Special Ed in flux

There's a lot going on in the Special Ed community these days, almost more than folks can keep track of.

There is, of course, the District's effort to change the very nature of Special Ed from program-based to service-based, and to deliver those services primarily in general education classrooms. Then there's the school closure issues, a new assignment plan for special ed students that is not yet fully defined, program placement changes, program design changes, and, of course, the new student assignment plan layered on top of everything.

Here's a link to an article in the SEA newsletter on how the District isn't working with teachers on the new SpEd model.

Those looking to follow these issues can subscribe to the Seattle Special ED PTA yahoo group, and can attend meetings of The Special Education Advisory and Advocacy Council (SEAAC).

There's a special ed Services Fair coming up on Saturday, May 16 at Meany Middle School. Fred Row, the interim executive director of Special Education Services will be the keynote speaker. No childcare will be available

I'm sure that a lot of folks think that if their child doesn't have an IEP, then Special Education issues don't involve or affect them. I suggest that we need to be concerned about the services provided to all of Seattle's schoolchildren and, in a more self-interested way, understand how inclusive classrooms are supposed to work. If there aren't any students with IEPs in your children's classes, just wait. There will be. It can be a positive experience if done right. It's in everybody's best interest to see that it is.


seattle citizen said…
This is an important thread, Charlie, thanks for posting it.
You write that "[i]f there aren't any students with IEPs in your children's classes, just wait. There will be. It can be a positive experience if done right. It's in everybody's best interest to see that it is."
I can hardly imagine a classroom without an IEP student in it. We've come along way since three or four decades: many different needs are recognized, and there are as many IEPs as there are children with special needs.

That is progress. But there is still much to be done: It CAN be positive, for both the IEP student and the general ed class, IF it's done right, and it hasn't in the past. With such a speedy roll-out, with such little participation of general ed educators and others, it might not be such a positive experience this time around, either.

The main issue, it seems to me, is differentiation. The law says that we must provide each child with the Least Restrictive Environment. Therefore, accomodations must sometimes be made in order that a child with a certain need can be successful in a general ed classroom. These accomodations take networking educators (SpEd and classroom), changes to testing and curricula, settings, tools...In other words, general ed educators need to be able to work with, and be supported by, special ed staff to ensure the student's needs are being appropriately met.

This also often requires help in the form of an IA. In these days of budget cuts, it's unclear to me whether this help will be available.

There is much planning to do around differentiation (and perhaps this planning could expand to meet more general concepts of differentiation, so as to encompass non-IEP students. This is a big change, one that has met resistance in the past. In order to get buy-in, in order to prepare the way, more time and effort is required.
dan dempsey said…
This is an extremely important thread.

SC said:
"There is much planning to do around differentiation (and perhaps this planning could expand to meet more general concepts of differentiation, so as to encompass non-IEP students.) This is a big change, one that has met resistance in the past. In order to get buy-in, in order to prepare the way, more time and effort is required."Yes, Yes, way better planning. In regard to math the SPS still has an ongoing mess. When Rosalind Wise was Math program manager she would not even attempt to define what students should learn at each grade level and the WA math EALRs and GLEs certainly did not. Teachers need to know what is supposed to be learned by the students in the general population as well as for the IEP students in order to differentiate. Much was made by Carla Santorno and MG-J about how there was a large need for centralized control as the building based approach was just not cutting it. The shortcoming was not building based decision making but the failure of central administration to define what needed to be learned.Now!!!..... we now have centralized control but with a mandated EDM pacing plan with "fidelity of implementation" to the pacing plan. Teachers are ham strung by that pacing guide and materials that do not align to either state standards or with practicality very well. The non-IEP students are not particularly well served now. Good luck with the teachers being able to pull a rabbit out of a hat when future inclusion and least restrictive environment thinking is added to this already chaotic mixture. At the least, the SPS could actually use the WA State Math Standards as the curriculum .... but that does not match with the EDM pacing plan.

"Least restrictive environment" means that a student who has a disability should have the opportunity to be educated with non-disabled peers, to the greatest extent possible. They should have access to the general education curriculum, extracurricular activities, or any other program that non-disabled peers would be able to access. The student should be provided with supplementary aids and services necessary to achieve educational goals if placed in a setting with non-disabled peers. Should the nature or severity of his or her disability prevent the student from achieving these goals in a regular education setting, then the student would be placed in a more restrictive environment, such as a special classroom or a hospital program. Generally, the less opportunity a student has to interact and learn with non-disabled peers, the more that the setting is considered to be restricted.

So it all depends on the IEP goals. You will note that there appears to be little regard for the impact this may have on the efficacy of the regular classroom instructional program for all students in that classroom.

This needs to be extremely well planned ... looking at SPS current leadership and SPS math over the last decade ... the chance for increasing learning efficiency and efficacy in elementary classrooms with these changes is slim to none. {likely worse for middle school}

In Seattle increasing demands are placed upon classroom teachers, by an out of touch central administration, little need to wonder why faculty morale suffers. Like SC said "There is much planning to do". Is sufficient planning going to occur to produce better outcomes? {the odds-makers probably have the over-under line below 5%}.

"The main issue is differentiation."
AutismMom said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
AutismMom said…
Charlie seems to think there has been some monumental change. Can you elaborate on a single thing that is really and truly changing that will result in a single change to any general education classroom? ???

Self-contained students are all staying self-contained. So, all those students you never saw... you'll still never see. Students are still being forced into those programs... so, you won't see any new ones either. All the kids Dan is so fearful about... are the ones already in general education classrooms now. So, what's the big deal? What's changed? Has 1 single program been dismantled? Has 1 single kid gotten out of his program? None that I know of.

By the way, EDM is already used for all special education students... that is, if they're in any program with academics (there are programs with no academics, as I mentioned above). Again, no change.

BTW. EDM has worked great for my child. Simply not a big deal. Yes, it would be nice if it were something else, but we can live with it.
AutismMom said…
OK. Let's address the article in the SEA newsletter. It was written by 2 teachers currently teaching in ultra self-contained classrooms. They have always opposed giving special education students ANY access to general education. Typical kids visiting their classrooms, like they're going to the zoo or a petting pen, is good enough for them. I've heard them on numerous occassions express this opinion. They simply don't believe in it. They simply don't think it matters or is important. The fact that IDEA requires access to general education, is of no interest to them. It's a philosophical issue. Further, their position is very self-interested. They simply want to keep the status quo because they, the teachers, benefit from having that job.... not because it benefits their students. Teaching a small classrooms, with no accountability, with no oversight... what could be better?

