Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I feel it coming...

Like a big dark cloud. Like a herd of stampeding Wildebeasts. Like a chilly fog that has wrapped itself around everything this week despite the beautiful spring like weather.

Depression? Angst? Annoyance? Mid-life crisis?

No, IEP meeting barreling down on us at the end of the week.

I feel it coming, everyone is going to sit there and nod and look at us with compassion and then explain why Shea can't be in the multi-age class for 1st grade. Even though his specialists think it would be the right spot for him. Even though we have 3 years experience with multi-age and feel it would be the right spot for him. And, even though when pressed some of his IEP team think it might be the right place for him.

The reason?

Because it is just so darn popular and everyone wants multi-age. For those of you who may be confused, the mulit-age program here is 3 classes of 1st, 2nd, 3rd graders with one teacher each. The student stays with the same teacher for the 3 years and moves through different levels of being helped and then helping. I saw it in action. The mentoring that happens is quite wonderful and happens organically. The kids just find it natural to protect and help the younger kids and, of course, the younger kids don't need to be told to emulate the older kids.

The format is more fluid, less "sit at your desk and shut up", more more variety.

The IEP team is going to point out Shea's distract-ability and how he needs extra help with direction taking. I am going to point out that he is an enthusiastic learning when motivated. They are going to point out how multi-age kids need to be self-motivated and self directed and that Shea needs more structure. And, I am going to want him in that program anyway.

Yes, I am biased. Jake says he just wants Shea to be comfortable where ever he ends up.

In all honesty, when they say he needs structure, I am afraid they are going to try and shove him with this one teacher who is so structures and cold that I think it will backfire. She makes the kids sit the entire AM doing workbooks at their desks by themselves and punishes them if they do not finish by not letting them go outside for recess.

Some say she is old school. Some call it structure but my sensibilities are horrified. So horrified that I am going to break the cardinal rule of parents when talking to the school.

Insist that my kid does not get this one teacher.

This oppositional behavior from Shea is coming out more and more. If you want him to do something, heaven help you if you just ask him to do it, he won't. One must be creative and motivate him in others ways. Just laying down the law does not work. Is that what they are calling structured teaching?

Our wonderful IEP case manager is pulling together a list of characteristics for kids in multi-age. And, pulling together a list of what all the Kindergarten teachers see as beneficial traits for multi-age.

See? Do you feel it coming too?

I guess a parent has to pick their battles with the school too. I guess the question is: how much of a full on onslaught do we want to provoke? How much of a pain in the ass do we want to be?

If multi-age is so darn popular, maybe they should expand the program!

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