Monday, February 17, 2014

Gathering Information and Documenting Concerns

Our Review of Existing Data meeting is scheduled for February 24 at 8am. These next 2 meetings are make it or break it meetings. That means time is running out and I don't have time for games, I need 1. information, and 2. documentation.

In this 30 day stretch I have done way too much pestering. Lord knows it's not any more fun for me than it is them. I made a few more requests for records. There is a very nice man I have been working with in the administration office. He's trying so hard to be nice and helpful and encouraging and to show me that we are a TEAM (all together, you know. not a team within a team.) and I really like him and I appreciate the help but there's not a chance in hell that I'm going to trust his word.

I made a few more requests for records phrased as reminders. He finally said he mailed them. Well, since the last 6 of my requests went through his office and I had to ask again a week after filing my second formal written request, I went ahead and asked the superintendent for the information I needed to take the next step. It started out good. I simply asked for information on how to file a complaint and who to file a complaint with. I was careful not to give any details because I didn't want this to be considered a complaint. I have an entire contact log and such to include in my actual complaint. Then he said he was going to ask the very nice man about my concerns. Now, you know I have a freaking lot of concerns, so the very nice man probably wouldn't know which one he was talking about unless I gave a specific concern. So, I gave a specific concern. Next thing I know, the very nice man is calling me. He really mailed them. They may not have gone out in the mail the day he said they would, they may have gone out in the mail today, but he really mailed them. Then the superintendent e-mailed me back with nonsense. Like, I didn't make as many requests as I said I did and the very nice man mailed Goofy's records days ago. The responding e-mail was not one of my best moments. Really, learn from my mistakes here, please. Keep your cool. Stick to the plan.

Next, I have already found out how RtI works in other schools, but I still don't know how it works in the Goofy Child's school. I've been told what it's NOT, but not what it IS. I've been told that it's helping Goofy but not how. These are answers I need before the RED meeting. To get those answers, I went to the source- the person who is responsible for the RtI portion of the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan, the Assistant Superintendent.

The answer is exactly as the principal said- it's like RtI, but it's not.

They have the academic model that is just as Missouri's DESE said- the tiers, the assessments, the probes, the interventions. it's all exactly the same... except that it's only for reading and math. The Goofy One's remedial reading is an intervention and based on the time he spends in remedial reading, he would be between Tier II and Tier III, very close to Tier III. BUT, they don't have to tell us that it's RtI, they just have to say he's in remedial reading. As long as we know he's getting an intervention, their asses are covered. Who cares if we don't know what that means? if we don't know what RtI is or that the RtI tells us that our kids are at risk or close to being at risk, or on the very edge of being referred for evaluation? We don't need to know that. We're just the parents. They have credentials. Nasty, but true.

Not that any of that matters anyway, because the other school district's statement that RtI is the basis for your child's referral is "misleading" because this school district uses the severe discrepancy model to diagnose learning disabilities and that is not in any way at all waiting for them to fail because they have RtI... which leads back into the circle and I still don't understand it's purpose relating to special education or how it relates to the evaluation process at all because it's not considered in the evaluation, which makes me feel that it's irrelevant.

anyway, That's the academic model. The Goofy Child is getting remedial reading- what it is and what it isn't isn't really the point, the point is the other side of the pyramid. The behavioral model- or, anything that isn't math or reading. They don't really have that. They only kind of have that. There's no way to monitor progress on the behavioral model because AIMSweb doesn't have those questions. I, personally, think this man ought to go talk to Alex's teacher, she's well prepared to answer any questions he could have. Then there's the handwriting. AIMSweb can't measure handwriting skills, either. Yes, there are things that can be measured such as spaces and grounding and letter size... but those aren't standardized tests. It would be up to the teacher to monitor that.

I covered my eyes, took a breath, and asked a straight question- so, your RtI is not going to help Goofy with the troubles he's having? and, #RESPECT, I got a straight answer- no.

As much as I respect the man for answering me honestly, I want to scream. I want to know what they are going to do to HELP my baby. If he doesn't qualify for an IEP, then what? In their current system, he falls further and further behind until he fails enough to qualify for help. and that's not a "wait to fail" model? and then they wonder why entire schools fail.

Alright, so I have the information I need. Here's another piece... you cannot testify at a due process hearing. Your documentation testifies for you. If it's not in writing, it never happened. I have a problem with meetings. A big one. I am easily distracted and follow their lead from topic to topic- not on purpose, but you know... oooo, shiny! I get lost, forget information as soon as they say it, and I have hard time with notes. I make notes and later look at them... wtf is that!? So, I started making my notes beforehand in blog-post format. I make my list, document the information I found, and then use credible sources for supporting information. This weekend, it was a why Goofy should be evaluated. I listed the things I am looking at, split it into Reading, Writing, Listening Comprehension, and ADHD. The ADHD was split into sub-groups. I listed my concerns and backed it up with quotes from evaluations, including their evaluation from last year. At the end, I included what my friend stressed was a vital ingredient... "Based on the information I have available, even with accommodations from his 504, he is still falling behind and it is becoming increasingly apparent that the ADHD, reading, writing, sensory and auditory processing issues are impairing his ability to access the curriculum and to receive meaningful educational benefit from classroom instruction." I also made sure to note that the assistant superintendent acknowledged that their RtI model would not help Goofy with these problems and why, and then I told them if there is anything else I need to consider before the meeting, any additional information they could provide would be appreciated. I sent it to several key people, assuming it would be shared with team members as needed. As well as having my questions and concerns out there for the team to consider and answer, my concerns are documented.

One week to go. This week, I'm working on my formal written request to get evaluation reports before the Eligibility Meeting.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like I have a lot of catch up reading to do! Best of luck at the meeting, Mac. Praying you get all the documentation you need and fast.