First, the article says "of course we want students to have access to general education". NO, of course they don't. If they did value that right, they'd be getting those students access now. They'd be jumping at the chance to actually follow the law for a change.

Secondly, the article says "but we want students to be successful." Well, when you teach classes that amount to finger-painting for years-on end... what kid wouldn't be successful fingerpainting? You can always be successful when don't have to accomplish anything. These teachers operate classrooms that have 0 accountability and provide 0 academics. And now they are saying, "look, our students are successful". Not in my book. Successful by what measure? Oh yeah, they don't need any measure because it's just the disabled kids.

I think most parents were pretty disappointed with the attitude expressed by these SPS staff.
AutismMom said…
So it all depends on the IEP goals. You will note that there appears to be little regard for the impact this may have on the efficacy of the regular classroom instructional program for all students in that classroom.Same old, tiresome discriminatory Dan. Capable of only 1 song. Maybe if we scare everyone enough... they'll complain about the disabled students who aren't even going to be in the classroom. (no teacher accountability need apply). Maybe if we scare everyone enough... they'll complain about curriculums. (no teacher accountability here either... it's the curriculum's fault).

The facts are: 1) students aren't being unleashed into classrooms. They're only claiming to do it for kindergarteners, and I doubt it will result in 1 more gen-ed placement that wouldn't have happened anyway. 2) All empirical data have shown that students with disabilities have a positive academic and social impact on students without IEP's. That's right, other students do better. (Dan only cares about his 1 or 2 pieces of data... ignoring what he doesn't like.)
Josh Hayes said…
FWIW, almost exactly half of the students in the middle school grades at AS1 this year have IEPs. The idea that one could have a class, any class, without a substantial number of IEP kids, therefore, is ludicrous.

It's always been this way at AS1. I see no reason to expect us to change it.
AutismMom said…
Josh I didn't believe you so I went and checked your facts from the OSPI WASL reports. Wow. You're right. I can totally believe that AS1 middle school could be 50% this year. Last year it was 40%. Does AS1 have any "programs"? The average number of students on IEP's in the average gen ed class is currently around 10 to 12%. 50% represents huge disproporitionality (at 5X or so) OR the big disabled number suggests an abuse of special ed funding. (EG. rather than providing normal, effective programs... just dip into sped funds by getting everyone diagnosed with some disability or other for purposes of obtaining sped funding and staff. Lots of schools engage in that abuse.)

I strongly oppose to this sort of disproportionality. That ratio has got to be the highest in the district, and 4 or 5 times the district's average. If accurate, it isn't really good for anyone. The current 8th grade is 2/3 disabled. That means... well, 8th grade at AS1 isn't general ed at all. It's really a self-contained classroom... or more technically, a "reverse inclusion classroom". Is that what people signed up for?

But, back to your other point. Yes. There are already students on IEP's in almost every classroom in the district. Is that news?
dan dempsey said…
Autism Mom said:
"Same old, tiresome discriminatory Dan. Capable of only 1 song. Maybe if we scare everyone enough."I had no idea that asking for planning made me discriminatory and that I was scaring everyone with that request.

I sure hope the wonderful planning so evident in all the SPS ventures has everyone especially calm.

At the opening of Komachin Middle school I helped design and taught in a situation in which 7th and 8th graders were cross-graded and we taught 4 groups of students from special ed through algebra in 97 minute periods on an alternating day schedule. I reported on this complete with test score change by individual student. I was a major success.

My point is I see the SPS as entirely ill equipped to make effective decisions needed to create suitable learning situations for mathematics. They are unable to provide either suitable instructional materials or allow teachers the flexabilty to teach to the WA state math standards now.

To see something other than the SPS following the EDM pacing guide would be an improvement ... but the leap to suitable mainstreamed programs for all seems unlikely.

I've been successful with mainstreamed students with Asperger's syndrome. Currently the instructional materials for math are inappropriate to teach the math standards ... mainstreaming hardly makes that better. Sorry if folks find that thought frightening.
anonymous said…
AS1 has a history of serving "non traditional" families in a supportive and welcoming environment. They welcome all kids regardless of their situation and without judgment. Because of this they tend to attract many homeless families, families in transition, single parent families, families of non traditional sexual orientation, and families whose kids have an IEP or disability.

I personally know a child who has an IEP for ADD. He was not thriving in his traditional school. He was considered a "trouble maker" and was in the principals office on a daily basis. The teacher pressured the family to go back to their doctor and ask for an increase in medication. The family decided to try a new school, and picked AS1 and has been very very happy there.

Could it be that families that need acceptance and extra support turn to schools that offer acceptance and extra support? Could it be that families of kids with disabilities want what AS1 offers.... small class size, lots of scholarships, tons of parent involvement, childcare at all meetings, communal environment, etc?

AS1 is an alternative school, thus it is a "choice" school. Nobody can be assigned there. There is no redlining going on. If 50% of the kids at AS1 have a disability, then AS1 must be doing a heck of a good job serving kids with disabilities, because all of those families chose to send their kids there.

Perhaps the district should set a ratio for IEP/non IEP students in a class? Perhaps having a disproportionate number of sped students is not good for the sped student or the gen ed student. I'm willing to explore that.

But, Autismmom, to suggest that AS1 is "getting everyone diagnosed with some disability or other for purposes of obtaining sped funding and staff" is just plain wrong. You have done no research and have no data to support such an insidious statement.

AS1 IS serving these IEP students well, as proven by the fact that they not only only chose the school to begin with, they remain at the school (no redlining, no district assigning them to a "program" housed in a bad school). You should be thrilled.
my2cents said…
Autism mom: Regarding your earlier entry and the thought that nothing is changing for Sped in Seattle Schools. I think you are missing the point of how things are going to change. Last year Sped kids were placed AFTER general ed kids. So for those of us living in the NE Cluster which is at full capacity, there was no chance of getting into a program. Many kids (over 40% of kids needing inclusion) were bussed far away from their homes in order to "fit into" a program. Last year in the NE cluster there were 2 openings in the inclusion program at Rogers, which is the only inclusion program in our cluster. Two openings - for many more kids than that! The district is shifting away from putting kids into programs, but are now looking at what a kids needs, what cluster they are in, and adding services where needed. They have openly admitted it wont be in every school this fall(the "Enhanced Resource Room - which is the current term being used for kids needing more than gen ed, but not needing self contained) - but they have stated there will be several in each cluster. By the way, this year Sped kids are being registered alongside the gen ed population, "kids are gen ed first then special ed" as Carla and Fred have stated many times.

