My two boys (ten and six) started Montessori in October of this year. We really like the Montessori philosophy and decided to put them in, they gave us a call in October that they had two spots, so here we enrolled them. It's been seven weeks now and they have told us this week that they can not come back to the school because they have not yet adapted/normalized. They do their own work but do frequently ask for help 'cause it's still hard for them. Our oldest has mild autism and he is trying very hard. After he received the news he cried hard and it broke my heart. There must be a way to keep them in there, maybe give them more time to adjust, since they started in the middle of it all. I am sure they get proper instructions when starting at the beginning of the year. Maybe you guys could give me some inside and suggestions or maybe not, but I hope you guys could.
Is there an online resource I can read about? Now that you say it, I think about our meeting, and they actually convinced us that because they have not yet normalized it is hurting their education, but they did not tell us straight out of their mouth that they are kicking them out. Do you understand what I mean?
In our state that is a common tactic, but they cannot LEGALLY kick you out. The try to "counsel" you out, and bank on the fact that the parents will think that "if the school has given up on my child, this must not be the right place." Incidentally, this is why charters sometimes appear to out-perform regular public schools, PSs can't do this at all.
Charter schools also often try to discourage special needs kids from coming in, saying they don't have the resources to deal with their needs. However, they are NOT a private school, they must find the resources to work with all kids.
I would ask what they are doing specifically to help your children acclimate, and what their plan is going forward since their present plan doesn't seem to be working. Teachers and schools should have many more tricks up their sleeves than just kicking kids out.
Darn - my laptop frustrates me, I lost a LONG and heartfelt post with URL's and anecdotes. Lest I lose it again, I'll keep it brief.
I DON'T BUY IT - 7 weeks 6 and 10 yo asking for help is not justification for excluding from public, charter or even private school....
First your boys are not hurting their educations due to acclimation - there's a shared responsibility between teacher, your sons and you - ultimately, it is the teacher's job to run a smooth classroom for the whole class. They should have been in touch with you the first week if there were any concerns. Heck, my daughter's teacher even called me one afternoon when my daughter didn't each lunch (she wasn't hungry).
Ask what you can do as a parent to help support the educational goals - maybe you can work with your sons at home
Ask for specific examples of how teachers feel they have not normalized how it is harming their education and that of other students
Ask the teachers what short-term plan they have for your sons (including equivalent of IEP)
Speak with the Directess/Principal
Find out what governing board oversees this school...
Not suggesting you be a "trouble parent" - you sound very caring, but you have the right to be a strong advocate of your sons: Through yours/our taxes, your sons are being educated. Charter schools cannot just pick and choose (lost the link when I hit the backspace, but essentially, depending on your state), charters cannot "cherry pick" exactly who they want for test scores.
A few interesting links:
Don't let them chase you out of the school - be positive, strong and hopefully you can work with them on a plan to help better acclimate your sons.
I really appreciate all of your feedbacks. It really helped a lot, and we are ready to go to school tomorrow to talk to the director and principal (they were the once telling us the bad news). I made a list with things I want to adress in our meeting.
sbarr_NY: Definately we will be adressing your points. We have been working with our youngest one from week one when they had some concerns, about his reading and behaviour. He has gotten better in both aspects. Now all we have to work on is him working on his own, but still be able to ask questions when he needs help. Now I know they will tell us that the teacher has so many students and so much to check off that she wouldn't have time to always help him . I can hear it already. Beginning is always hard, but if we work together things will work out.
The links are very helpful as well, read them and took notes.
It is now my youngest ones behavior that they are picking on and still keep saying it will hurt them. I asked them why it wasn't brought up in the first meeting, about his behavior. Which was actually worked on when problems arose, and no complaints anymore for over a week. I asked her what the steps are? Notice home, talking with the child, then suspension, then expelling? Dad has mentioned to the teacher from the beginning, why not put him in a different class, teacher said that could be an option and never got back with us. Now they are saying this is not the Montessori way, to run away from problems. They said they will reconsider the oldest one but can not take back the youngest one. I told my husband why keep him there they are going to try everything to get rid of the oldest one.
Not the Montessori Way to run away from problems, but it's fine to expel a 6 yo????? I'm sure you can imagine what WTH means, but my first thought was WTF. Sorry for any offense. :)
Honestly, a 6 yo in LE has a better chance at acclimating than a 10 yo with Autism in UE. I think both deserve chance of a quality education for the betterment of their lives.
What are specific behaviors of a 6 year old that merit removing from school? Did he bring a gun? (now that one....uhhh, I'd be concerned), did he inappropriately touch someone (opportunity for redirection and reinforcing appropriate behavior), is he biting (again, redirection and family reinforcement). What is the behavior that justifies kicking a 6 yo out of Montessori.
I'm very sorry if I sound ballistic, but what the H*** can a 6 yo do that would merit expulsion from Montessori.
Let's assume he's not primary, but LE - 6 yo are not hardwired for anything yet.
Do you have any other Montessori schools in your area? I'm struggling between fight the beast for your rights to improve the environment or find the right environment.
