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Retention? Do I have a choice?

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
My daughter may need to repeat 4th grade. Her teacher says we have no choice if she needs to be retained. Is this correct? I'm not finding what the laws are pertaining to this, specifically, Florida.

It's a very long story with her, but she already was held back once in Kindergarten. She has an IEP for speech & language issues, but I know there is more to it than that. The schools keep saying she doesn't qualify for learning disabled. My next step is get an outside psycho educational evaluation done, because I'm so done with dealing with these schools.

So is this teacher right?

I don't believe that holding her back is the answer. She's not keeping up with the class, never has, & it won't get better until I find out why she is struggling so much.

Thanks for any help guys!!
post #2 of 48
I would check this

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)


10 Strategies to Fight Mandatory Retention & Other Damaging ...

Quote:
Tip: To find out what the statute says about mandatory retention, go to http://www.flsenate.gov/
Click the "Search the Statute" button and type "mandatory retention" in the search box. "Mandatory retention is covered in Section 1008.25 about "Public school student progression; remedial instruction; reporting requirements. (This information is attached at the end of this article)
I would definitely get her evaluated yourself ASAP. We are doing this now for different issues.
post #3 of 48
here they can recommend but they cannot retain without parental permission.
post #4 of 48
here they can also recommend but you have to agree. I also agree with you since she has already been retained and has an IEP there is something bigger going on. If they just continue to retain without getting to the reasons why she may wind up being a 20 you 4th grader. I would ask for an eval in writing.
post #5 of 48
I have always *heard* that you have to consent to grade retention.
That said, part of NCLB is supposed to be testing and not allowing children to advance if they do not pass, so I don't know where that comes in.

That said, she, IMO, obviously needs to be evaluated. Retaining her doesn't sound like a solution, but neither does advancing her without the propper support already in place.

I would encourage you to post this in Special Needs because the moms there have such GREAT advice about getting the school district to work with you.

Good luck!
post #6 of 48
What area's need retention? Have you been working with her at home? Does she recieve tutoring or extra help at school? Is there an option for summer school, again with extra tutoring - either at this school or home, Kumon, Sylvan, private tutors etc to bring her up to grade level.

It could be this schools approach to teaching and your DD's way of learning dont mesh. Is it possible to try a new school next year?

Something needs to change for your DD. If she does not already have support services in place I would work on getting her some, especially for the summer break.
post #7 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmeline II View Post
10 Strategies to Fight Mandatory Retention & Other Damaging ...
I would definitely get her evaluated yourself ASAP. We are doing this now for different issues.
This is an excellent link. I really like this quote:

If the child target for retention has an IEP, the parents should have a serious discussion with members of their child's IEP team.

"If my child's IEP was appropriate, why did it not prepare my child for what the school requires my child to know?"

"We need to amend the IEP to add the specialized instruction that is necessary for my child to participate in the general curriculum with her peers. She needs 1-1 tutoring with a research-based reading method this summer. We need to add 1:1 tutoring in a research-based reading method to her IEP for the next school year.

It is possible to hire an educational advocate to help you fight the school, but I'm not sure how to find one where you live.
post #8 of 48
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone. We just moved to Florida last August, so the special education system is a bit different. Here, they have what's called a "RTI" Response to intervention. I spoke with her teacher & the school psychologist in the beginning of the year about my concerns, & was told that the teacher has to recommend RTI, which she put in place immediately. In a nut shell, if the extra help she gets in class does not help, they move her to the evaluation stage of the RTI. Well, RTI's take a long time, but that's Florida law. It kinda replaces 504 plans, from what I've been told. So, it took all year for them to see what I've already told them. And there was nothing I could do....or the teacher, they have to follow the RTI.

I got a conference notification yesterday for a conference tomorrow about this. Along with a consent form for her to be evaluated for academic issues (This will be her third one). So, this got thrown on my lap at the last minute.

My brain is just about fried when it comes to special education. I've battled the schools for years with my oldest, who got diagnosed with aspergers. Also, my third youngest who just started kindergarten now has an IEP for speech.

Anyway, I just wanted to know what my rights are as a parent. Of course, from the little bit I read, it sounds like another circus fighting the school board. The mandatory retention isn't a black & white issue, so it's up to interpretation, & if I happen to get whoever on the school board against the idea of retention, then it will be easy, otherwise it could be a huge battle. If it comes to that, & they insist she be retained, I'll be homeschooling her instead. Until she is caught up to grade level & has a proper evaluation done. Who knows, maybe this school evaluation will actually get us somewhere, but I'm doubtful.

Sorry if I'm not explaining it well. I'm am so exhausted dealing with this.

Again, thanks ladies!
post #9 of 48
A second retention would be a really big deal, and not something I would consider as a parent without a very careful consideration of not only the academic issues, but the social/emotional. I don't believe that current research bears out positive, lasting effects of retention-at least not without a major shake up the academic situation.

Has your child had a complete neuro-psych eval, outside of the school system? It seems that whatever academic support she's receiving now is not adequate, and that the whole picture of her as a learner is unclear. I would be very hesitant to agree to retention without a lot more information. You've just had a move, which can impact school functioning as well. for some kids.

