Saturday, February 8, 2014

What to write about....

Y'all know I love giving my two cents about what's been on TV lately and the past few days haven't disappointed as far as fodder.  Jay Leno signing off from the Tonight show and the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics.  Both very worthy and will most likely be covered in the next day or so.  Today I'm just going to do some random mutterings about life here.  I had the experience to actually go out without Princess Bear (PB) for awhile today.  She always makes me feel very guilty about this and I tend not to do it often for many reasons.  Some valid some just plain old guilt.  Unfortunately there are times that people I want to meet with can only happen on the weekends.  I do hate that it takes away from my time with Princess Bear but also see that it has benefits like me enjoying my time with her more when I return.

 PB's school IEP is coming up this Wednesday.  I'm not looking forward to it.  For as many high hopes as I had with the school change to middle school this year very few came to fruition.  Lately, it seems that the level of learning is stagnant and I'm not very happy about that.  SO, after spending some time on Facebook with friends that are teachers, both regular division and special education, I have a better feeling on how to go into this IEP.  My friend Tim who has been a friend since high school and is a very very very knowledgeable special education educator met me for coffee today.  He told me to bring a copy of PB's IEP from last year.  I also brought the school planner that they insist she use and a notepad full of questions.  Here are just a few concerns I have:
-that the appropriate level of material is being taught.  I've always made it very clear that I want PB to be challenged.  That said I don't want her scared.  Covering 9/11 for almost a month in class and making the kids watch a film showing actual footage of the Towers coming down is something my child should not have been subjected to.
-the lack of communication.  They use this dandy little planner to send home what homework PB has.  Most of the time she has NO homework.  This does not tell me what she is learning and I feel like I have the right to know what is being taught to my child.
-they let the kids watch movies in the classroom A LOT!  Like on a daily basis and I'm talking Disney movies here not anything with any sort of education value.  This is because the skill range is so varied in this room and the teacher needs to do so much one on one.  To keep the other kids busy she lets the watch movies.  Really????  OK, then lets do some sort of education movies and activities that can be useful.

So, Tim went through PB's entire IEP and told me what I should have them put where.  What assistive technology I should request.  He also gave me some really great ideas for next year when they are changing the formatting on state testing.

I feel so blessed to have a friend that can give me such incredible advice!  It was also nice to revisit old times with a friend.  Tim was commenting that he would have never guessed when we were back in High School that I would have swung to the other side of the political gamut and become a hard core conservative.  It was a really interesting conversation.  We were also laughing about the inevitable bullshit that is always part of high school.  Since we went to a Catholic high school that was going through a consolidation process there were even more trials than I think other peoples high school years had.  Trying to consolidate 2 schools that had been rivals for years I'm sure was no easy task.  Then you add a bunch of hot headed teens to the mix that always think they're right and it gets interesting.  We were laughing about our band years (or for me year).  I was a percussionist.  I played the drums and the bells (no not hand bells think more like xylophone).  One parade the band participated in I was stuck being the bass drum player.  I stand 5'3" on a good day.  That drum gets dang heavy man!!!!

We also discussed my lack of hair vs Tim pushing it with an almost afro.  My sophomore year I did a complete 180* and went from being a total little prep to being hardcore alternative.  This at some point early in my sophomore year meant buzzing my hair except for my bangs.  My bang were chin length.  The were dyed platinum blonde and had a black, red or purple streak depending on what I felt like.  I look back now and am amazed with how patient my parents were.  They figured it was just hair and I wasn't hurting anyone.  Go Mom & Dad!  At some point after the consolidation the school decided that my haircut was unacceptable and I had to grow it out.  The female dean was such an idiot that she would measure my hair once a week to make sure I was growing it out.  I still did some drastic stuff with my hair that they weren't able to ban.  Then they went after my earrings.  I had a total of 10 ear piercings.  I would keep on of my cartilage piercings on the top in and then a lower one on my other ear.  The next year they made it a rule that the piercings had to be the same on each side.  Seriously?  This is worth making a new rule?  So after having to grow out my hair the last two years of high school I promptly shaved my head again 2 hours after the graduation ceremony.  I had the appointment made with my hairdresser a month before graduation.  That night there was a lock in party at the school and they for a few minutes thought about not letting me attend.  Again....seriously????  These are some of the reasons I truly hate the parochial school system in this town.  I will admit it is heads and tails above the public school system but it left a bad taste to this day.

Actually, one of the other things Tim and I discussed was were I should move to get a decent special education department for PB.  All the places I have been looking at Tim gave his stamp of approval to.  A few of them he even mentioned were the most Catholic public schools you'd ever encounter.  Some of the farm communities around here are pretty religious communities but do not have a Catholic school option.  Therefore you have a public school filled with lots of kids who hold their faith important and it doesn't seem to be an issue.  That would be nice for PB.

Ok, enough random mutterings for now.  I need to take a shower and sleep.  I'm still fighting the general ick and once again have a sinus infection.  I go back to the Dr. on Monday.  I know a few things need to happen.  This chronic sinus infection cycle has got to stop.  Also I cannot go back on prednisone right away.  My kidneys have been letting me know they aren't happy.  Ugh! 


Brigid said...

I did smile when I read about pink and purple hair.

I hope you are feeling better soon and the school situation resolves itself.

Sarah said...

Thanks Brigid. The hair was definitely fun and my parents were great about it. The school thing will hopefully be ok. It's just such a battle to get services needed. Our country has a very broken education system.