You indicate you think no children will be effected. Actually there are 67 kindergarten kids that will be effected. AND all the first graders coming out of the blended K's which are no longer going to be offered. There have to be spots for them coming into first grade where they will be supported.

By the way, the district is responding to and trying to provide what the Special Ed PTSA and SEAAC members have been asking for - so you have to give them credit for listening.

I think a lot more is changing than you indicate in your recent blog entry. I agree with many others that the success will all depend on the execution (training, support to gen ed teachers, etc.)
AutismMom said…
Look Adhoc, it's a common practice to over-diagnose kids to get the funding. This is a state-wide problem, the legislature set a sped limit of 12.7% to address the problem. The district itself, sees that practice as a problem. So, it is a real problem. It isn't "insidious" to point out the obvious. Does AS1 engage in that common practice of sped dipping? I do not know. (my school does) Or has AS1 somehow become grossly dissproportionate? Either way, it's a problem.

In fact, disproportionality is not permitted under IDEA. Disproportionality was the key issue the sped review said needed fixing. Huge disproportionality changes the standards taught in the classroom, and it changes the standards of behavior, negatively. So yes, I would be in favor of limiting the percentage of special ed students per classroom and per school. 2X natural ratio's would be my first, off-the-cuff thought. Lots of people believe in true natural ratio's, but I think that's too expensive to do well.

And no, I'm not thrilled the district fails to serve students with disabilities and they wind up having to "choose" a place like AS1... because other schools "choose not to serve." Choice means real choice, it means you believe in the philosophies of alternative education and choose your school based on that. It doesn't mean turning some schools into sped dumping grounds because other schools decide they don't want to serve students. That isn't choice.(and I'm not talking about the quality of AS1 or anything like that) Hasn't this been a common thread at most alterntative schools? The chorus line: "We don't want to attract families because of their problems... We want to attract them because of their commitment to alternative education?"

Suppose all biracial students were only well served at 1 school. (I know biracial students are well served at most schools, but let's suppose, ok?) Would you like that? Would you be "thrilled" that there was someplace your child could go? Or would you be thinking... "huh??? My child should be well served at all schools!" You might be relieved that there is at least 1 school that would serve your child. I am too. But also not thrilled.

And by the way, the district routinely assigns sped students to alternative schools without any choice. Nobody wanted an autism program at Summit... yet many were assigned there (no choice). Lots of people don't like Thornton Creek... (lots of people are assigned there, no choice). Families are right now, as we speak, being forced into TOPs who do NOT want or LIKE it. And, students also could be assigned to Salmon Bay against their will...though it's popular at this point in time.
AutismMom said…

Sped students weren't assigned after everyone last year... tons new sped programs were placed in crappy schools in the summer last year. Students without placements were assigned to those programs. (Those programs are still there). Other sped students were assigned on time. So, the assignment timeline hasn't really changed.

If you notice in the enrollment guide, yes you did get to do regular enrollment. But did you read the fine print? (central sped staff will still assign students) So, you're still being assigned by the sped staff as always... based on their ideas. That isn't really "alongside general ed peers". And I can tell you for a fact, at my school risers are still picking program models and are still being forced to a limited number of schools. This is a fact. So, has anything really changed? Maybe, maybe not. When we get the assignments we will know... but we won't know because we don't have access to all the information.

True, the stand-alone kindergartens have been discontinued. And that is a positive, genuine change. And those students will stay with their cohorts. While a "change", those groups are already used to those students. It isn't new students (or more students) moving into schools... which was the gist of the thread. And yes, the central staff deserves credit for enabling K students to continue at their schools.
AutismMom said…
My2cents, is your child a riser? If so, what school did you choose? I am curious. If you live in the NE, my guess is you'll be assigned to Rogers (or possibly the new Addams) and not Bryant, Laurelhurst, or anywhere popular. Just my guess. Last year we would have called that assignment overloading the Roger's program. (which isn't really great). This year we'll call it enhanced resource room.
anonymous said…
Autismom, I am not at all well versed in sped policy and procedures, so help me out here.

First question: You say "it's a common practice to over-diagnose kids to get the funding. "

Who is authorized to make a diagnosis? Are these diagnosis done at the school level? Or at the district level? Is testing involved? Can a teacher simply diagnose a student and give him an IEP or other services?

Second question: What are the categories of service for special ed kids? I know an IEP can be very basic offering few or no extra services, to extremely complex with a lot of services?

Third question: Can kids that have an IEP, but are not in a "program" like most of the kids at AS1, go to any school? Can any school serve them? Do they go through the regular enrollment process, or is it different?
AutismMom said…
Adhoc, to answer your questions,

1) Who makes a diagnosis? You do not need a true diagnosis. You do need both an IDEA category and enough deficits to qualify for an IEP. The teacher can not make a diagnosis or category decision, but can recommend a dianosis to a psychologist, either a public school psychologist, or a private psychologist or psychiatrist. Teachers also report on behavior and classroom performance (both very subjective) which is part of the diagnostic decision. A group at a school must show a level of "deficit" in addition to a diagnosis. I believe other professionals such as SLP's and OT's (private or in-school) can make diagnosis either based on testing or "professional judgement". School staff has a lot of input into the final decision or qualification process. Amount or type of instruction is not supposed to be a factor in elligibilty. For example, if you can't read... but never had effective instruction... you are not supposed get an IEP, you are supposed to get effective instruction. But then, that's sort of a matter of opinion isn't it? EG. Kids at my school, who previously went to a Waldorf (reading not allowed or taught) got diagnosed with a "reading disability". Funny thing, they had a miracle cure after 6 months of actual instruction. That sped qualification shouldn't have happenned. The kid isn't disabled.

2) What are the categories? These are specified by IDEA (and ADA). There are 13. autism, deaf-blindness, hearing impairment, mental retardation, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impaired, specific learning disability, speech impairment, traumatic brain injury, visual impairment.

The categories with the most leeway are specific learning disability and health impaired. Specific learning disability... simply meaning a person underperforms his/her IQ. Doesn't everyone "underperform" their IQ? I do. And health impaired is pretty much just ADHD. There's no category for ADHD, as it isn't considered a disabiity. Now, schools put ADHD kids in the "other health impaired" category.

