Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Middle School Special Ed Search -- Update

So we are now in the middle of our search for a middle school for our son Ben, who is in special ed. First, we've made a big decision. We just decided to change Ben's program designation from "Inclusion" to "RSP." Some parents who have kindly commented on my blog postings in past said they made the switch as a way to expand middle school options as Inclusion was only offered at a limited number of middle schools. But, as I have mentioned, the school district just mandated that ALL elementaries and middle schools now offer Inclusion. Only well maybe they did. After touring three different middle schools that have not had Inclusion in the past but now have it, we have become concerned that, at least for next year, this planned push out of Inclusion is going to be, well, bumpy. I have no doubt that the District wants all schools to offer Inclusion. But actually getting the schools to do it appears to be a different story. Our questions have been met with everything from blank stares to outright rejection -- as in "We know the District wants Inclusion at our school but I can tell you right now that there will be no Inclusion kids at our school next year." There is confusion as to whether extra support will be rolled out at these schools. Moreover, and I am just beginning to understand this, Inclusion seems to mean something different at the middle school level than it does at the elementary school level. At the elementary school level, Inclusion has come to encompass all kinds of kids from ones, like Ben, who have ADD but can generally keep up with the general ed class' curriculum (with support) to kids who need significant modification of that curriculum and/or have significant behavioral problems (which Ben doesn't have). For some middle schools, Inclusion seems to be the box where kids who need curriculum modification and/or who are disruptive go. Kids like Ben to them are RSP kids. Now I don't know if this is the way the District interprets these designations, but I have now heard it from too many special ed professionals at middle schools and, since those are the folks I'm going to be dealing with next year, their interpretation is what matters. So we made the switch at Ben's IEP. Our hope is that this change will make it easier for us to actually get a school that will work for us.

And finding a school that will work is a bit of a work in progress. Here's my two second take on special ed at the large middle schools we've seen so far: (1) Giannini -- special ed professionals seem good and earnest and the school seems orderly, but the school is so academically inclined that we just don't think it will go well for Ben's self-esteem; (2) Hoover -- the school just seems so chaotic to us, plus we have heard too many concerns about increased discipline issues at the school and have too many friends who have had to pull their special ed kid out of it; (3) Roosevelt -- we liked the slightly smaller feel of the school, but we got a negative vibe from the principal about special ed (he was the only principal that didn't want to talk about special ed, but rather sent us directly to the special ed professionals); (4) Lick -- loved the principal but we are worried that the school has too many kids with issues and our Ben will just get lost in the woodworking there; plus we got a sense that some of the special ed staff was not well-trained; (4) Aptos -- of all the big middle schools, this was the one that seemed like it might work; nice mix of kids and relatively orderly and the special ed professionals seemed nice and on top of things.

We've still got a couple more, but that's where we are at.

99 comments:

  1. Have you looked into private schools like Sterne and Laurel?

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  2. "We know the District wants Inclusion at our school but I can tell you right now that there will be no Inclusion kids at our school next year."

    Which school did you hear that at? That is one to avoid, for sure, with that sort of unwelcoming attitude. I suppose that is what the haters want, they want to be so unpleasant to parents of children needing inclusion services, that nobody would want to send their kids there.

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  3. Do you think the district will change its criteria for inclusion? I am on the SSC at our school and we have discussed inclusion but despite everyone's best intentions and many questions we haven't received any instruction from the district about what to expect or what resources will be available. Also, the teachers have had no training.

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  4. People with questions about changes to inclusive services should go to the special education department,not to this blog. Changes are in the works, but not much is set yet. Ask for head honcho Cecilia Dodge, or Regina Piper.

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  5. 7:46 am -- this blog does not purport to provide information from district hq but is rather one parent's experience trying to navigate special Ed at the middle school level. Everything I write in here is a true and accurate reflection of my experience trying to deal with this system. And good luck getting through to Cecilia Dodge. I have tried calling people way below her and gotten no response. Perhaps it is time someone from the district starts communicating directly with special Ed parents because, frankly, they are not doing a very good job. We effectively have six weeks to make choices and we are all sitting in the dark. Joseph

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  6. Joseph,

    If you are having a hard time reaching anybody at SFUSD SPED, come to the Community Advisory Committee for Special Education meetings. Cecelia Dodge is usually there, as is the district's ombudsperson for special education, Carol Kocivar. You'll be given a few minutes to voice your concerns, and hopefully district staff will follow-up with you after the meeting and try to help.
    Our meetings are the 4th Thursday of every month (except in July and Dec)
    The next meeting is on January 28th at 7:00pm (people start to gather at 6:30)
    at :
    Support For Families with Disabilities
    1663 Mission Street, 7th floor

    Childcare is provided (if you call in advance and reserve it) (415) 282-7494
    and the people doing the childcare understand children with special needs.

