Friday, February 4, 2011
Further Update on Special Ed Middle School Search
We are coming up to the final days before the February 18th deadline for public school applications and are having some problems. My other half and I seem to be better at figuring out which schools we don't want Ben to go to than which schools would be good for him. And we are, ahem, arguing a lot about that list. We both feel that the K-8's would be the best for him -- Rooftop, San Francisco Community Alternative, and Claire Lillienthal -- and are fine with putting those down. But the fact is that the odds of getting into any of them are zero -- particularly in this first round of assignments. Of all the big schools, Aptos seemed to be the one that we thought was going to work. However, the special ed folks at our school remain concerned that, since Aptos has not hitherto had Inclusion kids, it may not be set up to handle Ben's issues right away. We did switch Ben out of Inclusion and into RSP, and the labels shouldn't matter, but hearing our elementary special ed folks express concern is worrisome. And, to make things worse, Ben hasn't exactly had a good January at his school. His social skills, which were improving over the Fall, seem to have taken a turn for the worse. His focus level, which was really improving in the Fall, seems to have stalled. I think this is what may be motivating the concern from our school. They keep saying he'd be much better off in a smaller middle school, and goodness knows we agree, but saying that and getting that are two different things. My guess is that trying to hold out for a K-8 probably would entail a long wait through the spring and into the summer, and neither of us are really ready to handle the stress of that. (We are also nervous how that would play out with Ben, once he hears others at school talking about the middle schools they are going to.) The special ed folks at our school feel that, rather than Aptos, Giannini or Hoover would be better as schools we could actually get into in the first round. And here's where we are having an argument. My partner absolutely is opposed to Giannini. He worries that the more academic vibe at Giannini is just going to beat down Ben, much like his previous elementary did. I'm worried about Hoover. I know three families over the past four years who had special ed kids at Hoover, and had to pull them out. I know that someone else's experience does not necessarily translate into what might happen to our kid, but it is really hard to put down a school when you know people who had bad experiences at it. So, we are effectively canceling each other out. So that's where we are at.