My children go to a wonderful public school. It's a One room school house with 2 teachers, 1 aide and about 30 kids. We made the choice to send our kids there when our oldest started school 9 years ago. I have always been very happy and felt that the teachers work very hard to work with every child and their individual needs. My ds is ADHD and they helped us work through it with him and figure out the best course of action. My two oldest have since moved on to middle school. I now have a. Kindergartener and a 3rd grader there. The problem is this year there has been an influx of new students, some who didn't do we'll at other schools and some that are new kindergartener. There are 3 or 4 of these children who are huge behavioral problems, they Are very disruptive and require about 95% of the teachers time. Very little is getting done because the teachers are having to spend so much time on these few children. So now I'm feeling like my children are missing out because these other children are requiring so much time and attention. These kids are way beyond what the school is equipped to deal with. There is no special programs, or office to send them to, they Are just in the classroom creating havoc all day. I do know that the teachers are trying to work with the parents and doing everything they can do to solve the problem. I feel like the administration needs to get involved .
So my question is does the needs and desires of the " problem" kids to be at this school out way the needs and desires of the rest of the class to learn and get attention from the teacher or should the school district move them to a school better suited to handle their special needs?
Go to the administration today. Tell her you aren't the only frustrated parent here. Ask for an action plan on the issue.
I do try to be compassionate because it could have been my kid that was the problem child BUT... if the learning and love of learning is seriously being interfered with... no one wants that.
I can see why you are frustrated. This is a valid concern, especially when it comes to small schools. DC is in a small school but it's 5x larger than your DC's school. It's hard to have the resources when you have to meet the needs of all kids who deserve a public education. Honestly, I'm surprised it's legal to not have more services for the kids in your school. Though I sure can sympathize with how difficult it would be to offer a resource teacher for a few kids in such a small school - you would be increasing the educator budget by 30%.
I would speak to the administration - this is certainly something that this school has had to think about. Are they a charter or a traditionally funded school?
I could have written your post - word for word. As I said to my DDs teacher, in discussing this exact same issue, the ones who suffer the most are the 3 kids who can not handle the normal classroom, who are frustrated and overwhelmed. However, that is for their mother and father to fight for them getting the resources they need. I have to fight for MY DD. She has a right to learn, and if 80% of the attention is going to 3 kids and the rest of the class is slowed down, then that is not acceptable. I have to care about my DD being in a poor environment and not learning anything. In my case, the school understands, but is not able to move the kids (gov't policy). So I have to take the situation into my own hands. I have talked to her teachers, emailed and talked to the principal. I can't do anymore at this level (except maybe going to the newspapers which I will not do - I am not dragging my 5yo through the mud thank you very much). So I have signed her up to 3 private schools, all with huge waiting lists. As soon as one opens, I will pull her and put her in private. A shame. I will be splitting up my DS and DD, as DS will stay in public, it fits him very well. I love her public, love the teachers, love the policies, love the location. But this class of kids is not acceptable. And I am stuck in it, until and only if a private spot opens up.
Yea, AngieB - I imagined about the why's of your DC's small school; it's just that I think that there are legal requirements for meeting kids' needs, even in a small school. Maybe go above your school's administration directly to the district. It may be that your school's administrator would appreciate you getting involved so they don't feel like they're the only ones making waves.
I think they need to assign one teacher or the aide to these four and have the other two people focus on teaching the other children. I suggest you ask why that isn't being done now. Unless these kids are true sociopaths it shouldn't take three teachers to deal with them. That teacher to child ratio is awesome and even if one teacher has to focus on the kids with harder needs to manage.
The way the school is set up would make that hard. The building is broken up into two classrooms with a small kitchen and walk way in between. The K-2 grade is on one side and the 3-5 grade is on the other. There is a teacher for each side and the aide goes back and forth, plus does the kitchen duty and cleaning. So one teacher couldn't take on just those 4 kids and the aide has other responsibilities .
I also for got to mention that we have a new teacher for the K-2 kids and she has never worked with small children before, which I think is adding to the problem.
That ratio of teachers:kids is really good. I agree with a previous poster that something could be done to have one teacher or aide focus on those kids. Most public schools would kill for that kind of ratio. It would take a little creativity, but I have no doubt they could figure it out.
Are the kids actual special needs kids with IEPs, or are they children with behavior issues who may or may not need to be evaluated? As far as the kindergarten er, California has a late cut off date, so it's a problem with the state law, not the parents. I also live somewhere with an end Dec. cutoff and I see it. Here UPK starts at 3. My kids went in between 3y 8m and 3y 2m, and I can see the difference between them and the littles who didn't even turn 3 until the fall. I see it also in kindergarten, there is everything from kids already 6 to kids who are 4.5 in one class.
In answer to your theoretical question, yes, those kids have a right to be there too unless it's a special education child and it's not an appropriate placement for the child (not for your child, for the special needs child) Is there any chance of an IEP and getting any of the kids an aide? It does stink, but that's just the way it turns out sometimes in public schools, especially small ones. You can have a class that has a lot of high needs kids, and a class that is mellow, and unless it's a big school and they can spread out the difficult kids, there isn't much you can do about it.
Three big girls (10) + (almost 9!);
One little boy (6) and a full on toddler (8/12) born with TAPVR (repaired at 6 days old).
If it's two classrooms that doesn't sound like a one room schoolhouse. I envisioned them all in one room together.
I agree that those kids need to have the aide be with them. Maybe the teachers can handle the older child if it's just one disruptive kid.
In my dd2's 3rd grade public school classroom there are about 22 kids with one teacher and one full time aide. There are several boys who are pretty disruptive. I have gone on some field trips with them and what I have seen is the teacher or the aide taking a very active role in helping some of the rowdy kids control themselves. The teacher or aide will have the disruptive child or children hold hands with her and will keep the disruptive child close w/o punishing the child. She's really just helping them to be their best selves. I guess it's sort of like when you're a mom and you have more than one child and you've got one on your hip, but you're still helping the older child. It's not ideal. In a perfect world all the kids would be on their best behavior all the time and listen thoughtfully to the teachers, but it is what it is and they seem to be coping with it pretty well. They basically keep the disruptive kids on a short leash. They let them loose every now and then and pull them back close as needed.
"All you fascists are bound to lose" — Woody Guthrie
The school, if it's a public school, is required by federal law to provide appropriate educational services for the children with special needs, regardless of the size of the school. Unfortunately, parents very often have to fight very very hard to get them.
This school was the right choice for your children 9 years ago. Is it still the right choice for your children now? If you think it is, is there a way to increase the parent volunteer hours so there can be a second adult in there to help all the kids get more attention? Has the school asked for more help from the district? Given privacy laws, they might not be able to tell you where they are in plans for these kids. These kids have a right to a small school atmosphere too, and the school has a responsibility to work with the parents and the district to get everyone the help they need.