    And please tell us which school said this: "there will be no Inclusion kids at our school next year." That's really appalling!

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  7. Good luck in your school search/selection. I find your thoughtful posts very touching. Your son is very lucky to have a parent so devoted to finding the right place for him.

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  8. Thank you 8:30 am. I will come to the January meeting. I do understand that district hq is trying to turn around a complicated system, but realize that my family and others with kids going into sixth grade are the guinea pigs here so we are looking at a shorter horizon here and have to deal with the practical realities here. By the way, the unfortunate comment you asked about above was made at Rooftop. This is sad because I have otherwise heard such good things about that school's special ed professionals. ----- Joseph

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  9. Joseph, 7:46's comment was completely mean-spirited. I have no expertise and no advice, but I want to wish you the very best. You sound like a great dad and I hope Ben ends up with everything he deserves.

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  10. Joseph, (this is 8:30 again)

    I, too, am looking at middle schools for my soon-to-be 6th grader, so I understand everything you are going through.

    I don't know if you've tried to reach Carol Kocivar yet, but it is her job to help parents navigate problems they are having and she should get back to you within a few days (when school is in session).

    Here is her contact information,
    email is best way to reach her:

    KocivarC@sfusd.edu

    Good Luck

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  11. Special ed parents need to understand that the district cannnot provide the full spectrum of special ed services at every school any more than it can provide the full spectrum of various other general education services. This is a reflection of the budget crisis as well as routine cost efficiencies. It may not be what special ed parents want, however it is the reality we face.

    The big question that still remains unanswered is whether the new assignment system will provide realistic choice to special ed parents. Otherwise, they may be stuck at a local school without the resources their children require.

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  12. 7:46's comment was not mean-spirited. You are just way too sensitive. He or she was only trying to point out that if you want certain information it is better to go to the source.

    I thought your comment that Hoover had too many kids with "issues" was mean-spirited. I mean, don't our kids have issues? We parents of special education children don't like to think of our children as having "issues".

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  13. Your kids have issues. Mine are perfect little angels.

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  14. The principal at Rooftop does not manage the student assignment process. The IEP team and the EPC office manage the placement of students with special needs. According to the SFUSD Special Ed brochure, Rooftop will admit Inclusion students in K and 6th. The person who made that statement about Rooftop is bullying parents to discourage requests and should be reported through an appropriate grievance process. Rooftop is a small K-8 school and an ideal placement for some of the students with an IEP for "Inclusion."

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  15. 8:49,

    "special ed parents need to understand"

    WTF?

    I think what YOU need to understand is that FINALLY SFUSD is starting to adhere to the law and is admitting that services ARE SUPPOSED TO follow the child -- it's not that the child is supposed to follow the services.

    Our kids are SUPPOSED to go to "the school they would attend if not disabled" and whatever supports or services they need are SUPPOSED to be given to them at whatever school they choose.

    Like it or not -- it's the LAW.

    Of course there will be problems with the changes being made, but it isn't as though schools with "inclusion" already in place are doing such a great job of it either.

    The only way to learn how to include, is by INCLUDING.

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  16. 7:46 here. I did not intend my comment to be mean-spirited I just think, as the comments on this thread illustrate that there is so much planning going on, to move inclusive services to all schools, that the school staff themselves at this point do not know how things will play out in the fall. I feel for you, and in your case would seek out a school that already has good inclusive practices in place. From what I understand the district goal is a very good one, to make all schools inclusive, and train all teachers in how to differentiate, modify, and accommodate, but until that training is done I would want my child in a program with more experienced staff--and enough support staff. No harm intended!!!

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  17. "It's the law! Give me an f*ing break. What are you, 13?