3) Can kids have IEP's but not be in programs? Can they go to any school? Yes. The "program" notion is unique to Seattle. IDEA does not permit the assignment of students based on disability label or even category. That is strictly illegal (but Seattle does do this). Not saying it's bad, just illegal. Assignment is supposed to be completely individualized to specific needs. However, most kids on IEPs, even in Seattle, are not in programs (like at AS1). They are assigned the same as everyone else. Currently, level 3+ students are not assigned the same. Washington State specifies that all students are general ed students first, and therefore should have the same choices, or at least a meeting to see if their choice could work. The district says it's changing that. But if it keeps all the self-contained programs, you still have the problem.
anonymous said…
Thanks for the explanation Autismom.

Now I'm really confused, though.

You say "most kids on IEPs, even in Seattle, are not in programs (like at AS1). They are assigned the same as everyone else."

But in your earlier post you suggest that sped kids do not have "real choice" and are forced into schools they don't want to go to.

So which of these two statement is correct? Are these statements conflicting because they address two different sped groups? One group being kids with IEP's but not in a "program" and the other group being sped kids in a "program"? If, so, it would be helpful to be specific about that?

MOST sped students, according to you, have IEP's but are not in programs. These students have full and free choice to attend any school just like any other SPS student. And the school they choose has to serve them. That seems fair to me.

The sped kids who are in programs are served differently. Perhaps that's what you really want to address??

The families of kids with IEP's chose AS1 freely. AS1 works for their kids. There is no lack of "real choice" going on here, in fact this is an example of tru choice.

And since teachers can't make a diagnosis, I guess your earlier accusation of AS1 "getting everyone diagnosed with some disability or other for purposes of obtaining sped funding and staff" couldn't be true. Though a teacher can give input via classroom behavioral, a psychologist or psychiatrist is needed to make a diagnosis. And no competent doctor will make a diagnosis based on one single teacher/sources findings.

I find it outrageous to think that AS1 teachers would "make up" things about a normal student in order to classify them spec ed and get funding. That just seems over the top to me, especially from this particular community (AS1) who believe so strongly in social justice, equity, etc.
dan dempsey said…
I reported on this complete with test score change by individual student. "It" was a major success.
dan dempsey said…
It was said:
2) All empirical data have shown that students with disabilities have a positive academic and social impact on students without IEP's. That's right, other students do better.Please provide links to this empirical data.

Most interpretations of education data are pure bunk. Source data needs to be not only interpreted but examined. Looking for uncontrolled variables is useful and often revealing.

Jo Boaler, formerly of Stanford, faked the data in a widely used study, which was then used in promoting school changes.

ftp://math.stanford.edu/pub/papers/milgram/combined-evaluations-version3.pdf Dr. Boaler, now at Sheffield Univ. in the UK, is listed as an adviser to the WA State Transition Math Project. Good luck with that one.

Please do not attack me ....
just name the studies and provide the links.

Again I do not think the SPS administration is capable of the planning required to bring about success in this situation.
Check the SPS track record.

Mainstreaming can be done successfully .. I know as I was involved in it. It takes resources as well as planning.

Here are a few reasons education operates in confusion:
http://mathunderground.blogspot.com/2009/04/better-idea-proof-before-more-fads.html Thanks,

dan dempsey said…
EDM has worked great for my child. Simply not a big deal.The numbers I ran using ITBS testing of 35 WA districts using EDM
(2005 last year of ITBS in WA at grade 3 and grade 6)
showed big drops at grade 6 when compared with grade 3.

This is similar to reports from many other districts (Denver etc.) that report big problems in middle school math and high school algebra when EDM kids, who were never taught standard algorithms for multiplication or division, are confronted with tasks that require such skills.
{side note: the "Discovering Series" is very light on authentic algebra as defined by NMAP}

I am skeptical how 1.8 years of a child's learning that follows the EDM pacing plan can be judged as successful or not in the overall k-12 math scheme.
AutismMom said…

I agree nobody was forced into AS1. I don't really know their situations. (Level 3+ students are forced places) But I wouldn't want my disabled student or my non-disabled students, at a school with so many disabled students. It's contrary to best practice for everyone. But if parents like it, viva la difference. Everybody has their values. BUT, other schools are still legally required to provide those "resource room" services to kids. It isn't OK for schools to do a bad job... just because there's as AS1 out there willing to mop up after them. (I'm not saying that is the case, just clarifying). No, schools don't get to choose their students in public schools.

As to diagnosis, maybe an example would shed light. My doctor diagnosed my child with ADHD without ANY examination, observation, or information from my teachers, or anything else.... purely on my say-so. Why? It wasn't for IEP, we've got that already. I wanted to try medication. But now, my child's school records indicate ADHD.... and my child would be elligible for "health impaired" status if I wanted that. I guarantee you, any parent that wanted services, or medication, could get an ADHD diagnosis from my doctor ... in less than 15 minutes. Now, having a diagnosis isn't an IEP... but it's half the battle. I'm not saying doctors and/or psych's are incompetent... it's a soft science... very soft, easy to persuade.

Fact: people get diagnosed with ADHD in 15 minutes with NO school information... all the time.

Overidentification of disability for the purposes of obtaining funding has been found by the legislature to be a problem in Washington statewide. It has also been recognized and upheld by our courts. Yes, I would say that staff at schools do greatly influence psychologists and doctors. I do not know the situation at AS1.
AutismMom said…

Consider a well-meaning and dedicated teacher who is completely committed to, and completely believes in some educational strategy.... perhaps, a reading teaching technique. Suppose a student comes along... and doesn't learn to read in that teacher's class.

Don't you think it entirely possible that a teacher would consider the student "learning disabled"... instead of questioning her own pedagogical strategy? or the school's strategy if the whole school is committed to that strategy? It's human nature. Is the student "learning disabled"? Or, has the school simply not provided the instruction the student needs? Don't you think the staff could genuinely believe the student is disabled... when it's really a problem with instruction? It isn't really "over the top" and malicious.

Psychologists and doctors have no traing in reading instruction, they have to listen to the teachers and staff, which are all biased by their personal education and experiences.
anonymous said…
"I guarantee you, any parent that wanted services, or medication, could get an ADHD diagnosis from my doctor ... in less than 15 minutes."

I've heard similar stories before, and it's pretty upsetting to know this is happening. ADHD is a serious diagnosis and should not made based on one persons (even a parent) input.

But, could a teacher accomplish the same thing? Could a teacher call a doctor, and with a brief statement, have a child diagnosed ADHD? I doubt it. I doubt it for many reasons, but mainly because they would have to get past the parents first.

We had a teacher tell us that our son had ADHD several years ago. I didn't think he had ADHD, but wanted to be sure, so I took him to a neuro psychologist(who specialized in ADHD) who spent a day and a half performing many specialized tests, and activities with him. The outcome was that he did not have ADHD, but he was very advanced academically, and was bored to tears in class, causing him to act out.

