accommodations

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by 2ndTimeAround, Feb 1, 2015.

  1. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    New classes, but no accommodations sheets yet on the students because we're still in the drop/add phase. Which means some caseworkers and parents have started approaching teachers to share the necessary information now. Unfortunately, both sets of people will lie and exaggerate, hoping the teachers will bow down to their demands without actually looking at paperwork.

    These are the ones I'm calling BS on, and really hope that no one was stupid enough to include in a high school accommodations list:

    Not required to take any tests/quizzes (general ed classroom)

    Upload all homework assignments to website daily (I don't generally give homework. But when I do it is usually classwork that students did not finish.)

    Separate setting for all quizzes and tests. While not crazy, I think it is very bad practice to have separate setting for all quizzes. Most of my quizzes take students 3-4 minutes to complete. After which we move on quickly to a new activity. A student taking the quiz separately could miss 15-20 minutes. Most parents/caseworkers get this and want their kids in the class for quizzes. I have two that are insisting quizzes are done elsewhere.

    Check for understanding for every.single.vocabulary.term.and.concept. But privately because the student will not respond in class. BEFORE we move onto a new concept. I have this with four students in one class. So theoretically I must introduce a term, teach it to the class, have the majority sit and wait while I quietly go over to each of the four students and quiz them independently about the term. And of course they cannot sit next to each other.

    Which brings me to - preferential seating. In my district that term means the teacher actually has assigned seating for the child, where he/she will be most productive. I have two students, in one class, that must have the first seat closest to the door. ???? About 8 in one class that must be up front and away from other students that are distractions. Yet they are ALL distractions themselves.

    One kid that has failed the class a couple of times is now allowed to use her books/notes (notes that I must type out for her and give her because she doesn't like to take notes herself) on any test/quiz so she'll have a better chance at passing this time.

    And here's the kicker - one parent that says I must call her every night her son receives a homework assignment and gets a grade back. I am not to leave a voicemail.
     
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  3. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I would start asking the SPED teachers for the actual paperwork pronto! Some of those are extremely ridiculous.
     
  4. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Agreed. I would approach one of the SpEd teachers with this list and ask for confirmation or denial until the official accommodations are available.
     
  5. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    I have nothing to add of value - but I always wonder what the parents expectations are for a child post- high school who must be furnished with a set of notes because he/she doesn't like to take them? This is a serious rather than a rhetorical question btw.

    For the most part, parents of students at my high school are apathetic/uninvolved. I always wish for concerned parents. Until I read things like the above about parents demanding personal phone calls. What is the old saying about being careful about what you wish for?:)

    One of the things I do enjoy about this site is reading and hearing about all the unique challenges that all of us face. It helps me keep perspective on things above all else.
     
  6. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Sometimes kids are given notes because taking them detracts from learning. A child who can't summarize ideas quickly can't take notes that are worth the time or get the right information down. A child with processing problems may not have the capacity to listen and write. A child with near illegible writing or a language processing disability won't be able to take notes the way a non-disabled child can. Of course, many times they are forced to do so and if motivated pay the price later in the amount they must work to make up for the fact they couldn't have notes provided to them.

    What options are out there for people that aren't good at academic learning and the skills it demands? Lots of jobs don't require the same skills as academic learning requires and don't require the same type of "note-taking" that education demands. For a lot of kids with disabilities, the process of education kills them more than the content and knowledge. Often in the workplace there are ways to get around note-taking that schools don't like to allow because it causes more work for the teacher or the favorite of all time phrase, it isn't fair to the other students and the other kids will want the same.
     
  7. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I'm a special education teacher in an inclusion class and I think these accommodations are ridiculous. If these students are high enough functioning to be in a general education classroom they don't need this kind of hand holding. Yes I made certain accommodation for my special education students, but I'm also constantly pushing them to do the work in the same way as their general education peers. And guess what, most of the time they can, maybe it takes a little longer, maybe they do a little less work, but they can do it. I believe because of this they won't need these kind of ridiculous accommodations in high school that will only stigmatize them and promote dependence. After having my class for 2 years 3 of my students will be declassified from special education services.
     
  8. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Most of these seem like they'd be relatively reasonable accommodations in a team-taught class, or a class with an IA, but I don't think any (other than the preferential seating and uploading homework) are particularly reasonable for a class with one teacher and no IA.

    The vocabulary one in particular seems like exactly the sort of thing that a SPED teacher would be doing in a team-taught class. But expecting a general ed teacher to stop instruction to do that isn't at all reasonable.

    As far as the notes one goes... truthfully, if the student is that low, then giving them notes won't really help them. Being able to use notes and a textbook effectively is a skill all on its own (and in some ways, it's probably a more important skill than just remembering everything), but having notes won't do any good without at least some understanding of the material.
     
  9. 2ndTimeAround

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    I think it helps when the general ed teacher knows WHY a student has certain accommodations.

