They call the aides in the classroom “paraprofessionals.”
After hearing some gossip, I got the idea that the administration does not know that Pearlsky’s classroom sometimes has a bizarre schedule. When the high school has finals, midterms, or NCLB testing, her classroom gets all screwy. Wanting to find out more, especially after yesterday’s email, I decided to send a note to the Assistant Superintendent of Student Services who is retiring in a few weeks.
I want to apologize for my email yesterday in the respect that it may not have been worded in the most appropriate way. It was late in the day, the short notice was very problematic for me, and I was hoping to catch the teacher and anyone else as soon as possible. Usually there is notice of more than 4 (school) days.
I have never understood why Pearlsky is not allowed in the school during much of midterms, finals, and the NCLB testing. Either late starts, early releases or total days off … I have yet to ask if these restrictions reduce her class time to less than mandated hours (or days). I try to pick my battles.
It is funny that this morning I was told by a rather perturbed paraprofessional that the “change in schedule” to full days next week was my fault because I complained. My response that I did not feel I wielded such power was met with an indignant “oh yes you do.” So if she is correct, and I wield this amazing power over school schedules, I hereby declare that Pearlsky is allowed, and expected, to be in the school building during the time that other students may or may not be having exams! I further declare that that time can be used to make up therapies missed during the semester! (YES, this is mostly tongue in cheek …)
I know you will be moving on from the district soon, to much better times, and I do hope to see you before you are gone. You have been amazing in your support of Pearlsky, and tolerant of her voracious advocate of a father. You have a strong supporter here, if that can ever help, let me know.
She basically responded that we should talk. I am sure she will call me today. Note that I know other parents went as ape shit as I did and someone even called the Superintendent. No, it was not me.
So here is the question … do I tell her that last week, when I unexpectedly showed up at school around lunch time, I found my daughter in a small room with just one other person? He was the son of Pearlsky’s aide. Just the two of them. He is a high school boy, on an IEP himself, in typical classes, but he is definitely “off.” Just the two of them. When I finally found Pearlsky’s aide, she mumbled something while looking down and went right to them. This is the same aide that gave me shit yesterday morning.
What needs to be understood is that I cannot ask Pearlsky “How was school?” Have you ever asked your normal kid what happened at school? How their day was? Pearlsky tells me nothing, she can’t. She cannot tell me the day was great, she cannot tell me she was bullied, nothing. A few years back she cried every morning when I mentioned getting ready for school. Really. After about two weeks I demanded a new aide and all was fine after that. I will never know why.
It may be paranoia, but I will only complain about an aide if I know she (they only use women with Pearlsky) will be removed immediately. I don’t trust a disgruntled or castigated aide with Pearlsky’s life and well being.
I’ll let you know how the phone call goes.
I’d have gone “ape shit” if I had seen my daughter in the situation you describe…right then and there. That woman needs to move on…or at lest be away from Pearlsky. Ugh.
SD, how dare you demand that your child be given the same rights as the other students! *Eye roll*
I’m still trying to figure out why the other students’ exams would require Pearlsky and her classmates to not be in the building. Do the mainstream classes use her classroom as an exam site? Are she and her classmates racing up and down the halls, making such a ruckus that the students taking exams can’t concentrate? I doubt it. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it illegal to give students in special education fewer hours of instruction time than those in mainstream classes?
It sounds like the aid’s early vacation was cancelled, and she’s taking it out on you. I wouldn’t trust her with a goldfish, much less a human being.
Jo: Actually, I believe that her son, because of his IEP potentially, does not have final exams and does not have to be in school the entire day. Hence, she is upset that she will need childcare for him. No, the school does not use their classroom for exams, I have no idea what the issue is. And yes, you are right in that there are a minimum number of hours and that is what I allude to in the email.
I admire you, as always, for your tenacity. I’m so tired of all this shit we all have to put up with when, really, how hard is it to do the right thing?
So sad how hard you have to fight just to get people to do the jobs they agreed to do.
Regarding the two kids alone, I hope what she mumbled was “I had an extremely sudden and extremely urgent bathroom need (no details necessary, TMI) and there was honestly no time to call for a replacement, but I know this was not a good situation and I’m sorry it happened” perhaps followed by “I’m going home now because I’m throwing up,” because I can’t think of ANY other reasonable explanation for her leaving the room.
As an occupational therapist working for a large school system who is fairly well-versed in IDEA, I cannot see how your daughter’s rights are not being violated by this “special hours for special ed students” edict. I actually think this para should try to learn from you about advocating for her child’s rights; if her son is being excluded too, she needs to speak up to administrators instead of taking it out on you (or, god forbid, the kids!!)! It is NOT least restrictive to ban some students from coming to school while others are there, even if it is for testing. And as far as the “boy-girl alone time” incident, why would you only tell the administrator who is retiring? That info needs to go to the top. And the aide needs to move on, and not just, as Claire suggested, away from your daughter. Keep fighting the good fight!
At least at our school, there are 3 “exam days” with 3 testing periods on each one and the kids only go when they have a final, for most that is 6 of the 9 periods.
My guess is that the final exam schedule tells all students to only report for the hours that they will be actually taking exams. And, since Pearlsky’s class doesn’t take exams, someone – either out of ignorance or a desire to go home early – decided that meant they didn’t need to be there.
I’m glad it got straightened out.
It’s times like this one wishes that one could hook the kids up to a hidden camera, to be able to see what they see and understand what they experience during the day.
Honestly, SD, the way they treat your daughter makes me want to vomit. (good thing I have that Nature’s Miracle stain remover)
We had aides that did truly terrible things, and the school district would never change them. Ever. My daughter can communicate, and one day she told me that her aide insisted on standing next to her while she got changed for gym, and wouldn’t let her change privately. We raised hell…and got nowhere…because of course my daughter *must* have misunderstood…or it never really happened…etc. So really, it’s not necessarily any better when the kid can talk, because no one listens to them anyway. Have you considered hiding a tape recorder?
P.S. Love the blog cross-promotion. 🙂
How I fear all of this as my daughter gets older… My daughter is 4 1/2 and has ACC and Dandy Walker … at this time she doesn’t speak and there is no telling if she will as well… I am just as much a pain in the side of the school and we’re only in pre-school… its going to be a long road so I figure they should just get use to me now 🙂 and yes SD you “rock”
I have a son with Osteogenesis Imperfedta who had a long gash on his sternum where the class aide grabbed him by the collar in a choke hold and scratched the crap out of him. The principal kept asking why i was making such a “big Deal out of the situation with the child who’s bones are brittle and his arm was snapped in two by a simple BP cuff. Listen lady…”If I was making a big deal out of this you would be talking to an attorney now and not someones mom.” She was relieved of her duties and the teacher retired. I never knew if it had anything to do with the 3 page letter the Orthopedic surgeon wrote to the school district or not. i hope it did.