I would want to know specifically if she could be tutored over the summer to try and make more gains. I would wonder about an IEP that would allow for specialized classes and mainstreaming into a reg., grade level classroom for other subjects. I'd want to be all over testing for LD's. I'm just throwing some ideas out here-sorry if they're not helpful. It just sounds like the school is recommending something quite severe without really knowing what's going on.
post #10 of 48
Thread Starter 
I'm still trying to locate a psychologist that will do a comprehensive evaluation that is covered by our insurance. Otherwise, it is very expensive. Or find someone that offers some kind of payment plan. Being new to the area is making it rather difficult.

I'm afraid her teacher is going to say her hands are tied, it's up to the school board. This school hasn't even done an evaluation, they are just going off of her third grade results, which screams red flags to me. Poor working memory, poor processing, etc, etc,. Yet, she still wasn't eligible for services.

Just like with my son. I knew something was going on besides his speech & language issues, but the school didn't find him eligible for services. This was in Michigan, & I made an appointment for an outside evaluation that was covered (mostly) by insurance. He was diagnosed with aspergers with other learning disabilities. Once I had that evaluation report, the school finally started getting him the services he needed.

Anyway, a thorough evaluation needs to be done. I don't know why teachers never recommend this, or suggest local resources. Her teacher is also certified in special education. All these years of dealing with schools & special education, & I've come to the conclusion they just don't care enough to give even a helpful hint on what direction I should go.

The little bit of reading I've done so far on retention says it does not improve outcomes & actually can make things much worse. I doubt the school board agrees, otherwise they wouldn't jump to this conclusion, when her problems haven't even been accurately identified yet.
post #11 of 48
I am a speech pathologist in Texas. Big hugs to you, mama. I've seen a lot of families struggle with this and being "speech only" but everyone knows its more than that.

first of all, RTI is a federal thing now. so its not just Florida. It does take a long time, but it is a MUCH better system than before when kids qualified as LD based on discrepancy between IQ and achievement scores. The old system seemed IMO to often identify those children who had issues at home, behavior problems, etc. that caused gaps in learning. If you had a lower IQ, it was almost impossible to do poorly enough on the achievement tests to show the required 16 point spread. RTI looks at how a child does when given research based interventions. If they fail to make expected progress, then you can reliably say it is not just a gap in instruction. Its a good system, but it takes time to gather that data. Where I work (in a highly mobile low income situation), it is almost impossible for us because the kids move before the data has been fully collected. argh.

Why is your daughter supposedly having to be retained? Classroom grades? Standardized test? Will she attend summer school?

In our district, we have to have an ARD meeting (might be called IEP meeting in Florida) on all children who are in special education (which includes speech students). The ARD/IEP committee is considered the grade placement committee. It is strictly up to that committee to decide. I believe this is federal law (that the ARD/IEP committee is the grade placement committee).

Therefore, for the reasons you've stated, the committee can agree its in your DD's best interest to be promoted to 5th grade.

I do not know about Florida, but in Texas 5th grade is a special year. If they do not pass the standardized test in both Math and Reading, its automatic retention Again, the IEP/ARD can override that (and should in most cases) during the ARD.

What it comes down to is that more than a few retentions ends up being a problem later (when you have a 14 yr old in 6th grade). Then they do whats called a "bump up" and place the child up a grade. If that is done, a child can NEVER qualify as Learning Disabled EVER (because they've essentially missed a year of instruction. its ridiculous).

When was the last time your DD was tested for a learning disability? Was it under the old rules (16 point discrepancy) or with the RTI data? If it was the first way, I'd really try for that evaluation now. She might qualify under the new regulations. It sounds like they are collecting RtI data now on her. Is this true? How is she doing so far? What kind of RtI are they doing?

My guess is that the administrators are as confused on this as everyone else is. It seems to change from year to year.

The bottom line is that the ARD/IEP committee is in charge. The law says that a child in special education needs accomodations and support so they can be successful. If any of my students are failing or struggling, I am supposed to have an ARD/IEP to discuss what we are doing to address that. If they need more accommodations, we should be providing it. Special Education should be a safety net for these kids. The difficult part is that I need to also be sure I can relate my accommodations back to the diagnosed disability. In a lot of cases, "speech only" doesn't give you enough to put in major curriculum changes or modify curriculum.

I would see where you are in getting another LD eval. And I would ask the ARD/IEP committee to consider her grade placement in 5th grade based on progress she has made this year, what would be in her best interest with her self esteem/confidence, etc.

Before you do that though, make sure you tell the ARD/IEP members ahead of time what you want. Even involve a higher up (special education coordinator, program director). You might be surprised to find out the school is actually wrong and the program director will set them straight. Tell them you'd like the name of the director and a phone number to reach him/her. In a polite way of course. I'd just say "As her mom, this issue is very important to me. I want to speak to a special education program director that is more familiar with special education law than either you or me and see if there are any other options we haven't explored." If you get into the ARD and then bring it up, they won't know what to do (if its against their standard rules) and it will probably not go somewhere. I'd spend a few hours on wrightslaw.com and get some good documentation about ARD/IEP committees making grade placement decisions and about retention of students in special education.