Honestly, my thoughts and best feelings/wishes are with you.... please let me know if I can do any research to help your cause. My sister has a son with mild Aspergers and has often had to fight the system. Sorry, but I'm offended and floored at a school that claims to be Montessori would have the gall to try to remove a 6 yo without extensive parental negotiations, involvement, an IEP.
To me, that attitude does not reflect Montessori....
He did at one point chase a girl in in class (she stated 'he wanted to kiss her), I don't know how much was done in school (as much as removing from the situation etc.), we got the behavorial mod. letter. Had an extensive talk with him at home, signed it and returned it. Every day I make sure and tell him, that we do not chase anybody if they do not like it (only for play), he has told me he hasn't done anything. We hadn't gotten any complaints. She called it sexual harrasement today, and they can not tolerate that. Now I went through their .pdf handbook and none of those steps mentioned in the book had been followed, in correcting this problem. Phone calls, emails etc.. with the parents.
I even told John why do we keep fighting if it seems like this is not a true Montessori School. This is our only M. School in town, the others are day cares.
Our oldest one has mild Aspergers as well. Maybe you could connect me with your sister. I was ticked when they kept mentioning that it will only 'hurt' him if he stays. I was like no it will not it will only benefit, seeing others work on their own, he's always had that problem, so being exposed to it can only benefit him. I said I will do anything we can do to make him succeed. They never send anything home, that is why I assumed he was doing good . My e.mail address: email@example.com
They tried every excuse, even when I could not return the beh. mod. letter on time (3 days late). I told her, look lady I work night shift 12 hrs (ICU) a day, there are days where I am drained and I did verbalize to the tacher though on the next day that I have talked to them.
I could not stand her little baby talk, and her repeating it will hurt every single time. Bull**** will it! John even started to say he will go a step highter (news, etc).
I agree, it feels like you are stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Do you fight for this and incur the animosity of the school and make it harder for your kids or do you just move on and switch schools?
Thing is, I do not think that what they are doing is legal. If you do decide to switch schools that will be willing to work with the challenges that your kids have (and FWIW, from what you mentioned of your 6yo son's behavior, nothing seems to jump out at me as a red flag), please at least let the school board and the district know. Charter schools cannot cherry pick who they think will adapt the best to their system. They are legally prohibited from ANY FORM OF DISCRIMINATION.
Our school has put up with a lot worse behavoir and it is a private school. I can understand wanting to fight,but at the same time I would not want my kids under the care of people who did not have their best intrests in mind.They will not help your children. They will constantly look for reasons to have them removed. That is not a way I would want my kids spending their days Montessori or not.
I would move on with the kids,BUT post a detailed review of your experiences with this school,so others will know what to expect for their own children.
Sorry, no real advice - just wanted to say that I was really shocked to read your story and am so sorry that you and your family have been put in this position.
I can't understand at all how any school could tell you your sons weren't welcome back after only *seven* weeks, based on the information you have given. Especially when you as parents have shown a such a strong willingness to work with the school...
I really, really hope that your sons end up with the quality of education they deserve.
We found out that the director is not even AMS certified or AMI. All other teachers are. We had so far 2 assistants come up to us, complaining about the director, and how they have already lost 3 students alone this year. The assistants are the ones working with my youngest one. They told us that the actual teacher is not doing anything, only wants to catch children doing things wrong so she can write them up. The assistants praised him, he is smart and what the director is saying is BS. They were not even invited to the meeting, when decided they can not stay. They now demand to be present, and a third assistant will come and talk to us hopefully today. They can not believe that this is happening. They describe our youngest one as a smart and a fast learner.
So happy to hear that the assistants are sticking up for your family - and that they're committed to working with your sons and making sure they feel welcome at the school.
Sounds like great news. Hoping things continue to look up for you all.
Glad to hear there is some support - silly the thought of 6 yo boy trying to kiss a girl as sexual harassment - that sounds more like he was "bugging her" (not sure if that term is still used - we always said that as kids - Mom, XX is bugging me (meaning annoying)). I understand zero tolerance, but at some point, common sense should prevail. Had that been my daughter, first say no, second tell teacher, third punch the boy in the stomach...either he will stop trying to kiss her or will be in love with her for at least the next week until some other cutie catches his eye. Personally, as mother of a daughter, I think girls have responsibility in these situations also to stand up for themselves, tell the teacher or punch the kissing bandit. I'm using that last term as a term of endearment - when Lindsey was a baby, there was a 2 yo that kissed her all day long and I called him the Kissing Bandit. To this day,, she still calls him her "honey" and was invited to his birthday party.
Joking aside - I hope the aides can help - yeah and kudos for Matt, doing everything AND reporting back on it.
A few amusing articles:
Now for the zinger:
Just sending these to you to give you a small laugh and sense of perspective....
Matt and Eli, the kissing bandit seem well loved - and if handled correctly, teacher reinforcement, peer pressure on kissing or a firm no should do the trick!
I hope there is no offense of making light of the overall situation - in reality, for my daughter "say no, tell teacher, punch boy, escalate".
@ Sandra: Thanks for the humor, me and John had a great laugh. I did read on that article as well about the six year old and the 7 year old the other day and there was a recent one this last month.