    There are all kinds of laws that are routinely broken, especially when it comes to education. If we followed the law half the schools would already be required close down or reorganize along the lines set forth by NCLB. I feel for the needs of special ed, but the society is broke and following the law requires funding that SFUSD doesn't have.

    If services follow the child then a school might have to devote hundreds of thousands just to serve the needs of one. There would be no money for dozens of others. Special education parents - get real.

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  18. 6:44,

    Your words are a little harsh, but you bring up an important point. When it comes to our kids we spare no expense, particularly if other people pay the tab.

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  19. 2:02 is, of course, Moggy, who has become rather smug since Rachel has been pushing their SpEd agenda down the throats of the BOE.

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  20. If only Rachel had. Instead she's been singularly ineffective despite her laser-like attention to special needs students above all others. Her devotion would be admirable if it didn't derive from a personal antipathy towards SFUSD for failing to meet the needs of her own child.

    I suppose she deserves to grind that axe. And she's smart enough not to show it. She's got others like Moggy who are willing to do the dirty work, accusing parents of insensitivity for their attention to minor issues like paying the bills.

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  21. I'm confused. When you say if only she had, I assume you are in favor of her special ed agenda. So why do you think she's grinding her axe?

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  22. This is 8:59 again. 1:15, what did you mean by an "appropriate grievance process"? Special ed parents have been grieving for years to no avail. Is there some new process in place or were you speaking in a rhetorical manner?

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  23. I think rachel should be commended for taking on a tough issue.

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  24. Ignore the trolls.

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  25. SFKfiles is nothing but a troll haven these days; that is what happens when blogs are left unmoderated.

    Don't feed the troll/stalker.

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  26. It’s pretty clear to readers that 6:44, 8:11, 8:15, 8:34 & 9:07 are all the same person, and that person has a major grudge against Rachel and Moggy, and has been using thesfkfiles as their personal forum to continually trash Rachel and Moggy.
    The level of hatred and venom that person spews is disturbing.
    The police should be notified to identify the IP address.
    Until this blog is moderated to keep people on topic, all we can do is ignore the trolling.

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  27. 10:09: People have differing ideas. That isn't a crime except in a police state. You're hostility and animosity is in greater abundance than anything else I've read here lately. If anyone needs to be moderated it is you.

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  28. I forgot to asked 1:15 again what is an appropriate grievance process? Is that through the district or the state? If I have a grievance about the special education services provided my child to whom do I address a grievance?

    The rest of you please stop accusing and flaming. Let people speak their minds and do what is customary on blogs, ignore what you need to.

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  29. Sad, really, how the person has nothing better to do on xmas day than to trash parents of children with disabilities.

    On January 1st, Senate Bill 1411 goes into effect.

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  30. With few exceptions everybody writing in is anonymous. How can someone impersonate an anonymous person? Anonymous or not this blog is populated by freaks.

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  31. I'm lost trying to follow this discussion. I didn't read any posts written on Christmas day or any posts trashing parents of special ed children. Do we all have to agree to express an opinion? Do we not have a right to our own personal opinions? This thread is very disturbing. No one is going to write in if subjected to this kind of treatment. Good luck SF K files.

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  32. I'm lost trying to follow this discussion. I didn't read any posts written on Christmas day or any posts trashing parents of special ed children. Do we all have to agree to express an opinion? Do we not have a right to our own personal opinions? This thread is very disturbing. No one is going to write in if subjected to this kind of treatment. Good luck SF K files.

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  33. Also, if various people stating their own beliefs are routinely accused of being "sockpuppets" for i.e. Don, I don't see how any crime was committed (just stupidity on the part of the accuser IMO).

    FYI, California bill, SB 1411, would criminalize online impersonation, i.e. impersonating another actual person on the Internet. It would become a misdemeanor to knowingly and without consent credibly impersonate another actual person on the Internet, or other electronic means, in order to harm, intimidate, threaten, or defraud that person.

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  34. Another day another troll from the usual suspects.

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  35. Also, Don's not the only person who has views outside the mainstream. Just the same, every comment that defies the traditional viewpoint is made out a Don sockpuppet.

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  36. I noticed that, too, 10:05.

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  37. Lawmakers speculate that SB 1411 will also be used to not only cover impersonation, but online harassment meant to harm, intimidate or threaten.
    We'll see.

    This thread was fine until the creepy troll started mentioning people by name, and writing about people's children. Despicable, and crosses the line between opinion and stalking.

