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Time to Trim the Sails

Posted Aug 11 2009 9:54am

SAIL TRIMMING - This is the process of adjusting the sails regularly to ensure that the boat is getting the right driving power.

Today is finally the day for Ashley’s IEP meeting to determine both her educational program for next school year (yes, the one that starts in just a few weeks), and her placement. Oh how I wish that things would go smoothly.

I am an optimist – always have been. But, my school district has beaten that out of me when it comes to Ashley’s educational program. So, before any of you well meaning readers offer me ideas and advice on getting along with my school district, please search this blog with the term ‘education’ before offering that advice. As much as it pains the optimistic spirit inside me, I already believe things will not go well today.

There are so many issues. Lack of communication support – Ashley really is deaf, I have the audiology report to prove that, and her only means of communication is sign language. Trust me, over the summer, she has not learned to hear what you are saying. Lack of Braille instruction – Ashley really is blind, I have the opthamology report to prove that. This summer has also not brought a miraculous healing of her eyes. Lack of belief in her academic ability – Ashley really is smart, I have work samples and videos to prove that. She is, however, a teenager, and if she thinks she can get away with being lazy, she will. Your expectations will set the path for her performance.

My school district is bringing eleven people to the meeting – ELEVEN! I am bringing no one. Tell me, how productive a meeting can we really have with twelve people sitting around a table? The only positive thing about the meeting is that it starts at 1pm today and I have never, ever known a school district employee to work past the time they are scheduled to end work for the day. So, I know our meeting will end promptly at 5pm. That doesn’t mean will we have a completed IEP – in fact, I’m sure we won’t because I am not signing anything until my attorney reviews it.

I’m prepared for the meeting – consultant reports, medical reports, work samples, etc all tucked neatly into my binder with copies for all ELEVEN school staff. I’m sure the school staff will also come prepared – a draft IEP they expect to be signed as is, written comments from their ‘highly qualified’ teachers and aides, and enough opinions to power a sail boat on a calm day.

Unfortunately, I think the seas are going to get mighty rough this afternoon…Please pray for smooth sailing and for passenger Ashley to be provided the services she needs and to which she has a right.
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