Though the teacher gave input to our neuro psychologist, she had no power to diagnose my son. None. And, once I got the results of the test she never brought the subject up again. Now, this teacher wasn't malicious, and she wasn't trying to diagnose my son to get extra sped funding for the school. She truly believed that he had ADHD.

My story really could have had a different ending though. I could have bought what the teacher said and believed that my son had ADHD. I could have taken my son to his pediatrician instead of an ADHD specialist and probably got an ADHD diagnosis in a few minutes? I could have then got medication and an IEP, and his school could have gotten extra sped funding. So, I see where you are going with that Autismom.

As tragic as the latter ending would have been, it would not have been the result of a teacher manipulating the system and trying to get extra sped funding for the school.
AutismMom said…
Hey, I never said the quest for a diagnosis was malicious... or that people don't believe in the diagnosis. (maybe it sounded that way) Diagnosis are subjective.. not concrete facts. And of course, the parent is the major factor in getting a diagnosis. Without parent's consent and agreement, they usually don't happen, even for autism. I also don't really think it tragic, one way or the other. So what if your son had received a diagnosis and sped funding? It wouldn't have hurt him... but, it might mean that the gen ed teachers might try less (perhaps) and the district would definitely receive more funding for him.

If 1 group of randomly selected kids all start out together in K... and end up as 50% sld/adhd disabled... you've gotta wonder about the instruction and/or diagnosis pieces, don't you?

I do realize a certain number of these AS1 kids self-select after diagnosis probably.
anonymous said…
In regard to diagnosing a child with ADHD that didn't have ADHD Autismom said "I also don't really think it tragic, one way or the other. So what if your son had received a diagnosis and sped funding? "

Are you kidding??? You don't think it tragic to diagnose a child with ADHD that didn't have ADHD? Think about all of the ramifications of such a diagnosis.

You don't think it tragic to medicate a child for ADHD that doesn't have ADHD? You don't think it tragic for a child to be labeled as ADHD that doesn't have ADHD? You don't think it tragic to have him (and probably the entire family) seek treatment and/or therapy for ADHD? You don't think it would be tragic to have the child think he had ADHD when he really didn't.

And how about all of the re$ource$ that the child would be using that they really didn't need (resource room, teacher pull outs, extra time for test taking).
Josh Hayes said…
Yikes, I didn't mean to start a range war or anything!

I believe that a large part of any kid's IEP is a recognition that the traditional school model doesn't work for that kid. It is, therefore, an obvious strategy to look at alternative schools.

A school which emphasizes individual education -- as opposed to age- and class-based education -- is going to be attractive to parents of such children.

And, voila! AS1 famously believes in individual child-centered education, with a big experiential component, and that works really well for a lot of kids with IEPs; MUCH better than the traditional model, where teachers just want that darn kid to sit DOWN now and then! (For example.)

I think adhoc's characterization is exactly right: a lot of families find the "regular" schools to be insufficient to their needs, and AS1 works for them. I don't think any sinister motives need be applied.

I'd also point out that IEP ratios in the K-5 arena are somewhat smaller; again, this makes sense, because parents of kids with IEPs look at the middle school options and find nothing welcoming in the traditional 6-8 schools.

Thanks, adhoc, for pleading our case at AS1. It's good to see common understanding among parents.

And, WC, let's all get together and have a luvwe.
Sahila said…
I find it distasteful that two people, who both admit they dont know the situation at AS#1 relating to students with IEPs, are having a philosophical argument about faking spec ed diagnoses to obtain extra funding for a school and somehow have brought AS#1's high ratio of IEP kids into the discussion...

Maybe we have lots of kids with IEPs because we accept all kids for who they are and our environment and relationship-building are conducive to creating a space where all kids grow towards their potential. Anbd our non-IEP kids benefit from that diversity in learning to accept without judgment and to see past labels etc... there's a banner the kids have made, hanging up in the lunchroom - dont remember the exact words at this late hour, but its something to the effect of "AS#1 - a school for all kinds of minds..."
beansa said…
adhoc, would you be willing to pass along that doctor's name?

My daughter goes to AS1, and the teachers actually discouraged us from having her assessed for ADHD. We've been concerned because her dad has pretty severe ADHD, and she had such a hard time in the traditional classroom setting. She also has some of the adhd symptoms.

But, since she's been at AS1, there hasn't been much of a problem. Her teacher figures out ways to make it work. And the sped teacher didn't see the need to have her evaluated when we brought it up.

So we will wait and see. I don't think the teachers at AS1 are encouraging unnecessary diagnoses though. If anything, they seem open to normal variations in ability and personality and not so quick to slap labels on everyone and pathologize every behavior.
anonymous said…
The doctor we went to is Fred Provenzano. He came highly recommended, and we know many families that have gone to him. His services were pricey ($2000), but he accepted our insurance so our visits were covered 100%. He is located near Northgate.
Free said…
I find this conversation rather disturbing, as we spent considerable time considering an ADD diagnosis for our son while not knowing, until now, that there may have been a financial motive for the school. While our son's soccer and baseball coaches firmly rejected the notion of ADD, after three out of his four teachers encouraged us to consult a psychiatrist, we did. (Interestingly, the hold-out was just as confident that his dreaminess and chattiness was age-appropriate. Naturally, he adored this teacher.)

After what seemed a stunningly rudimentary evaluation, based on 2-page questionnaires from our son's teaches, coaches, parents and caregivers, the psychiatrist determined our son's attentiveness was well within "normal." It did not come close to the threshold for treatment, let alone drugs. That was a relief.

Unfortunately, this was not the response desired by his school, and although our son is happy -- and excels on tests -- we are frequently encouraged to seek treatment because he is chatty, dreamy, disorganized and forgetful.

I suspect the label that was applied in first grade will stick until he changes schools.
ARB said…
Thank you so much for your attention to this important issue. Special ed parents are stuck in the middle of all of these changes with very little communication and no administrative support (although I must commend individual teachers for trying to help)
casey said…
Thank you for beginning this thread. I think that your original comments got a bit lost in the thread. The district's change from a program focused, to service focused is long over due. Although, Dr. G-J says in an e-mail to teachers that this is a "small change," I believe it is huge. Having said that, I think this change was steamrolled through, without a plan, as is unfortunately, typical.

Some points I would like to address:

1. Extremely poor and ineffective communication with the majority of parents affected by the kindergarten changes.

2. Extremely poor an ineffective communication with teachers. Hence some of the teacher backlash. Predictable, given how hard teachers work and how little support they get from the district.

