Last night, SFUSD Special Education Assistant Superintendent Ceclia Dodge proposed to the Board of Ed that inclusion kids now be able to apply to any school, and not just be limited to particular schools. Rachel Norton has more details on her website --- www.rachelnorton.com -- but this is an important change that will affect middle school placement for our son Ben. Up until now, we had been limited to particular middle schools that offered inclusion, most of which were large middle schools, but now we will be able to apply to any middle school, including smaller ones.
We have also toured the charter options for special education for middle school. I have written up my review of the two charters we chose -- Gateway, a charter high school that is now opening a middle school starting in Fall 2011, and Edison, a K through 8 charter that has recently had a management change. (The tour notes should be posted shortly; right now they are available in the database but under the "comments" section.) Of these, Gateway stood out for us both in the professionalism of the adminstrators and teachers and the success they've had at Gateway's high school. Gateway really seems to have figured out a way to integrate special education students into the general student population -- and seeing that at the high school level was really exciting. Gateway does have some "ifs" about it -- it is not clear where the middle school will be physically located, and there's an unknown right now about whether middle school students will automatically get into Gateway's high school. But for middle school special ed parents -- particularly those looking for smaller grade and class size (25 students in a class), this is an option you should not miss!