Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Momming Up for Transitional IEP #3

Forget manning up, it's time to Mom-up! Time to channel my anxiety, protectiveness, and love for my Getting Bigger guy in a positive way. Oh I've prepped for IEPs (exhibits A, B, C, D) -- what makes this one different?

Well, it's a transitional IEP from K-1 to grades 2-3. Time for James to be handed off from his current team of teachers, school staff, and services staff to a largely new team, because all the campuses are cluster schools in our district. This means that all the classrooms for a grade level are at ONE particular school/campus. Because of the way our district has grown, all the kids have two years at one campus before moving on to a different campus, usually found across town from the previous campus.

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I have already met with his services coordinator for next year. Luckily I know her from the time she spent in the special day preschool program, and I look forward to working with her again. With her, I toured each of the *eight* second-grade classrooms and made notes, ending up with a list of three teachers/classrooms that look like a good fit for James. I spoke with the principal and felt warmly welcomed.

With the help of the special services coordinator, I hammered out the kids' morning drop-off routine for next year. Still working on that pesky pick-up. I got some answers regarding aides for next year. I am thinking of requesting a particular aide for James.

I met both speech therapists and have already heard many good things about them and how they work together and the families. I confirmed that his O/T and APE people remain the same.

I've planned a day to visit the new campus with James, in advance of his class' "field trip" to visit next year's campus. We will also be visiting the playground throughout the summer, to get him familiar with the idea that he will be coming back to this campus next year as a Second Grader, not a preschooler.

I am still on the fence about summer school. It was pretty much a disaster last year, but I want him to still receive services, especially speech and O/T. I am trying to clarify what to ask for, and get it in writing. As usual, I am worried I will miss something crucial ... but I tell myself I am doing the best I can and that even if everything is perfect, James will change over the next 6 months and we'll be doing the IEP goals dance again.

IEP Goals -- there's a new twist in there. We are starting to tie in some of his grade-level academics to his IEP.  Both his teacher and I are excited by all those shiny possibilities. The services coordinator is coming from a different, but no less meaningful, perspective. I want to keep James moving forward with challenges that will stretch him, rather than be rubber-stamped. I am listening to what his team is saying and trying to process it as best as possible.

I want to be prepared, not led. I am an active partner in his education and developmental growth. See me rub my head, go online for hours, burn through my minutes plan, and drink pots of coffee. Wish me luck.

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