3.Training for gen ed and special ed teachers in the spring?: Hello, it is already spring. Where is the training?

4. Poor transparency: Some committees were formed to plan these changes. Or so I hear. Where are the minutes? Who is on these committees? When do they meet? How have they solicited input from the stakeholders (not just one or two?)

5. What happened to the smaller kindergarten classes that had been available for students who are bright but become extremely anxious and unfocused in classes of 28 students? Closed. Are we meeting their needs by placing kindergarteners in classes of 28 with assistants, or the expectations of their parents?

6. Special Ed students are gen. ed. students first: NOT TRUE for those educated in self contained settings. They DO NOT have a gen ed seat. So they overload every class they enter for mainstreaming and are not truly included. Please don't blame the teachers.

7. Choice: parents were led to believe that they have choice. Let's see when the assignments are made. Looks like the kindergarteners with IEPs will be grouped together. In some school or other with room. Sounds suspiciously like a "PROGRAM" of old.

8. Quality and accountability of teaching: Long overdue. Teachers work extremely hard, but with not much support OR supervision or training.

9. Definitions: Inclusion means different things to different people. Where your child will be educated is a personal decision. choice is important.

10. Historically, top down directives without buy in from community or staff, fail.

I agree with AURORA : "Special ed parents are stuck in the middle of all of these changes with very little communication and no administrative support (although I must commend individual teachers for trying to help)".

It will be interesting.
SpedParent said…
7. Choice: parents were led to believe that they have choice. Let's see when the assignments are made. Looks like the kindergarteners with IEPs will be grouped together. In some school or other with room. Sounds suspiciously like a "PROGRAM" of old.

9. Definitions: Inclusion means different things to different people. Where your child will be educated is a personal decision. choice is important.
Amen Casey! All the way around, really. Let me make another guess... if there's already a "PROGRAM of old" in that building the parent didn't really choose but was assigned... it won't matter if the program is full. After all, you're not in the "PROGRAM of old", so it doesn't matter that the program is full, you're getting "services" not "program". Services are unlimited. They already said there's no more "program is full" (there's no program, remember?). But, you're getting services from the "PROGRAM of old"... because that's the staff in the building.

And if you want inclusive services but the program is self-contained. No problem. The "PROGRAM of old" can now do that too. How can the sped teacher teach the self-contained program, (there is still a class full of self-contained kids without another seat)... and provide inclusive services to new kids? Cloning?
reader said…
I disagree about the "flux" part of this thread. Is Special Ed in flux? It's changing or trying to, but I wouldn't call it "flux." If you've been attending meetings this year it all sounds modest in scale and like the student assignment plan the sped stuff is organized on a phased roll out over 5-6 years. I would hardly call that "flux."

Some of the posters here seem to have never read the special ed audit. Did you think, Casey, that parents would be happy with the district doing nothing for more than two years? Nothing? Hello, hello, hello.
my2cents said…
Casey, regarding your comment about committees being formed and stakeholders not being involved. Have you been under a rock? The district has held multiple parent meetings to solicit feedback. SEAAC meetings have been open to anyone and is a chance to have direct contact with the decision makers. In addition, many school board members hold monthly coffee hours to discuss things with parents. I personally have spent more hours than I can count attending these meetings to pass along the perspective a special ed parent as have many other people. So I suggest you attempt to get involved before you complain about not being included.
seattle citizen said…
There are also committees of staff members (teachers: a committee of SpEd teachers and a committee of general ed teachers) who are working to define the responsibilities of SpEd educators and Gen Ed educators. The final meetings of these committees are, I believe, in May.
cpvmac said…
There is no transparency and minimal involvement. Why are most of the answers from M-G and Fred "we don't know yet." Why do they hold "small group meetings" limiting participation (so they aren't outnumbered)? Why do they have to apologize for their failure to inform SpEd teachers on pending changes?

What's driving this rejiggering is not some consultant's audit that pushed neighborhood schools ,gen ed for everyone, and "team teaching" (a concept the firm actively markets). It's cutting down transportation costs to all these programs. It's saving a buck. So my daughter, who is currently very well-served in an autism inclusion program five miles away, may now be ill-served in an "enhanced resource room" nearby.
SpedParent said…
My2cents: Sure there's been lots of opportunity to sit in meetings, with different uninformed and/or unimpowered staff, but that really isn't saying much is it? Very few people have as much time to waste as you seem to. The answers all have really been "oh, it will all just work out. Write down your choice and don't worry about a thing.". I wouldn't say that's communcication, and it truly is to very few people in an adhoc manner.

There's been nothing concrete. Where will there be staff? How much staff will there be, and how many students will each staff serve? And what will that staff be doing? And, who are the staff? What are general educators going to be doing? That's what we all want to know.

They say they just don't have enough information to tell us where to put the services. What a load of crap. Yes, the district knows the needs of students (they're on IEP's) AND parents tell them where they want to go at every IEP meeting. Duh! Stop hiding behind that "we don't know" stuff.

And now we're hearing people are really just being herded together, same as always. What's the point in changing if you're staying the same?

Seattle Citizen: What committee? I don't believe it.

Cvpmac: Are you really being forced out of an autism inclusion program? That's news to all of us. As far as I know, nobody's being forced anywhere... please report if you are!!!

(The rest of your comment is pretty alarmist and inaccurate though. The audit did not suggest "gen ed for all" or "team teaching". Or even "neighborhood schools". It did say we should get choice. Yes, choice please! So what's your big fear?)
Unknown said…
To AustismMom,
I am one of the teachers mentioned in the SEA Unity. I would like to invite you to come and visit my classroom. I teach a self-contained classroom at Thornton Creek. Currently 4 out of 8 of my students spend significant amounts of their day included in the age/grade appropriate general ed classrooms. I teach reading, writing, math (yes I have used EDM) science, social skills, language skills and adaptive skills. I can't remember the last time I did fingerpainting with my students. Before you make sweeping judgments about self-contained classrooms, I suggest you come and see for yourself the excellent education students are receiving. Feel free to email me at taswanson@seattleschools.org so we can set up a time for your visit.
my2cents said…
spedparent: Wow, it seems you are the uniformed and unimpowered one. The meetings I am speaking of were led by Carla and Fred. How sad that you see my persistence to make time to get involved and make a difference hopefully for my special needs child as "having a lot of time to waste". Enough said.
Kudos to you Teresa for speaking up. Autismmom repeated slams TC on this blog. My neighbor's daughter is in the self contained program at your school and he raves about the program. I have been repeated surprised by Autismmom's comments. I hope she comes to visit to get first hand info.
casey said…
To Jim Peters: Wait longer? No way. I’m wondering what took the district almost 2 years to get this far? But to be successful, there needs to be much more then words. . Yes, the Review was quite valuable: I found the following quotes interesting and have not seen them addressed.

