Friday, May 20, 2011

And After All the Drama, the Call Finally Comes!

Last I posted I told you all that we had gotten Giannini in Round I for middle school for our special ed son, Ben. It was our last choice for us, and, not as one poster here suggested, because we were concerned its test scores were low (they aren't), but because the school has way too heavy an academic emphasis. Before his present elementary, he'd been at a heavily academic elementary that basically ignored the special ed kids. We were intent on not going back to that kind of environment. We were also waitlisted at Gateway Charter Middle, a new charter that is really our first choice because of its smaller grade size and focus on special ed. So we went into Round II and also filed a medical appeal. I didn't come up with the medical appeal idea -- the placement office encouraged me to file the medical appeal, since Ben's learning problems are medical problems. Silly me, I poured my heart into the medical appeal, getting two letters from Ben's doctors, a report from a psychologist, and letters from both Ben's teachers and his Inclusion teacher. This past weekend we got our response: nothing in Round II and a letter from SFUSD about the medical appeal imperiously telling us our appeal was not only denied, but it was permanently denied. Like forever and forever. Anyway, we were completely crushed. Then we got a call from Gateway Charter Middle School - there was an opening for Ben! Oh my goodness, it was exactly what we wanted. After much excitment and dancing around, we have now enrolled Ben at Gateway Charter Middle School. We are impressed with Gateway's new principal, Aaron Watson, and its new staff of teaching professionals. Starting up a new school (this will be Gateway's "founding" class) is going to be a new experience for us, but we feel assured that, with the proven track record Gateway High has established, the middle school will also be a great success. So thanks to all you parents out there for tolerating my saga of finding a middle school for our special ed child. We made some mistakes along the way, but feel we have finally gotten what Ben really needs in a middle school.

20 comments:

  1. Congratulations are in order to you, your family and especially to your son. Thank you for sharing your experiences. It isn't easy putting it all out on the line for the public. You are to be commended for that and for your advocacy for your child. It shouldn't have to be this hard.

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  2. Congratulations! I'm glad it all worked out for you. Best wishes for successful middle school years ahead.

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  3. congrats, Where will the school be located?

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  4. I am so, so, so glad for you. You are clearly a rockin' parent.

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  5. Wonderful news! I hope Ben has an excellent 6th grade year and beyond.

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  6. You're a great dad. Sounds like a plan. Keep us posted.

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  7. I am a parent of an incoming Gateway Middle School student who has a learning disability so I make sure we connect.

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  8. Nothing mnore annoying than being on the same wait pool and reading someone else gush about getting into the school.
    But yeah, happy for you and all that :)

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  9. It is great to hear some good news come out and congrats to you!

    Quick Question....maybe you have some insight into this.
    Is it because Gateway is a charter school that they don't follow the same rigid guidelines as the SFUSD?

    Could I be so naive as to think that the district would give some goods news now instead of making all of us anxious, frustrated parents wait until August..

    Strangely this week, every time I get the mail, I say maybe there was a mistake :) and I will get some good news.

    I have so many questions about this process, and the lack of transparency and who exactly read my medical appeal letter and denied it, who could I write to that has more power than just the BOE that might be able to change some aspects of the SAS.

    Feeling really helpless since I don't know what my next move can be and I am having a hard time being idle.

    sorry to go on...Truly I feel happy that someone was acknowledged and results were welcomed :)

    Good luck!

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  10. I believe Gateway MS will be on the John Muir campus

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  11. Why do people think Gateway Middle School is going to be good? Gateway High's test schools are dismal.

    http://star.cde.ca.gov/star2010/ViewReport.asp?ps=true&lstTestYear=2010&lstTestType=C&lstCounty=38&lstDistrict=68478-000&lstSchool=3830437&lstGroup=1&lstSubGroup=1

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  12. Just wanted to say congrats and best of luck!

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  13. Yeah Joseph! I'm so happy for you and Ben.

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  14. Congratulations - we know folks at gateway high school and they are really happy - also both our reading tutors attended IEPs at gateway and were really impressed with their staff - sounds like the perfect place for your son!

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  15. Giannini has a very strong SpEd staff, I believe. Have you heard something otherwise? As far as I know, they have a very significant SpEd population. Inclusion, Resource, and three Special Day classes. They also have SpEd staff trained in Slingerland, right? I think this is true.

    Gateway High School is only appropriate for high-skilled college track students with IEPs (the stronger students in the Resource program). The high school does not even have special day classes, so when they say that 95% (or whatever it is) of their seniors are admitted to 4-year colleges, they are NOT telling you that they don't have any SDC students. They are also not telling you that their lower skilled Resource students end up switching schools.

    I hope, for your sake, that the middle school is not going to follow the footsteps of the high school.

    best of luck and i certainly hope that you visited giannini before rejecting it.

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  16. As a teacher at Gateway High I have to tell you that the Gateway school(s) are every good thing they look to be from the outside. Ben is going to be supported by his school, his wonderful new principal, and the excited and dedicated teachers. But most importantly, he will be known by the adults in the school. They will accept him for who he is, meet him where he is academically, and care very much about his progress in academics and as a whole person. Congrats and welcome to the Gateway Family!

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  17. Why are the test scores so bad?

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  18. People who send their kids to Gateway don't care about test scores.

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  19. Our daughter just received a placement to Gateway Middle for next year, and I'd really like to speak with a current parent about your and your child's experience. Anyone?

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