Tuesday, August 30, 2011

First Hiccup of Many! CB Program @ Boise Eloit

I forgot to post this earlier this month, but I think it is worth doing, just to show how the best laid plans are just that - plans. Also, to highlight something most of you know - SPED is a moving target, and nothing is written in stone (even that IEP you worked so hard on a few months ago).

Back in the spring, there were the exhausting collection of meetings regarding Olivia's entry into Kindie. The IEP was signed off on, and her placement was confirmed by not one but 4 people on the SPED team. CB Academic K-2 with increasing time in the mainstream class, at Alameda, next door to her big brother in the CB 3-5 class. It was obvious, easy, and agreed upon all they way up to Mary Pearson.

Then in early August I received the letter from SPED confirming Olivia's placement.
At Boise-Eliot.

This did not surprise me too much. We received a letter last summer confirming Isaac's entry into the CB program at Roseway Heights which is not l only in another cluster, but is also the class (with same teacher) where just a year prior he had the joy of two police involved incidents, an EMT was called, and an expulsion hearing was called on the then 1st grader. It had been agreed on that he would attend a CB program at the MUCH closer Alameda prior to this, so you can imagine how I reacted to THAT letter. A quick call to Mary assured me that Roseway was an accident and of course he was still heading to Alameda.

Olivia's letter was handled better by me. I did not melt down when I saw it and assumed that yet again, there was a miscommunication. I made the required phone call to discuss, and found myself arguing with an unknown woman about why my daughter should be at Alameda. I know I could have called Mary or Colleen Forbes to bypass this argument, but I was curious to see how this was handled by the placement department in general. So I told her the was a mistake.

"Oh no, it's not a mistake. Olivia is in the Boise Eliot CB class."
Her IEP meeting minutes clearly states she is at Alameda. It's been signed off on.
"Boise Eliot has just started a CB K-2. And Alameda is full."
Yes. With Olivia.
This was annoying me now. So I mentioned Isaac being at Alameda already.
"I am sure he will be transferred as well to Boise Eliot."
It's a K-2. He's in 3rd grade.
"Oh. I don't see him on the Alameda list."
Look again.
"found him. It's not noted that they are related."
Are there that many Sanchez-Bishops in PPS?
"Well, we have her going to Boise Eliot."
That was her argument. Her list was correct, Olivia's IEP and the fact her brother was in the same program at another school that was actually in our cluster was not. Yes, I know at this point, I should have gone over her head. But now I was irritated and itching to make my point.
So let me get his: you expect me to send my kids to the SAME program at DIFFERENT schools that just so happen to start and end at the same time. There is no way to put her brother at Boise Eliot since it is K-2 since he is a third grader. And that school is not in our cluster. And her placement has already been confirmed.
Silence on the other line. Followed by this oldie but goodie.
"Alameda already has 15 kids in it. Boise is a new program, and is not as full."
This is how we ended up at Roseway Heights. Alameda is full, Roseway has a much better ratio. Within 3 months Roseway was bursting and the ratio was crap. She was supposed to be one of the 15, put her back in Alameda.
"OK. If you are sure."
Yes, dammit.
"She's back on the list for Alameda, then."

Heart pounding, amped in that nasty mama-bear way. I hate being THAT parent, I really do. But PPS corners parents in this way. What do they expect? These last minute changes are too hard on families, not knowing who your teacher is going to be is hard on kids sensitive to transitions, we work hard on the IEPs and placements, and then 3 weeks before the school year everything goes haywire. And then they wonder why we call emergency meetings and rant away.


  1. Do you record these conversations? You could write a book. Or PPS SPED manual on what NOT to do. I hope you have a great Labor Day weekend. Cheers, Tatiana

  2. Good for you Kristin! I very much feel that being "that parent" is very important. You are being her advocate, and if you were not there to draw the line, then nobody would be looking out for Miss O. Only you know when it is necessary to get tough with them. I think you should be proud to be "that parent". -M

  3. From our experience in PPS Special Education this is not uncommon.What is important is to document your phone call and what the outcome was and send it by email to the person you spoke with,as well as your sped administrator (and cc it to others it might impact,i.e. classroom teacher).Always put in your writing,after documenting what was said that if this is not your understanding please contact us immediately .If it's not in writing it doesn't exist,unfortunately.
    As you probably know,special education is run as a "gatekeeping" system.The gate is there to limit services and the person controlling the gate is an inhouse special ed attorney that your tax dollars are paying for.That person is currently Suzy Harris.You can be sure any matter that legally might be a problem is being run by her and she will have the ultimate decision on what you are told.When families are provided certain services they have advocated for,other families are not told these services are available when they request them.The strategy is to divide parents and make it harder to get the "big picture"of what is available.
    Good luck in your new school year!

  4. My blood pressure went through the roof reading your post! I'm glad that you were "that parent." Unbelievable! Hrmph!!!!