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  38. What? It isn't unusual for people to be mentioned by name on this blog and truly a strange idea to limit free discussion by censoring the use of names as you suggest. No doubt the blog is by and large anonymous, but many personalities enter into the conversation. Do you want to live in a world of only anonymous encounters? I don't want to live in that world.

    using your rules, how might we have discussion of the relative merits of district officials, elected and appointed without mention of names? Such a discussion is absurd on its face and I cannot imagine speech of any kind in which names become off limits.

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  39. Can't we all just get along?

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  40. Dear 9:07,

    This is the link for the complaint process or solutions panel as SFUSD calls it.

    http://portal.sfusd.edu/template/default.cfm/?page=chief_academic.special_ed.parent_problem

    I hope this helps you.

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  41. Since when is mentioning someone's name tantamount to stalking? You need to moderate your language and consider more carefully your words. This thread is about Joseph's story. This is where people discuss their children in relation to special education. No harm in that.

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  42. I'm with 4:26. If you ask me the person making these ludicrous charges is the harasser. I can't find anything here that is remotely problematic with the exception of these entirely unfounded charges. Whoever you are, please take your problem off line. Stop subjecting everyone to your issue, whatever that is, Don, special ed detractors, charter opponents, ghosts, specters, or people that go boo in the night. This really is your problem, not ours. Accept it.

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  43. Joseph here. I just want to make clear that my postings are just one parent's efforts to navigate middle school assignments for special Ed for fall 2011. What I am doing may not be the wisest or smartest way to go. Also, when I talk about what I hear from special Ed folks at different middle schools -- again, that may or may not be the correct view. But it represents the way the folks who are going to be most directly helping my kid next fall think and that's why it is important to me. I also hope these posts may fuel support for providing more information for special Ed parents. Special Ed parents are overwhelmed trying just to deal with the day-to-day of their kid's needs. If this system is half as Byzantine and opaque as I am describing it here, then something has to change.

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  44. The guy is a creep that has been stalking Rachel and other women. Now he is using this venue to do it more.
    Believe whatever you like, the guy is sick.

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  45. Who are talking about? And why are you so angry?

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  46. Ignore the trolls.
    This is a thread about a person trying to find an inclusive middle-school for their kid.
    Stick to the subject and ignore the flames.

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  47. I think the person who's always advising to ignore the flames is the very person doing the flaming. The blog needs to be actively moderated for this reason.

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  48. Why subject everyone on the blog to this squabbling? It's ruining our experience. If I have to hear the word troll one more time I'll scream.

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  49. Has the District published a list with the number of Inclusion spots that will be available in each K, 6th, and 9th grade class at every school?  I cannot find a published list anywhere. Might be a good question to raise at the January CAC meeting.

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  50. 11:45 -- good question. A year or so back Katy Franklin kindly gave us some approximate numbers on Inclusion slots at middle school. Can't remember exact numbers but the vast bulk were at four middle schools -- Giannini, Hoover, Roosevelt and Lick. I'm remembering the total was around 110 or so. (She didn't know the number at Liilienthal, the only k thru 8 that had includion.) But the recent changes -- opening up all schools to inclusion -- has got to mean some changes to these figures. It is a good question to ask. -- Joseph.

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  51. Can Katy Franklin or Rachel Norton get Cecilia Dodge or Carlos Garcia or BoE or CAC to publish Includion spots before Feb 18 enrollment deadline?

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  52. They won't publish how many openings because it is a complicated matter of how many Inclusion Support Teachers are at the school, or RSP teachers, and their caseloads, and teacher contract caseload limits.
    One kid per class would be a way to "guess". So if Rooftop has two 6th grade classes, they may have 2 openings for "inclusion" students.
    One kid per class is not a very sensible way to go, because if you had more than one "included" kid per class, aide support and other supports could potentially be shared.
    Inclusion students will get priority over general ed students, but the "spots" will be limited.

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  53. There's approximately 55 students currently enrolled in 5th grade "inclusion" programs.
    Odds are, if you apply to any of the large middle schools, you are likely to get in.

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  54. Thank you Katy! That is the best information that I have gotten to date. And I agree that it is better to double up inclusion students in a classroom so that they share resources for a greater part of the day rather than stretching the resources too thin, across multiple classrooms, which limits the per pupil direct support.