It took us awhile to get another meeting with the director. We just showed up after dropping of the children. We waited 1 1/2 hours (I understand she is busy - no big deal on the waiting) for a 3 minute talk (WTH - and she walked away from us), not even in privat. When I emailed her about the inproper steps taken by her she shows me a letter today stating that she basically has the right to send anybody back to their old school and this is what she is sticking with. I don't get it, yeah she might be able to do this but what about following the guidelines first. We told her this is not the Montessori way, isn't it in the best interest of the child to work with him / them - since it was not soley his fault (now she is bringing up the other problems not just the girl thing). Told her that we will go a step higher and she said 'fine, go ahead'. We contacted AMS and they take every complained very seriously, so we wrote EVERYTHING down, as they want it all in written.
We were not listened to from the beginning when we requested the room change. This all would have not happened. This chick is looking for so many little things to write down, and as the assistant said he doesn't do what everyone else in the classroom does. They all mess around and get of task, but for some reason Elijah needs to be as quite as can be. There is a child that gets in time out every day, but no letter home. WHY! Because they are friends with the director.
Hopefully AMS will get back with us quick.
I googled her name and some crazy stuff came up, a lawsuit from a previous school she was at. I am also trying to find somebody that knows about this problem.
How can somebody work at a Montessori School and the shool is a member of AMS but she is not AMS certified and be the director? Beats me! I don't even know if that is possible!?
What a day! We wrote a letter to the MAST (Montessori Association of South Texas) president and we are hoping this can get resolved. Actually we had to find her, since the school wasn't able to give us her contact info, and we drop of a hard copy of our complained at her office. We did not talk to her, as it states in the handbook that we can not talk to them directly. But the director called us and told us that as well, she was nice, witch - two face, she wanted us to give her the letter so she can drop it of. I did not trust her already, why would I want to give her the letter :\. We also conacted TEA (Texas Education Association), we will be talking to somebody that specializes in this matter on Monday. The director has only been there this school year, wonder with the kind of background she has why they chose her, and not AMS certification. Elijah's teacher is known to write up minor things she is noticing about the children, also does not like to teach 1st graders. All the assitants are doing it for her. His teacher didn't even know he can read, the assistant said 'YES, he can'. Sad to hear that she does not care about the little ones at all. Also we found out that changing classrooms are possible and was done before. The 3 children that had to leave this school year alone were actually in Elijah classroom and all 1st graders. I am trying to meet with the parents, if I can find their contact infos.
I have been in contact with TEA almost every day. They had told me to get a copy of her stating that she is allowed to send anybody back to their former school, which according to TEA they are not allowed to do as a public charter school. Nor are they allowed to kick/counsel anybody body, except the parent. I ask the director for all those papers and more and 3 hours later I get a call she wants to meet with me. Now, my husband was not invited. Went myself, and I even told them that I don't do things without my husband. Yes, I admit I still have a hard time adjusting to the US (originally from Europe). Meeting was an hour, they are now reconsidering Eli as well AND different classroom. Well, the principle saidyes and director said maybe, it just went back and worth and finally at the end they said yes and I needed to talk to my husband first. He won't be able to take the children inside, only drop off from the car and pick up in the car. He does not agree which I don't blame him for. I even told them the sexual harassment statement really hurt, and the director told me that I am focusing to much on that. I was like 'damn it', you saying this really hurts us. I was able to talk to another parent, whos child wasted 2 years in that school, because teachers would always say 'he is so good'. One day he forgot lunch and Mom saw him sitting their with his folder in his lap. All of a sudden they say he has some sort of disability. So he got resource, but all he did was play games. She said they let him play 'Angry Bird' on an iPhone. Excuse me, not even in our house those games are being played. She got mad and asked them why they have never said anything about this, she would always ask the teacher, is their anything she can do at home with him. They said no he is fine. Bulls***, an assistant worked with him and all of a sudden he did well, from doing 1 piece to doing now 7 pieces. He is attending a privat Montessori School which is small and was opened by the assistant because she did not agree with them at the other school. She had told me about many other parents that pulled out their children because of similar reasons. So, we are probably back to homeschooling again. We still want TEA to investigate this school, because this can not keep happening. I want parents that really want to seek a Montessori environment, to be given a chance.
Good for you for pushing for an investigation.It is never easy to stand up for your beliefs and rock the proverbial boat.
Parents who want a Montessori education deserve it,and the kids deserve a decent education regardless of the methods used.
Have you involved an advocacy agency for kids with special needs? I would think there might be a double play for you here; both the angle that they are a public school and can't just expel kids, and also if your kids have disabilities, IDEA rules also apply (which they also have to comply with as a public school) to expulsion. Discrimination laws apply whether kids are on an IEP or not, as long as a disability is documented.
PEP is a great resource for advocacy, provides free resources and counseling. I have had PEP advocates at IEPs (as a teacher) and I always found them to be very professional and knowledgeable, and strong advocates for the child.
I'm curious why you want your children to stay at this school? It's run by a principal who isn't certified in Montessori, and your younger child's teacher sounds horrible. Those are the problems you know about. I would take my children out of there immediately. But I would continue my complaints in the district and the state.