    Can't take notes in class? Why? Is it because you cannot focus on what the teacher says as you are writing? Ok, well in my class I don't talk while students write. I put up a phrase that I want students to copy and wait. THEN I start explaining. Writing down information in that manner would help you far more than getting a copy of my powerpoint slides. Can't write legibly? Is using a laptop possible? AS YOU WORK ON YOUR HANDWRITING? Don't just say - "oh, I can't" and leave it at that - try to overcome your deficiencies. BTW, I've only had one student that could not write legibly when he tried. He had very little use of his fingers. All of my other students could, if they took their time, but it wasn't ever required, so they didn't develop the skill. Of course, "legibly" can be relative. I'm pretty easy-going in that regard.


    Need to sit up front? Why? Is your vision poor? We need to address that if it that's the case. We'll set you up with the social worker and get your medical needs taken care of. Because you get distracted while you work? Well, let's put you closer to my desk then. Where I sit and observe students as I grade and they work independently. Because other students distract you? Let's put you in this corner instead, where the better behaving students sit.

    Blanket accommodations, which in my experience are often handed out like candy, do not help teachers. Let us know WHY, so we can help students better!
     
  10. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Are the accommodations written on the IEP? I can't believe it still takes that long for teachers to see them or get their hands on them. All of ours are on a computer database so you can have immediate access to all of your students' IEPs no matter what teacher you are- special ed, counselor, general ed, speech, etc.
     
  11. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Our district was in deep doo doo for not getting IEPs and accommodations to teachers by day 1. Interims were handed out before teachers were receiving IEPs and accommodation pages. Needless to say, the state stopped that and made a ton of work for the special education teachers (and right it should because they proved they couldn't be trusted to follow the law). It is a law that is crystal clear without any room for interpretation - even though my district thought it could be interpreted to whenever they got around to it.
     
  12. LouiseB

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    I have teachers who do not attend IEP meetings. Not a good thing! That means they have no idea what was discussed.

    As a sped teacher I would be more than willing to meet with a teacher who had questions about accommodations. The group I work with now know what I mean by the accommodations I choose.

    My recommendation is to read through the accommodations and ask the case manager about the ones you question. I know in some schools the person writing them is not the person who is responsible for the student!

    I teach junior high and I've had teacher choose all accommodations listed on our system. That was an impossible situation!
     
  13. LisaLisa

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    I've had experience with accommodations on both sides of the fence. Unfortunately it's not about the teacher, but rather what the student needs. I'm sorry you have some extreme accommodations.

    The resource teacher might have a large caseload and is sending out the accommodations pages to all teachers a child has. That might be five or six teachers times twenty-five students on the caseload. I got better as time went on with sending out those pages when I taught older students. If you are the gen ed teacher, the responsibility falls on the special ed teacher to provide you with those pages. Then it falls on that individual and the district to make sure they are followed. I had many a teacher not follow through. I kicked the situation up to the district when I didn't get cooperation.

    I only had the separate testing experience once, typically it was extended time, or given the questions orally. Who is supervising the student when they taking the test separately?

    Some of the accommodations actually might be interpreted as modifications. That's how I see it. Are the kids earning diplomas? The purpose of the accommodation is to level the playing field.

    I'd look at how the accommodations are written and specify when, and where they are to be implemented.
     
  14. GTB4GT

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    let me clarify so there is no misunderstanding. I 100% absolutely agree with accommodations based on need. I have several students who can and do receive them (and rightfully so).

    However, if you read the OP, the note accommodation was requested BECAUSE the student DID NOT LIKE to take them Apples and oranges (imo). One is needs-based, the other appears to be preference based (if I read the OP correctly).
     
  15. bros

    bros Phenom

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    By the time they are in HS, their handwriting is most likely not going to get any more legible - as the point for any OT remediation has long passed.

    Preferential seating is an important accommodation and you do not need to ask every single student why - The student could wear glasses and still have trouble seeing things - which can happen. Glasses don't automatically give everyone 20/20 vision.

    Preferential seating can also be useful for students with ADHD, as sitting near the front of the classroom can help minimize visual distractions.

    Moving a students desk (i.e. separating them from the rest of the class) would not be okay for the accommodation of preferential seating, even if that is what you think would be fine.

    I'd recommend that you go to wherever the IEPs are held at your school and ask to see the IEPs (well, full educational records) of any students in your class on IEPs. You should have accommodations on or before the first day you have these students, regardless of an add drop period (Why would a HS have an add/drop period anyway?)

    No, that's why she says the notes accommodation is in place. Probably isn't. The IEP team had to approve the accommodation, so obviously, they had to find reason to put it on the IEP.
     
  16. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    There are two parts to the conversation. The first being the OP doesn't have the accommodations and the student/parent is indicating what it is and the why, well that was in parenthesis so that could be OP's interpretation or what the parent/student said. Hard to say.