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  55. Do all inclusion students come with a designated aide? If not, 1/class seems like the least disruptive solution.

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  56. 9:24 is ignorant and rude and should be ignored; don't feed the trolls.

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  57. Falsely accusing people of crimes is illegal.

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  58. I think the most important thing is to match inclusion students with teachers who are good at supporting them. I've rarely seen a 1/1 aide that was more than 1 hour a day and even that was frequently a 1/2 aide. I asked one principal (James Lick I think) about RSP vs Inclusion. She said that at their school inclusion was the program for kids that need accommodations (like more time on tests, ..etc.). I'm not sure if that's a universal differentiator but (if I'm recalling this correctly) that's what their school used. I also liked Aptos - I thought the principal of Hoover was very supportive of sped kids and I think their staff may balance out their crowded & under construction building. The classes at Aptos are as large as Hoover's, but something about the bigger classrooms and big building make them seem less oppressive and make the whole building seem more peaceful.

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  59. joseph here -- 4:31, the principal at Lick told me that inclusion at her school meant that the curriculum content had to be modified, not just that the child needed more time on tests, extra help at times, and modified homework which she said was a typical rsp kid. I'm not sure why she told you something different. This is so frustrating! This is like a game of telephone tag except they keep changing the language we are all speaking. Grrr! On you other comment, I second the feeling about aptos. That place just felt like it might work.

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  60. My son is in special ed due to his ADHD. His resource teacher has been away for weeks with a family illness and isn't expected to return for at least another month. Today and many days before the break there was substitute for her. This is impacting my child's IEP and his achievement. It is a violation of law not to have a teacher in the classroom. I have informed the special ed department, the principal and his supervisor and a Williams complaint will be forthcoming if the problem isn't fixed.

    the upshot as far as this thread goes is this: If you want your child to get the resources s/he needs go to a school on the SE side of town where the District has greatly expanded resources compared with elsewhere.

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  61. Also be sure to include this on that Williams complaint, which you wrote, (in the third person) on another thread, in Mid-December:

    "He has a special ed child at Alamo and thinks very highly of the staff and the attention that his son receives - very professional and caring people there."

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  62. Why wouldn't I? The fact that they customarily do an excellent job has nothing to do with this particular situation in which the district cannot or will not send out a substitute to fill the temporarily vacated post. Not that hard to understand, fuck head.

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  63. So glad he models the values of the Boy Scouts of America and sets a high standard for appropriateness for cubscouts!

    "Blogger Don Krause said...
    Why wouldn't I? The fact that they customarily do an excellent job has nothing to do with this particular situation in which the district cannot or will not send out a substitute to fill the temporarily vacated post. Not that hard to understand, fuck head.
    January 4, 2011 10:44 PM"

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  64. People involved in scouting are just like everyone else - they have their limits as to how much nonsense and foolishness they can tolerate.

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  65. joesph - 4:31 back - my conversation with the JL principal was fairly short and at the fair so my take-away may not be accurate at all - the entire world of sped support and classifications is really murky.

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  66. 4:31 pm -- thanks for your response. That helps, but it still raises this issue of how differently different middle schools perceive inclusion vs. RSP. Above I told you what the principal at Lick said about inclusion vs. RSP. But, at other middle schools (like Giannini annd Hoover for example), the special ed folks said they had plenty of kids under inclusion who fit my son Ben's profile (ADD kid who is not a behavioral problem and who can basically keep up with homework modification and help in class). But they also said there were RSP kids who fit that bill too. To make this even further confusing, some middle schools require RSP kids to use their elective period to meet with the RSP teacher so that RSP kids don't get to do their elective like music or whatnot. I know this is true at Hoover and Giannini. But I have also been told that there's some discretion there, and sometimes RSP kids can do the elective, if the parents insist on it. (I was told that by one Hoover parent.) One further clarification on my earlier post: in my post I said that some middle school special ed folks view inclusion as the place they put kids with behavioral issues. I heard this from the special ed folks at Rooftop. Anyway, we are nervous about our decision to switch from Inclusion to RSP before middle school, but feel that, overall, it makes sense for us. -- Joseph

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  67. Joseph and Don, as the parent of a MS son who was just diagnosed with ADHD, I would be very interested in hearing about the sort of accommodations that are typically recommended for kids with ADHD/ADD. I am reluctant to notify school officials of my son's diagnosis lest he be labeled as different and thought we'd just try medicating and see if things improve.

