This is going to be long,MAJOR issues at school - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 03-12-2012, 06:03 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a dd in 8th grade,and a ds in 5th.My dd is doing very well,and got into an arts charter high school for next year(out of about 180 applications they only picked 40 by lottery).The school system in my city has a HUGE deficit.Millions are owed to vendors,out of district placements,they're thinking of cutting teachers' salaries by 20% or so.There is a huge chance school will end on April 1st!!Simply because there is NO money at all.We find out Weds what is going to happen.


My ds is on the autism spectrum.He was in a self contained class.He was moved recently to the regular 5th grade.They took away so many of his supports.His special ed teacher was supposed to be available to him when he needed her,but they gave him a different teacher instead.He is so stressed out at home.He's been breaking things(so far many,many toys,a PS2,2 nintendo ds,a nintendo dsi,I will not replace any of it,he destroyed his expensive lunch bag at school),screaming,trying to hit me,telling me he hates me and wants me to die. :( Then he's crying and saying he's sorry,and he'll cling to me.Right now his tiny room is a huge mess from one of his rages,so his mattress is on the floor in my room.I haven't been feeling great so it's taking me a while to get the room clean,plus dd is moving her bedroom to our double parlor that we never use,which will give ds his room and her old room,which will be great because he'll have a place for his toys.


Anyway.He's been very hard to get going in the morning,and homework is a nightmare.He keeps saying he doesn't want to go to school,when before he would jump out of bed and practically run down the stairs to wait for his bus.One day I just could not get him to go,so I called the principal to let him know what was going on,and he said he was afraid of this,that a few kids were moved from the self contained classes to regular,and they were all having a hard time.I know he was moved due to money issues.They are laying off so many teachers.:(


Today he came home with reading,math,and spelling homework.He has never had so much before.His teacher wrote a note on his homework sheet,to see attached paper from the librarian.He's expected to write 4 long sentences,10 times each,tonight,because he supposedly wasn't doing his work in library.Last week he had to do them 5 times each,and it's still sitting in his homework folder! I am not happy about this,and I am not making him do it.I'm going into the school tomorrow to talk with the librarian and principal hopefully.He has such a hard time with his usual homework,I cannot see him writing 40 extra sentences! He said he was doing his library work today,but last week he didn't want to.


I just don't know what to do,and next year is middle school,which is the entire city! They gave him some acomodations, such as going to his locker after class starts(I cannot see him going with everyone else,he will have a major meltdown everytime), having a top corner locker,and he'll go from class to class with the same group of students,and there will be an extra teacher to handle 12 of the kids.But with the cuts that are being made,I'm afraid this is not going to happen,even though it is in his IEP. Ugg. Any advice on what I can do? Thanks so much for reading!

Student mama to one awesome,talented and unique dd,15 and one amazing, sweet and strong ds,12(born with heart defect Tetralogy of Fallot,also on the autism spectrum),9 cats,and 2 gerbils.
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#2 of 6 Old 03-12-2012, 09:28 PM
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Ouch, that sounds really terrible. Are there no other middle school options for him with self-contained classes? Because it's not longer being offered in your city, you may be in your rights to transfer to a school outside of district... maybe one in a little better shape? Have you contacted an autism support network in your area? They may have some other resources. If you know other families going through this, could you band together and advocate that this group of kids he's supposed to be with all day stay in one classroom and have the teachers rotate? Is homeschooling an option? If so, I would look into options just in case more gets cut.


I feel for you. My DD's district is a disaster and everything is being cut. We're pulling her out end of the year and if she doesn't get placement in one school she's applying for, she will virtual school. 

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 14.
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#3 of 6 Old 03-13-2012, 06:36 AM
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First, I would also post in the SN forum, where I think you'll get some sage advice.  I'm thinking Linda on the Move or Emmeline, for starters, as resources for you.


Secondly, did you say if he has an IEP?  If so, can you call an IEP meeting immediately?  His needs are not being met.  I would be completely clear that at this point, going to school, managing the school day-this may be enough for now.