Comments : Pg. 26, 27

"It is difficult to underestimate the impact of the number of leadership changes the Seattle Public Schools has had to deal with ……………, constant change in Central Office leadership ………….. Lack of consistency of organizational message and messenger,
as well as uncertainties as to organizational priorities and operational norms, create an unhealthy
tension between and among even the best-intentioned of middle management and school-based

Observation: we have an experienced, but temporary part time Special Education Director with limited experience in Seattle schools. (different from many districts, obviously). Our CAO who has demonstrated interest and attention to special education is now leaving, with unclear plans for replacement. The rumored Review Teams got off to a very slow start and are already on their second Project Manager. I think. Who is in charge, now? Where does that leave us? If I can’t make it to meetings, how can I find out any information?

Pg. 17 “All students with disabilities should
attend the schools they would attend if without disabilities for the:
a. High schools by fall of 2008
b. Middle schools by fall of 2009
c. Elementary schools by fall of 2010”

elementary : fall of 2010? When did this change to 2009?

Are any other parents of preschoolers rising to K, reading this?

How about this recommendation to:
(Pg. 18.) "Develop service delivery teams in each school to determine how services are currently offered, and design future integrated services delivery models based on best practice ...."

????????? Has this happened? Did anyone speak to teachers BEFORE changes were announced?

Pg 18. Both general and special education teachers will be provided the appropriate training ……………..

This sounds rather important. Who? When?

Let's really get ready, before jumping in.

I leave you with this quote, pg. 26.27
"The External Core Team was most impressed by the enthusiasm, commitment, and obvious talent of individuals we met throughout our site visit. There is a genuine desire—a passion—to implement best practice and do the right thing by students and families. The parents with whom we met shared concerns not only about their own children but also about those of other families who may not have the time and/or resources to advocate effectively."

I think that last line, is especially important. There are many good, dedicated teachers here. And families. We need to be advocates for ALL children. And we all do it in our own way.
SpedParent said…

Sorry if I offended you. You should absolutely advocate for your child. But no, most of all those meetings serve very few as others have pointed out. Like 1 or 2 people. Yes Fred and Carla show up sometimes. But what do they do? Carla was sympathetic and said the right things... BUT she quit, so she's out. And who knows how long Fred will be there or what he's even about.

The "unempowered" people I referenced was the large, and ever-shifting cadre of consulting teachers, who seldom know 1 thing about programs they "consult" for. Nothing! High paid, know nothings! Has anyone ever found any value to these people? ???? A new one for each meeting. What good is that? And their jobs are all but irrelevant even if they do have a clue, they have no influence in the buildings!

Back in the pre-internet day, they had a purpose. They had the "information". Nobody knew where the programs were... or what they were... the consulting teachers knew that big secret. They were paid to tell you your piece of it. Guess what folks? That day is over. We all know where the programs are, and we don't need a map...
cpvmac said…
That's right, SpedParent, let out those aggressions...

Let's see, Pg 51 of SPS Sped Planning document reads in part "All students, with minor exceptions, assigned by Enrollment Planning to the school they would attend if they did not have a disability." Pardon me, I said "neighborhood" school, I guess the proper term (du jour) is "attendance area" school. Noted by District staff as an implication of the new student assignment plan to which my special needs child will submit: "To what extent do we need to move (special education) services to students," and SpEd service delivery changes "will not be fully in place when assignment plan changes are made." Oh, and a guiding principle for the new assignment plan is Decrease Transportation Costs. This sounds like putting the cart ahead of the ass. Okay, that inspires confidence and trust.

Interestingly, the same month the SpEd audit consultants were hired, they published a journal article on "Teacher Teams" for Integrated Comprehensive Services supported by their "12 years of research". Where the results of the audit a surprise to anyone? And, Damn, if the District didn't run with the results.

I don't trust that my child will continue to have certified special educators trained in autism spectrum disorders helping her.

Oh, and please moderate the tone of comments directed to others.
reader said…
Good to see that the audit is being cited here.

CPVMAC wrote "I don't trust that my child will continue to have certified special educators trained in autism spectrum disorders helping her." This is a core issue. I haven't heard anyone who isn't worried about this. The question keeps getting asked but the answers (in meetings I have attended or heard about) are indirect.

It has been stated many times that the relevant certificated staffing will be on site depending on the IEPs but our teacher represented that they may be moving to some kind of itinerant model where they are assigned to more than one building. Un/undersupported children with disabilities will be finding themselves escorted rapidly to more restrictive environments. End of inclusion.
Charlie Mas said…
Nature hates a vacuum. In the absence of news, the empty space will be filled with rumor and conjecture. Let's make sure that we distinguish between the two, demand news, and not over-invest in anything less.
seattle citizen said…
It's the Roles and Responsibilities Committee. Believe it!
(or not, but it's true...)
casey said…
seattle citizen: how can one find out the information that you have about committees, etc, if unable to attend meetings.

I keep thinking that with a district commitment to "community engagement" and "transparency" this information would be available to the MANY, not just the FEW.

seattle citizen said…
Casey, it would be helpful if the public at least knew about committees such as the one I mentioned, and additionally helpful if the public had access to the results of that committee's discussions and results, but it IS a committee just for educators: "community engagement" would not really apply in this particular committee.
reader said…
Casey, re "Many" and "Few": you could try contacting the special ed pts and the special ed advisory council. Both organization have been pushing the matter of outreach. The ball is in the Central Office court. The special ed ptsa is trying to get ptsasin all schools to have a sped representative. Not all ptsas are open to this.
AutismMom said…

You can't sit on a committee that's charged with the review implementation, for years.... and then complain about the lack of a plan to the SEA. Other posters are correct, this thing is more than 2 years old now. Why not do something constructive instead of being an obstacle? Why whip up all sorts of fear in your colleagues over a few kindergarteners? That is a disservice to everyone with a kid going into general education classrooms. You can't expect parents to be happy about that.

If TC students are now able to access general education (more than lunch, recess, arts, and library) then that is real progress. It means the sped audit is already having a positive effect on students. And that is a good thing.
AutismMom said…

Look at this years school closures. That's a HUGE change, rammed through with very little consideration in a short amount of time. Sure there are "design teams", but they seem mostly for PR. Training? Nope.