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  68. Kyle,

    I suppose you know that a diagnosis of adhd is not reason enough in itself to have an IEP. My son was significantly behind in reading. I did medicate him after some resistance and it helped a lot. He's sees the resource specialist 3 days a week for 30 to 45 minutes and has made great improvements. Since my son started going to the RSP in 1st grade it's the norm for him. Now in 3rd he's beginning to feel a little weird about having to do it. But you can't have it both ways though and getting him what he needs is most important. I do not suggest delaying and wonder if you have an SST team that has worked with him as yet?

    As for accommodations, the staff go out of their way to provide more time for him when it comes to doing assignments and tests.

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  69. Drugging children. Yuck.

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  70. Joseph here -- I hear in your comment what many parents feel about ADHD. There's concern about your kid being labeled in a way that could negatively affect him. But the medications are also serious stuff. Before we decided to medicate Ben, we worked with the school to set up modifications and extra help for him. It was only when that extra help and those modifications did not work that we went the medication route. So, assuming that your child's ADHD is affecting his/her focus at school, I'd encourage you to start by setting up an SST meeting and getting extra tutoring and modifications from the school before going the medication route. If your child has made it to middle school without teachers coming to you (and believe me, if your child has had learning issues, they come to you!), his or her condition may be mild enough that extra help at school could make medication unnecessary.

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  71. 4:31 back again - i recall asking the principal of hoover about the electives vs extra help and he said that they would absolutely figure something else out if the elective was important to the student - i assume that means pull-outs since most of these schools have no extra period funding anymore? anyway i liked that flexibility and should remember to check if it's true at other schools. i recall the aptos tour leader saying that students with lower percentile test scores couldn't take electives - i don't know what they do with sped students and i don't know where they draw the line for remediation vs electives - more questions to ask.

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  72. What is this comment, "drugging children,yuck"?

    How thoughtless and inconsiderate. It is only with great care that most parents decide to take the medication route. It ain't easy to stand back and watch your child fall behind academically. If medication didn't help no parent would do it. Your comment is very unfortunate and hurtful.

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  73. Kyle's exhausted DadJanuary 6, 2011 at 8:40 PM

    Don and Joseph, thanks very much for your helpful answers. Although my son has had behavioral issues since 1st grade (not staying in his seat, yelling out answers, completely disorganized work space, losing assignments), he did not have academic problems in ES. In MS (honors track), academics are becoming a serious challenge for him. He frequently doesn't remember to do assignments on time and, more often, forgets to turn them in, and loses points for turning in the assignments late. He accidentally skips questions on tests and neglects to follow all the directions on major assignments, with predictable results on his grades. I think that it would be a good idea to set up an SST meeting if that could lead to him getting a little more slack about point reductions for late, but completed, assignments and a chance to complete questions or parts of assignments he didn't initially notice. ES SST meetings were not particularly helpful, though. And for the non-medicators, I was with you for 5 year, but my son is still practically bouncing off the wall at midnight, getting Ds and Fs due to incomplete or late work (despite getting As on the tests, for which he doesn't bother to study), and frankly we've reached our limit.

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  74. The people I know whose kids have overcome ADHD did so by limiting tv, computer and video game time, and took their kids out for long walks and hikes, and who made sure their children got lots of exercise and fresh air, and a healthy diet.
    Of course choosing to medicate is a hard decision to make.

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  75. Kyle's exhausted dad -- Joseph here. Sounds like you are on top of it. Now that I hear the full history, it sounds like you have tried SST meetings and they haven't worked. If SST meetings didn't help much in the small elementary school setting, I'm pretty sure you are not going to get better help at the large middle schools. Also, since your kid has managed to do OK, even being in honors track, I'm going to go out on a limb and say it is possible that the meds could have a dramatic improvement. This is obviously your decision, but I've got friends with kids like your son and they found the medications made a dramatic difference.

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  76. To 4:31 again -- this is Joseph again. Yes, I heard the same from both Hoover and Giannini about some flexibility with respect to RSP students being able to take elective classes. Please let me know what you hear from Aptos on that issue. We liked the vibe at Aptos, but were not able to talk to anyone at the school about their special ed programs. We did see how the principal has reorganized the special day program there, and the one special day student we know from our elementary who is there now is VERY happy -- and happy special ed kids is what we are looking for so that was good news!

