Monday, November 27, 2006

Strange days indeed...

So it's Monday morning and I'm locked out of my office. We have two doors we can use to get in. One is a door that opens onto the sales floor which is always locked when we leave. The other is a door that leads to the stock area which we never lock...except someone seems to have locked it. The problem is that no one has a key to either of these doors. I have a key to my office but that is inside the textbook office which is the room I can't get into. Great way to start the week, right?

I haven't posted because I've had some stuff going on and I've been obsessing on it quite a bit. Ian's parent teacher conference did not go well. His teachers feel he is lost and they want him to go back to a self contained special ed class. The problem is he is getting far more than they realize. One of the teacher's even admitted how shocked she was when she worked with him one on one as to how much he knew. He's learning beautifully. He comes home overflowing with new things. He is simply not sharing it in class. If he is uncertain of what to do he will simply sit there while all the other kids go and do what their supposed to do. Needless to say we were devastated. His pre-school teacher had recommended an integrated setting as had CSE which is the committee that assesses kids in the NYC Public School system. I fought that to get him into the school he is in because it's small and progressive. I felt that he could do better there than in an integrated class in a regular school. Oddly enough it turned out that the Kindergarten this year is an integrated class. I figured that was the best of both worlds, he's certified general ed but in a class with two teachers so he will get extra attention anyway. Doesn't seem to be working out that way.

The thing is Ian is extremely introverted when he goes to school. He is a completely different child from the one that we see at home and everywhere else. Mind you since September he has blossomed tremendously, he speaks to everyone in the school (that's amazing for him). He's got a ton of friends and he's happy to go to school everyday. I feel that to pull him out of this school that he loves would be a breach of his trust. Unfortunately they don't currently have a Kindergarten Special Ed class. It's a third grade at the moment. It may cycle back down to K next September but that hasn't been decided yet. Which means if he does go into special ed he leaves the school, frankly in my district, special ed is spotty at best. I won't let him go into a class where the other kids all have behavioral and emotional issues. That mix won't help him at all.

Of course I'm more than a little pissed that they can just make this decision 2 months into the school year. So what does that mean? Have they given up on him? Are they even trying anymore? I wonder also if he would be getting more attention in the class itself from the special ed teacher if he was certified as special ed. She seems to not have much experience and I wonder how well the team teaching is going overall. It seems to me no child should be getting "lost" in a class with two full teachers. We spoke to his speech teacher, who he is doing wonderfully with, and asked her to "push in" for one of his sessions. Basically she will work with him within the context of the class. We'll see if that helps. In the meantime I am trying to have him independently evaluated here at NYU so I have some idea of what he is capable of. I am also going to call his pre-school teacher to see if there is any strategies she found particularly helpful with him. I am also not completely against him repeating Kindergarten. I'm not a big believer in four year olds starting Kindergarten (Ian turned five in late October). I realize many kids are ready at that age but I would bet just as many are not. I think it should be a choice, based on the individual kid. It seems to me that turning five by December 31 is a bit too wide a window. Many districts elsewhere require a child to be 5 by September 1st. Why can't there be more leeway for parents to decide what's best for their child.

Ok, sorry for venting on you. Now you see why I haven't posted. Of course oddly enough I'm not the only parent going through this exact thing right now. The problem I have is I can't separate the fact that the stress should come from the decision about what's best for Ian today, rather than stressing about what it means for the rest of his life. I tend to be a bit obsessive about this kind of thing.

Aah here's someone with a key, time to start my workday. I promise some knitting next time...