If your child is in Special Ed, they have something called an IEP (Individualized Education Plan). Your child is evaluated, strengths and weaknesses are described, and a meeting is convened to discuss how best to educate your child. IEPs are reviewed once a year, changes can be made then - or when a substantial change in program has occurred. An IEP must be completely re-written after three years, or when the child is 16 - so that plans for transition from school to the real world may be discussed and implemented.
Then the district did not renew Ms. McK's contract (or they fired her, I don't know what happened); they were on the hunt for a new teacher for the high school class.
I've been waiting since the end of school to find out what's going to go down...know I know.
When I called the Special Ed director at the end of July (after waiting a month for his return call, despite numerous messages left for him), he told me that a male teacher had been located. He would also be serving as an assistant Boy's baseball coach (like that mattered to ME). He also said that the teacher was brand new, and was NOT certified in Special Ed. I actually heard "Danger, Will Robinson" in my head. I was under the impression that if a child were in Special Ed, he should have a Special Ed teacher.
I had heard that they were looking for a male aide last year, to no avail. They were hopeful that a male would be intimidating enough to keep some of the male students (including The Boy) from acting up.
Another strike against Ms. McK, who can only be described as petite.
And I can only assume that the baseball team was looking for a coach.
And another wrinkle - the high school is undergoing a massive renovation. The oldest parts of the building have been torn down. The other classrooms in the building where The Boy is are now needed for other high school classes.
Ok, we've closed the program, fired the teachers, sent most of the kids elsewhere - yep, the building is almost vacant. Sweet.
In the last week, I have spent some time on the phone with the state Department of Education. I have spoken to The Boy's Service coordinator...and something, my friends, smells fishy in Denmark.
Based on the state's recommendation, I typed up a letter requesting a new IEP meeting; The Mister hand delivered them to the Special Ed office AND to the school superintendent - the very same superintendent who did NOT respond an email I sent about The Boy just a day prior.
While waiting for a response, I also spoke to the Freshman counselor, since they mailed a flyer about Freshman Orientation - I asked if The Boy should attend, and she told me it would not be necessary. They'd be discussing schedules and graduation requirements.
So The Boy isn't a Freshman? He's not going to have a schedule, or graduate? Huh.
A bit later, I got a response from the superintendent. He suggested that we wait a month for the IEP meeting.
Since two out of the last three years, The Boy has had a meltdown that led to his arrest during the first week in school, do you think I want to wait a month before we set ground rules for discipline and decide how to de-fuse an outburst?
Today, another call from the Special Ed guy, who has just returned from his vacation (boy, I'd like to have been in his office when he listened to HIS voice mail)...
Yes, The Boy should attend Orientation. I should attend with him. And following orientation, The Boy and I will adjourn to the Special Ed office with the director and Brand Spanky New, the teacher/coach. Mr. Special Ed said that the teacher was indeed certified - and where did I hear otherwise?
Oops, I guess he didn't remember telling me when he called me to get me off his to-do list before he went on vacation.
Oh, I know the teacher's name now (I have two pet names for him - here, I'll refer to him as Brand Spanky New). And I Googled him. I know that his degree is in General Studies, and that his career aspiration is to be....drum roll please
A baseball coach.
So, no teaching degree, let alone special education degree. A local boy, baseball hero. His dad is even the American Legion team manager of the World Series participant team (and sonny boy was a coach).
Apparently, there's some law that makes this totally okey dokey. If a real job candidate can't be located (or they just fired all the other CERTIFIED special ed teachers they had), the school district may apply to get an emergency certificate - which allows Brand Spanky New to teach while attending classes - with the goal that he does get certified.
Not sure how that will help in the middle of a meltdown, but we'll see.
I'll be calling the nice lady at the state office tomorrow...I'm so glad she gave me her personal number.
WAIT, WAIT, let me tell you the BEST part: Guess what the school districts motto is?
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