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  77. Some bad bullying happens to SPED kids at Aptos.

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  78. "Some bad bullying happens to SPED kids at Aptos."

    Is it possible to get the source or details behind the above statement?

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  79. The child of a friend of mine was bullied so badly, she took her kid out of school and is homeschooling him.

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  80. Oh, the school was Aptos.

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  81. Bullying happens at every school, and bullying is more prevalent in middle school. It's how the school administration handles bullying that is important.

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  82. how long ago was this (aptos bullying?) did the staff try to do anything about it?

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  83. About a month ago, the staff handled it very badly and blamed the child who was beaten up for being beaten up. Even though they knew what was happening, they didn't look out for the kid, and it kept happening. That's why the parents homeschool now.

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  84. Which MSs are considered the best in terms of how they handle bullying? What about the smaller charter ones like CACS and Gateway?

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  85. Less bullying happens at smaller schools because there are less kids, so less bullies. It is also easier to discover and see bullying in small schools.

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  86. My son's small (unnamed) ES was rife with bullying: Gen Ed kids who were particularly slow or otherwise different were bullied by their peers and, not infrequently, would in turn bully the SpEd kids in the SDC.

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  87. I don't think one can generalize about bullying. All it takes is one kid -- and a school management that doesn't deal with it. I have heard of terrific bullying happening at private schools with grade sizes of 20 kids. And I have heard of it at large public middle schools. The question is what the admin does to deal with it. The part about this aptos incident that worries me is not that it happened but that the admin might not have dealt with it well. Right now all we have hear is an anon report secondhand of what happened-- anyone from the aptos pta care to respond? When I toured aptos last month, I saw. Many anti bullying signs up in the hallways there.

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  88. I've heard horrific accounts of bullying from almost every SF middle school (including private schools).
    Middle School is when bullying is at its worst.

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  89. Can someone tell me how you get from the RSP designation in an IEP to an Inclusion designation and what additional services your entitled to by receiving an Inclusion designation. My son has an IEP and help with speech and reading outside the classroom. But I think his struggles are more profound in class, calling out, interupting, etc. We want to get him in class services but his school is resisting due to resources but has simaltaneously acknowledged he needs the help. Any insight would be appreciated.

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  90. Joseph here -- I don't know what school your son is at, but the label put on him should not prevent him from getting in-class services, such as para help in class. That is, it should not matter that he is RSP and not Inclusion. But if your school is balking at giving him extra help, that is a red flag that they may not be supportive of special ed kids. You may want to consider transferring him to a school that does care about special ed. You have some ability to try to transfer him mid-year, and sometimes you can do quite well in getting into more supportive schools than taking the long route of putting in an application to transfer for near year. Don't wait too long on this, as the district has cut-off preventing transfers (I think it is sometime in mid-March). If you really like your school, you may want to contact the content specialist or Carole Kocivar (see a comment above for her contact info).

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  91. I meant "next year" not "near year" above -- sorry for the misspelling.

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  92. 1:07
    To change the designation, you have to discuss it in an IEP meeting. Submit a written request for an IEP meeting, the meeting must be held within 30 days. It's too late now to get the designation changed, in time for the Feb 18th enrollment application deadline.

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  93. Well, maybe it's not too late, if you move quickly.

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  94. Joseph 1:07 here. I was wondering if it would possible for me to contact you by email off list so that I could ask you a few more questions. It seems like you have some experience navigating this system. Let me know. Thanks.

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  95. SFUSD is completely dysfunctional when it comes to SPED. The reason why administrators are giving contradictory information about Inclusion vs. RSP is because the district doesn't even have a clear and consistent idea of what differentiates these things. Everyone disagrees and there is no transparency. It's all a mess and a huge lawsuit waiting to happen. Fight for your children. I have fought for my son and I just see more and more insanity at every turn. I feel badly for the children who don't have parents who are able and equipped to advocate for them. Best of luck to all of us! Let's hope that the district can establish some common understandings here. - Hoover parent.

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  96. Even a written policy about what inclusion is would be a simple start.
    Instead, they write policies about sodas and bike racks.

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