As far as I can tell the district never really has a plan for any of its initiatives. And training? Forget about it, it's unrealistic. Changes in special education aren't going to be different or planned to the last detail. And maybe, overthinking and excessive handwringing is a problem too.

These changes are so small, the biggest real effect is probably going to be "mind set". And that is something worth changing without more delay.
SpedParent said…
But CVPMAC, are you actually being required (or even asked) to leave your inclusion program right now, this year? Not the theoretical answer you have gleaned from the audit, but the in reality? As parents we really need to have information like that. Last year, the district tried to force one kid out of an inclusion program at Bagley and into another inclusion program at Cooper, to save transportation costs. His parents resisted this. Then, they closed Cooper! The kid had already been moved 4 times and they were going to move him agains and then close his school. Yikes! Then the district claimed it never did stuff like that (move people out). So it's good to know the truth. I agree that when you transition up, then you're at high risk for not getting an inclusion program as it stands now.

Do we really know what the "assignment plan is"? It sure doesn't sound like they'll be saving a dime in transportation to me. There's choice, there's option schools, there's reserved seats. It isn't all just attendance area. And the review did mention "the school the child would have attended if not disabled". Currently, that's the school of choice.
cpvmac said…
SpEd Parent,

The documents I have seen make the "choice" assignment secondary to "attendance area" assignment. Yes, there will still be a "lever pull" but in the District's earnestnest to "keep it simple" I believe they will limit our choices. Like, okay you can go there but there will be no transportation. And with two parents working, that's little choice.

No, my daughter's not moving yet but, with the furtiveness and lack of answers I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop. The District has shown that they will make drastic changes with little real process, engagement or planning for that matter. If my daughter isn't leaving the inclusion program, the program will leave her. Already the Autism Specialist has hinted that she will be more of a general SpEd resource, than a specialist in ASD. There will be a progressive dilution in SpEd expertise surrounding our children. I don't mean to be glib but we HAVE generalists, they are "general ed" teachers!

The audit's moral position is that "everyone" should be accountable for the education of our special needs children. Of course I adamantly agree. But will that really happen, without some concrete measures of accountability and performance?

I recently completed my daughter's reassessment and IEP. I balked at signing a new form that connotes my approval of non-certified staff providing some of the service minutes for my child. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE her IA's, but I won't let the District off the hook.
SpedParent said…
Cvpmac, I hear you. And, I get it. When your inclusion manager says "I'm going to be more of a generalist".... I think she means, "Hey, maybe there will be a kid a different disability coming through here". You know, maybe that isn't so bad. There is a kid with Down Syndrome at Bagley in the autism inclusion program. Where else is he supposed to go? He's doing great there. And there really is not another appropriate program... anywhere. But consulting teachers swore up and down that "never again". Why? It doesn't fit their mindset. But, it worked. ??? Now, maybe they'll just have to make a space... like they always should have.
Unknown said…
To AutismMom,
Once again you are making accusations and assumptions that are not true.
cpvmac said…
Absolutely SpEd Parent. I would welcome a child with a different disability. I see the autism inclusion model as ideal for many children. There should be more available spots. I'd hate to see it watered down by an "enhanced resource room" approach.

The following url gives some insight into the direction SSD is going...

cpvmac said…
Okay, I'm reviewing the following documents and i have a question. What the heck is the Special Education Consortium?



cpvmac said…
Sorry, one other thing...

The citation at the top of the District's NEW IEP form "Plan for Non-Special Education Certificated Staff to Provide Specially Designed Instruction" reads as follows:

Specially designed instruction is instruction that is delivered to students with IEPs that involves (1) modified content, (2) modified methodology, or (3) modified delivery of instruction (WA 392-172-045(4)(a). It is provided by appropriately qualified special education/ESA certficated staff, or designed and supervised by this staff and carried out by general education certificated personnel or trained classified staff pursuant to a properly formulated IEP so that the needs of the student and services provided to the student will be clear to the parents and other IEP service providers. Student progress must be monitored and evaluated by special education/ESA certificated staff (WAC 392-172-045). If specially designed instruction is to be delivered by a certificated general edcuation teacher or a trained classified staff member, a plan must be developed.

First of all the WAC reference doesn't exist. Second, this sounds like a trained janitor can provide, say, speech therapy. Finally, the WAC DOES have 392-172A-1085 which CLEARLY describes "highly qualified special education teachers."
seattle citizen said…
Yep, that's weird alright. There's a slew of WAC codes

but no 392-172-045 that I could find...

One of my concerns (and I'm no SpEd expert) is in the first line:

"Specially designed instruction is instruction that is delivered to students with IEPs that involves (1) modified content, (2) modified methodology, or (3) modified delivery of instruction (WA 392-172-045(4)(a)."

Note that it says "or" before number 3. Wouldn't it more correctly read "and/or"? Are the three exclusive of each other?

As to the janitor supplying instruction (I think "custodian" is the pc decriptor): 1) it says "trained" classified staff, which implies, if it doesn't state, that the person has some training (hmmm, IAs? Can they provide instruction? I don't think so: I think they can monitor work and assist, but not provide instruction, per se. I could be wrong.)
2) There are many custodians who could work well with students. I know your intention wasn't to demean custodians, but hey, they are educators, of sorts, too! True, they aren't specifically designated to teach or assist in the classroom, nor should they be, but to use them as an example of who SHOULDN'T seems disrespectful.

Overall, the document you cite seems kinda loosey-goosey
cpvmac said…
Of course I say "janitors" with tongue in cheeks. Where would we be without them. But loosey-goosey is right.

We all know how easy it is to get a certificate, look at Scarecrow.
seattle citizen said…
Hey, that wasn't easy for Scarecrow! He had to kill the Wicked Witch AND learn valuable lessons about "what's inside"...Now, I wonder if the Wizard has any more hearts laying around?
casey said…
Does anyone writing have a child entering Kindergarten or 1st grade next year? It's easy for others to say that these changes only affect a few kindergarteners, but if it is YOUR CHILD in this experiment, it is huge.

How has communication been for you? How has the process worked? Do you have the information you need to make a choice? Did you go on tours? Do you feel that your concerns have been heard? Did anyone go to that special ed enrollment day?
cpvmac said…
Sorry, no kindergartner. But (and I say this tongue firmly in cheek) you will be happy to hear the District hired a communications specialist, PR person per se, to deal with all these pesky questions.

In all seriousness, I can understand your anxiety.

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