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#4 of 6 Old 03-13-2012, 10:26 AM
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I am so sorry.  The situation just sounds awful for both of you.  My children do not have autism, but they have their own special needs (DD7 has severe anxiety that is improving with therapy, DD6 has sensory and speech issues, and DD5 has severe speech issues).  DD7 and DD6 attend a wonderful Montessori charter school where luckily they don't have a lot of homework, but DD7 is so severely anxious over her spelling workbook that we have modified it (which is a whole other issue because there is NO place for a spelling workbook in a Montessori school! UGGGH! I am hiding my soapbox right now...)


Basically, I went to her teacher (one of the best teachers EVER!) and he had no problem with us modifying her work because of her anxiety issues.  He even said she could take the spelling test at home with me instead of in class on Friday.  I sometimes do the test with her at home, but I still ask her to join her group and give it her best try.  I'm one of the spelling test (hate the word "test" for a 2nd grader, too!) Mom's and usually I submit the one she does with the group because she does just fine. ;)  


Anyway, with the spelling workbook, there are 4 pages that they have to complete in a week.  The last 2 pages are completely unnecessary for a 2nd grader!!!  So, we do the first 2 pages and I put a line through the last 2 with MODIFIED SPELLING over it.  I will write up note cards for her (Montessori style using red for consonants and blue for vowels) and found an online site that lets me customize word searches using her spelling words for the week (she loves doing those!) and we sometimes get out the moveable alphabet and she practices the words that way.  


Maybe this is something you could approach the teacher with?  If the teacher is unwilling to cooperate, take it to the principle.  Especially since there is an IEP in place, they really need to work with your son.  Personally, I feel that NO child should be doing homework.  My child doesn't need a 2nd job.  After school is their time to ride their bike, play outside, go to art class, gymnastics, or whatever interest they have at the time.  


Good luck...I know it's tough.  But you will get through it!!!!!!

An incredibly thankful SAH Mommy to 3 fiendishly enchanting girls 11/04,10/05, & 12/06. 
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#5 of 6 Old 03-13-2012, 11:52 AM
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Are there really no other school choices? Charter schools? Scholarships at a private school? Drive out of district?

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#6 of 6 Old 03-13-2012, 02:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Unfortunatly from the research I've done,there are no charter schools for middle school that accept kids from our district.High school will be ok,as long as dd stays in her charter school he'll be accepted automatically.I'll try the Autism Project,maybe they can point me in the right direction.


I didn't get to speak to the principal or the librarian today.My calls were not returned,I didn't get a chance to go in to the school.Dd talked to ds about library yesterday.She was shocked that they are writing paragraphs and full stories,she said she never did that when she was in 5th grade(same school).She said they would learn how the library works,select books,and talk about books they read.It's a new librarian,so I guess she changed the curriculum.


He does have an IEP,so I will call a meeting.He has a lot of homework again,math,he has to write a spelling news story with his words,and he has to write 2 long sentences 2 times each.I agree,BCFD,that kids should not have homework.Dd only gets maybe one sheet a day,and she gets that done in school.


I may just homeschool him next year,if I can find the money.I'll check craigslist and I think there is a homeschool group somewhere in RI.


Parents should not have to deal with this.School is compulsory,since that is the case children should be getting a decent education.My dad is not happy,because of the education department deficit,all homeowners in the city are getting supplemental tax bills,of about $400.On top of some of the highest taxes in the state,plus sewer,water,and trash!Half our street lights are out to save money!And now school may close early due to lack of funds?Something is wrong here!Wish we could move,but because of the property values going way down(we have a rundown vacant apartment house next door which is a fire waiting to happen,and we are extremely close to it),my dad's apartment house is worth less than what he owes.We have one of the highest dropout rates,and what did they do to fix that?Raise the compulsory age from 16 to 18! So more kids will be in truancy court than ever,where they used to be able to get their GED and go on to college or get a job.I'm just so frustrated.


Anyway,I'll post when I speak to the librarian and the principal and after the school commity meeting tomorrow night.Thanks!!

Student mama to one awesome,talented and unique dd,15 and one amazing, sweet and strong ds,12(born with heart defect Tetralogy of Fallot,also on the autism spectrum),9 cats,and 2 gerbils.
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