When Karen said, “You should be a guest writer for my blog”, I was cracking up… what could I possibly write about that would be as fabulous as the things she writes? … She suggested I write about the new school program that G3 is in… hmmmm? I still wasn’t convinced... the program is so wonderful that there is nothing eventful or funny to write about.. I have no communication with the school or the teachers… except for the little slip of paper G3 brings home daily that gives a conduct “grade” for the day… that’s it.. no phone calls.. no emails.. no drama… nothing…It took me an entire year to get G3 evaluated… every time he was sent to the office and written up and suspended, I requested an IEP, but nothing would ever happen…. He was suspended 47 days and was failing 3rd grade.. fortunately, in Florida, they have a State-wide test called the FCAT that assesses whether a student has learned everything that he needs to know to pass… so, technically, a kid can be an “A” student and still score poorly on the test and would have to take remedial classes to pass… OR.. as in G3’s case, a kid can have “F’s” on their report card and score 3 (it’s a 1-5 scale with 1 being the lowest) and be promoted to the next grade… well, G3 scored 4.. so, he was on his way to the 4th grade.. hurray!! .. NOT... he needed help, I needed help, but no one was helping us.. all they kept saying is, “he is so brilliant, we don’t understand what the problem is..” .. really? You don’t understand? He has a diagnosis from a Neurologist that says he has ADHD combined type and Aspergers… what’s not to understand? He needs accommodations.. “Oh, okay, well, we have to document that in order to request an IEP… we’re going to tolerate his behavior during the evaluation period and not suspend him ..” ….. “really? Gee, thanks” …So… that’s exactly what happened…. And we endured the torture…. he was doing everything possible to get suspended.. and I was listening to the “play-by-play” of how horrific he was behaving… how none of the other students were able to learn anything with him around… how it was just totally unacceptable.. how he was depressed.. how I wasn’t consistent with him.. how I was too “free-spirited” … and on and on… but, we sucked it up and got the IEP meeting… I couldn’t stand these people already… I didn’t want to hear anything they had to say about my kid… and they had a lot to say…. And all the while, my child with his hoodie on and his head down listening to “their” assessment… all I kept thinking to myself was how lucky they were that I was tired of fighting them… I just wanted him out of that school…Another teacher joins the meeting towards the end… like an “Ambassador of Goodwill” … she explains this “special” program to us… the kids are held accountable for their behavior… they work on a “point” system that fluctuates like the stock market… there are 2 teachers and an aide for the 9 students in the class… I’m thinking, “Stop talking woman.. of course we are going to that program and like right now, please!!!!.. There are only 2 elementary schools in Miami-Dade County that have this program… we chose the school where the District Psychologist visits so that G3 wouldn’t feel as if he was totally “alone” at his new school.. at least he would know her.. and he liked her, which was a plus… He, of course, was apprehensive, but when he arrived to a classroom of 9 boys, who all love “Assassin’s Creed”.. well… He was in heaven!!… Yeaaaay!!! …. I, of course, was apprehensive, but when I picked him up and he wouldn’t stop talking about all the “points” he received for his good behavior... and how cool his “new” friends were… and how he loved his THREE teachers… YES…… Amen. Amen. He was finally where he was supposed to be…
Anyway, I decided to write this because tomorrow, May 2nd, is “Take your kid to work day” (oh that’s fun..lol…. let’s be real.. it’s a day off for every one…. I get the field trip form and I say, “G3, you can stay home with Papa… he would love that..” “sure, Mama…. I can play games all day” … (That was last week) … Yesterday, I ask him if he turned the field trip form in and he said, “No, Mama.. I am going to school because only one friend will be there and I don’t want him to be alone.” ……… Hmmmm… well, alright. Today, when I pick him up, I comment it to his teacher and she said, “Well, NO ONE turned their field trip forms in… G3 convinced them ALL come to school… I feel so blessed… lol” …(I think she was being sarcastic) but I responded, “Oh, Ms. May... I feel so blessed, too… my child loves you so much that he WANTS to come to school and WANTS all his friends to come, too…. Last year, at this time, he cried every day because he NEVER wanted to go to school… so, thank you for all that you do… you have made a huge difference in his life…” …. She just kind of stared at me for a moment and then said, “You know, I really love what I do... thank you for reminding me.”Wow, I have written a lot… and I guess all I really wanted to say was… There is hope… do not give up… everyone has a place in society… and with determination, you can help your child find their place… there are good people and teachers and other kids who will “get” your kid… and they will love them… and they will want them to succeed… your child can be happy.. you can be happy… I know it’s hard to imagine… and believe me, not every day is an “A” day, but the slate is wiped cleaned… and the next day, everyone begins with the same opportunity to have an “A” that day… the program works… since G3 has been in that school, he has received the “Perfect Attendance” award for two grading periods!!!Last week, I met a woman at tumbling that was having the same kind of issues with her son’s school … I gave her all the information about our new school.. all the contact information for the District Psychologist… all the email addresses.. everything that I could to help her… and at the end of the week, she said, “Thanks.. I’ve made some calls… I written some emails… and I have HOPE now.” ….
Awesome, right? That’s what it’s all about for us…. HOPE!