I am in favor of your daughter being promoted to 5th given the info I have in your OP.

If I can be of any help, please let me know. I'm happy to even chat by phone. I might confuse you (but believe me we are ALL confused on this crummy issue).

XOXO
B
post #12 of 48
also have you posted this on the Special Needs forum? those ladies know A LOT about ARD/IEP meetings!

XOXO
B
post #13 of 48
As a mamma with a SN kid, I'd start with requesting an eval from the district in writing. I am not sure how that works over the summer months you might have to go in to appointments and what not but I would get the process started ASAP. Maybe by the time school starts up again, the results will be in and an IEP will be in place that will move her right on up to grade level. My DD has an Intellectual Disability, and going into 3rd grade next year still works on a K level..Before they did the evals they did RTI and Tier 3 Interventions. Believe it or not these helped the process along because there was hard evidence that there were problems and I wasnt just being a basket case saying my kid had issues.
post #14 of 48
A neighbor of our's had an issue with the school wanting to retain thier DD when they thougt it was inappropriate. They avoided it by simply transferring her to a different public elementary school in town.
post #15 of 48
i'm in florida and i have heard that here they have to have the parent's permision to retain a child. they've been wanting to retain my neighbor's dd (who's now in 4th) for the past several years and she's always fought it.

i'm in a different part of the state than you but i'm fighting with the school district as well about evaluations. imo they like to send you in circles and i can't seem to get any help for my dd. i also just learned they only offer summer school to 3rd graders who don't pass the reading portion of the FCAT.
post #16 of 48
Thread Starter 
BethSLP,

You have no idea how much I appreciate your cyber hug & caring post. Thank you so much. I plan on PM'ing you later!

Well, the conference went as suspected. It is a mandatory retention, because she is below grade level in reading & math. I have the contact number for the special educational director that deals with retention & promotions, so I'll be calling her tomorrow & see if I can fight this.

Her teacher was very helpful & is giving me a name of an outside evaluator.

She currently is in tier three of the RTI. They will be screening her very soon to see if she is eligible for services. They won't just use the 16 point system, which is wonderful news!

Overall, I was pretty impressed that her teacher mentioned her processing skills are a red flag. This was the first time she brought it up. Her Phonetic awareness is also a huge problem, leading to comprehension issues.

So hopefully, this screening will show something that will get her eligible for more services. If not, at least I got a name to call for an outside evaluation.

I wish they needed parent's permission for a retention, but, not under Florida law. There is the possibility that her teacher is misinformed, but they are being told what to do here. I have to go further up the educational ladder to fight this. I pray that the director I speak to tomorrow will be helpful.

I just don't understand why such a retention law is in place. The research is out there. Are the higher-ups blind to it or what?
post #17 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackie75 View Post
I just don't understand why such a retention law is in place. The research is out there. Are the higher-ups blind to it or what?
It's a political thing. Politicians like it because it makes it look like they take education seriously and will *force* the schools to preform better.
post #18 of 48
Thread Starter 
To make things even more confusing, I was reading today our county school's placement procedures.

The policy states that "All decisions for cases involving Exceptional Student Education are the responsibility of the School Placement Committee with the student's IEP team."

It also says if a parent disagrees with the committee, their is a procedure to go through with a referral form, blah, blah, blah.

So, either her teacher was lying or straight up ignorant about whom to fight about this retention.

The principle is supposed to be calling me back soon. I want to know who is this "School Placement Committee", & I'm telling her I don't want this for my DD.
post #19 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackie75 View Post
To make things even more confusing, I was reading today our county school's placement procedures.

The policy states that "All decisions for cases involving Exceptional Student Education are the responsibility of the School Placement Committee with the student's IEP team."

It also says if a parent disagrees with the committee, their is a procedure to go through with a referral form, blah, blah, blah.

So, either her teacher was lying or straight up ignorant about whom to fight about this retention.

The principle is supposed to be calling me back soon. I want to know who is this "School Placement Committee", & I'm telling her I don't want this for my DD.
Aren't you supposed to be on the IEP team? It is my understanding that parents are supposed to be brought in when the IEP team meets to make decisions about the child. Children are sometimes also involved in it depending on their age.
post #20 of 48
Thread Starter 
I just spoke to the principle. I told her that DD's teacher said there was no one I can speak to to fight about this, & I asked her who is the committee?

She said the teacher was wrong. The principle is the "committee" along with the teacher & an ESE teacher.

So, I scheduled an appointment with the principle next week to discuss this. I told her I do not want her retained.


Quote:
Aren't you supposed to be on the IEP team? It is my understanding that parents are supposed to be brought in when the IEP team meets to make decisions about the child. Children are sometimes also involved in it depending on their age.
Good question. In my experience, schools don't follow the law anyway. I'm researching area advocates right now. It's very easy to get screwed by the system.
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