean has a satisfaction guarantee, and that we needed a backpack for the morning, I called the local store.

I had a nice chat with a kindly gentleman, who totally understood my predicament and really wanted to help me out…but they don’t carry the LL Bean Original Bookpack in the store. They only have them online.

Yes, I knew that.

So, I told him that I didn’t care if we got a deluxe bookpack or whatever, as long as we had SOMETHING that met the following criteria:
1) was red.
2) was large enough to hold snowpants, a lunch box and other assorted things in the winter.
3) was small enough for a kindergartener’s back.
4) Would last for a few years.

He told me he had two things in stock-
1) the deluxe bookpack.
2) the critter backpack, which has a shark on it.

Now, the only problem is that these two backpacks cost a bit more than the one I purchased. I was NOT willing to pay for the upgrade to the backpack. I wanted a straight out even exchange if I was going to be made to get a more expensive pack.

I explained this to the kindly gentleman on the phone who explained that he couldn’t do this without a manager’s approval.

I understand that. It’s at least at $10.00 difference!

Now, it’s here that some people would say that I’m being unreasonable. I don’t think I am after what we went through to GET the pack in the first place, and the fact that we had purchased it in July, never even took it out of the package until September and my child had only used it to and from school for not even 3 weeks. Also, to refresh memories, I was given lectures on how I was going to ruin my child’s bones by purchasing the pack that I did, even though I explained I knew how to load a backpack and would be sure to watch out for overloading…and how can you overload a kindergarten backpack? I even did my homework on ratings, age appropriateness and the like. So, I don’t feel I’m being unreasonable.

Back to the tale…

Kindly gentleman puts me on hold and comes back and lets me know that the manager had approved the even swap, due to our immediate need and extenuating circumstances. I tell the nice guy that I’ll be in to get the pack in about 30-45 minutes.

I hop in the car and head down to the mall and the LL Bean store. I walk in and take the pack to the register. Explain the whole story, tell them that there’s a critter pack waiting for me and that I just need to do the whole exchange.

Then, I see her. One of the lecture givers…and she said “Oh, is that the jr. backpack?”
I told her it wasn’t and got the eye roll…then, she accused me of putting the pack in the DRYER.

Umm..the pack was still wet from the washer! How could it have even come CLOSE to going through the dryer?

As I’m being rung out, the clerk notices that the critter pack was more expensive than the backpack I was returning. I explain what I was told on the p hone, and they bring back Ms. Lecture. She ok’s the even exchange and I go on my way…to deliver this:
Look! It's a backpack with a shark and no holes!

To a waiting 5 year old, who was beyond happy that his new backpack was:
1) red
2) had a shark on it.

Now, can we please just get through the year without another fiasco that involves a backpack or a part of Isaac’s room?

October 1, 2009 at 8:00 am 2 comments

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