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Posts Tagged ‘special education’

Why We Finally Chose A Contained Classroom Setting

September 12, 2013 4 comments

james 6th gradeRead my latest piece on the Child Mind Institute, about inclusive vs. contained classroom settings and our experience in both.

Monday Minute: It’s Summer Vacation Eve – Taking A Moment To Reflect

June 26, 2013 1 comment

james 6th gradeTomorrow is the last day of sixth grade. What the whaaaaaaaat? As I put together teacher gifts (all 15 of them) this evening, I added this photo to some of the bags – it was taken on James’s first day of school. Looking at the photo brought back so many memories from the past year. Sooooooooo many. As you can see from the boxes, we had just moved to our new house in Brooklyn – this was back when we were still excited to be homeowners (472 projects ago). This was pre-Ian, pre-Superstorm Sandy, and before Ian needed emergency surgery. This was pre-roof leaking, pre-appliances breaking, hot water heater malfunctioning, roof #2 leaking, deck collapsing, #$%@ roof leaking. We had not yet experienced the chronic sickness that violently swept through our household all Fall, which was apparently only a precursor to the hurricane of intense allergies, tantrums, and anxiety in the Spring. And let’s not forget the yearlong sh@tstorm. Literally.

But now Summer is here and sixth grade is over. And you know what’s missing from this incredibly eventful year? A good ole fashioned school crisis. Not one. You might be thinking, well, what about that school bus strike? Yeah, that sucked, but became totally doable thanks to the amazing effort and communication skills of school administration. What about all that change in the beginning of the year – new house, new school, new sibling? I think James’s homeroom teacher knew I was in labor before some of my friends did. Thanks to regular phone calls we were all on top of managing James’s adjustment period(s). What about poop accidents, tantrum-y mornings, field trips, June? Look, I’m not pretending that James was a walk in the park all year, but this school rocked it.

This was an especially crazy year, even for our family, full of surprises large and small. And one of the bigger ones was this being the first year EVER that did not involve a meeting (or ten) over bullying, or inappropriate IEP goals, or too much homework, or anxiety issues, or a long, long list of phobias affecting James’s school day. This was the first year I experienced entire months without worry over sending James to school, and the first year that James did not come home in tears one single time.

So thank you, thank you interested and enthusiastic teachers, available and optimistic administrators, and friendly pop music playing, ice-cream wielding bus drivers who brought your A-game to my son all year. I am incredibly grateful to have made it in one piece to summer vacation, but not half as grateful as I am to have two more years left at this school.

Happy Summer Vacation Eve!

Monday Minute: Twins Day

November 20, 2012 1 comment

In the midst of what has become an intense, somewhat overwhelming Fall, James’s new school has remained the (almost blinding) silver lining. Yet when James’s para called me a few days ago, I still braced myself. “Is everything okay?” I immediately asked. “Yes, I’m actually calling to see if I can coordinate a matching outfit for James and I – it’s twins day this Monday,” she replied.

Based on how this school year has gone so far, I should’ve known it wasn’t an emergency, but after years of exactly the opposite I’ve apparently become suspicious, cynical and otherwise pessimistic every time the phone rings and school pops up on the caller ID.

The note for spirit week had come home and if I’m being 100% honest, was mainly ignored. Hat day? Twins day? What best friend would James dress up with, let alone coordinate a matching outfit? And he hates wearing hats. Favorite team day? Do the Jedis count?

What I didn’t expect was for James to excitedly talk about dressing up like a twin with his para all weekend. He even agreed to wearing long sleeves without complaint Monday morning, nothing short of a miracle in itself. The next time I saw a school-related number on my phone later that day, I still flinched but it was for nothing. This is what was in the text:

I personally think my choice of matching shirts is amazingly appropriate considering the effect this school has had on James so far. This morning he left for school wearing his “favorite cap” for hat day. I wonder what favorite sports team he is going to come up with tomorrow, because I’m suddenly sure there will be one.