Friday, June 19, 2015

Reflections on a Long Year

Typically at this time of year, there is so much excitement for our family surrounding the last day of school for all of us. Summer is my most favorite time of the year and while I really enjoy my job, it is nice to have a break from teaching to be able to spend time with my own children. However, instead of excitement, this week has honestly left me in a little bit of a funk. 
1st Day of School - September 2014
Instead of happily anticipating summer, I am stressing over where we are going to find a very large sum of money to pay the attorney we have hired whose job it is to help us prove that Colin can be educated in a general education classroom at the hearing we have in August. Do you want to know what's so crappy about that? First of all, there is a law that supports Colin learning in a general education classroom. This law says that students with disabilities should be educated in the least restrictive environment to the fullest extent possible. The law also says that before a student can be pulled out of that least restrictive environment, various supports should be implemented to allow that student to be successful. This law is based on decades of research that fully supports an inclusive education for students like Colin because the research demonstrates the benefits that far outweigh a secluded setting. Yet we are still left in this position having to fight against a district who is actually taking us to a hearing instead of working with us to find ways for Colin to be successful. I see how it's easier sometimes to just do what the district wants you to do instead of what's right.

This is also crappy because we have now sat in countless meetings in which Colin's district adamantly refuses to support him in a general education setting. They have adamantly refused training for their staff, an inclusion specialist who would assist in appropriately modifying work for Colin and work with the staff on any challenges that arise and although the behaviors (as per the educational consultant we hired) are a result of how he was actually "included", they still won't bring in a behaviorist to develop a positive behavior plan.
Last day of school - June 2015
It's been a hard week for me as I look at all of the posts that have been going up regarding the completion of a school year for so many kids with the excitement of what grade their children are now entering. It's just so easy for so many people while Chris and I actually have no idea what grade Colin will be in, what school he will be attending, and whether or not he will be in a general education class. There have been so many wonderful posts about so many great accomplishments but yet many of the papers that have come home for Colin hardly show any progress (even though there most definitely has been progress). Colin's 4th marking period comments on his report card simply says "read everyday with your family!" and his "Farewell to Kindergarten" paper was colored blue with none of the boxes filled in with Colin's favorites and things he learned this year.  I am just so utterly disappointed in what this year has been like yet so proud of Colin for his resilience despite the fact no one believed he belonged where he was.

I know that I will be able to get myself out of this funk (I have 3 beautiful little kids that will help me do that) but it's so hard to not be emotional this week when so many of my reflections are based on an entire year of negativity and so much unknown ahead. I know we will get through...(just stinks). 


Anonymous said...

Oh my, that is just pathetic. Why would any educator do this? I live in Canada, and work as educational assistant, inclusion is a wonderful thing. I don't understand why they can't/won't work with it. Keep up the fight, Colin deserves to be educated beside his peers!!

Jenny said...

I am just so sorry for everything you guys have gone through, and are still going through, with Colin and the school. You guys are in my prayers.