    If the accommodation is on the IEP, I highly doubt the reason is that the student just doesn't want to put it on there unless the team really doesn't do their job. That is really the second part of the conversations. The OP really needs to see what is on the IEP.
     
  17. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I believe that good IEPs would explain exactly what is meant by something such as "preferential seating" if what is needed is a quiet place without distractions.

    The big problem SOMETIMES is poorly written IEPs that have things written down that were discussed in detail but recorded vaguely. Then the only people who really remember much of anything are the ones that were there and sometimes they don't remember because one IEP blends into another.
     
  18. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I used to put a descriptor on my test/quiz accommodations page. It said something along the lines of an alternate setting for any test/quiz that was expected to exceed 10-15 minutes or required a lot of writing. That way I avoided having students removed from the regular classroom for a four question multiple-choice quiz. Talk to your sped teacher and see if they'd be willing to revise the accommodations in a similar manner.

    In regards to the preferential seating, you have to remember that when sped teachers write IEPs, they're writing them with only the one student in mind. So, they have to put that accommodation in there, because it's what that individual student needs. When it becomes your turn to implement the accommodations in your classroom, you're not able to focus on only one student like they can. You have to do what you can do and not worry about what is out of your control. If you have 10 students with preferential seating, all needing it close to the front of the room or something, you obviously can't accommodate them all at the same time. That's not your fault. Just do the best you can.

    I can say from having experience as both a sped teacher and a classroom teacher, that sped teachers often don't realize how much classroom teachers have to juggle in their classrooms. However, that doesn't mean that sped teachers should not put into the IEPs what the individual student really needs. It's just a balancing act, where you have to do the best you can with what you've got.
     
  19. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    yes. IEPs should be very clear and should have reasons listed. So the teachers can best accommodate the students. Sometimes the accommodations cannot be met exactly as listed. So smart, caring teachers can adapt.

    For instance, I had a student whose 504 stated she was to get a textbook to take home with her. Not going to happen. Because we didn't have hard copies of textbooks. We were a 1:1 school and for that class her textbook was online. Did she need a textbook at home so she could review concepts covered in class that day? If so, the online textbook was sufficient. Did she need one at home because it was difficult for her to carry a backpack of books back and forth to school? Again, the 1:1 takes care of that. Did she need it because looking at a computer screen was difficult for hours on end and having a hard copy helped her focus? Oh, well in that case, let's see if a nearby school has a hard copy for you.

    The "why" does matter.
     
  20. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    To answer a comment made upthread - I have not seen the IEPs, so I do not know why the student's IEP says she does not have to take notes. All I know is what she and her caseworker, separately, have told me. I do not doubt that it is written in her IEP that she gets copies of notes. Nor do I doubt that it was placed there simply because she refuses to take them herself. I've been in IEP/504 meetings where the notes accommodation was written for that very reason. "He won't take them on his own. He'll just sit there. He needs to get a copy of the teacher's notes. " "Oh, okay, we'll write that in then...."
     
  21. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Legally, sped teachers are required to provide the "case for" the accommodations and modifications in the present level of the IEP. Otherwise, they legally shouldn't have them written in. This means that the reasons why a student would need such A&M should be well-documented within the IEP. I know that, at my school, this is often an oversight, and sped teachers often don't write as much because they know they can get away with it. It would take a serious state audit to face any consequences for not including the reasoning behind A&M. I'd suggest you ask your sped teachers or admin about this, being sure to say that you read the IEP and you couldn't find the reasons why. Approach them with an attitude that you're caring teacher wanting to do what's best for the students, not that you're trying to get them in trouble. If they get the question enough times, they may just do what they're supposed to and start writing it in to the IEP.
     
  22. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    That's good to hear. Often, we general ed teachers do not even get copies of the IEPs. We are simply given a list of students and their accommodations.
     
  23. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Yikes... I hope that no parent who knows their parent rights ever find that out.
     
  24. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Or they will add the need and start adding as needed to the end of all accommodations. That covers all bases when the teacher says it wasn't needed! I just love that phrase when I see it in an IEP.
     
  25. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    That is very common. It happens in most schools in gen ed classes because many IEPs are written such that the goals are only for those classes with special education support. So, even a child with reading comprehension goals or writing goals only has instruction and progress monitored in English class (at whatever level that is) even though reading and writing is integral to many other classes. So, you have a kid bombing writings in social studies with no support but amazing progress in English where a lot is being done to that piece of written work before it gets a grade for progress.

    In many schools special education is all smoke and mirrors because proving that the IEP was not written sufficiently to ensure progress is a very tough thing to do and very expensive for the parents. Usually it requires moving a child to a special school and several rounds of testing to show true progress outside the system.

    Writing an IEP without procedural errors is relatively simple. It doesn't have to be good or quality, it just has to have certain information in it.
     
  26. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    A teacher working with a student is legally required to have the IEP. Even a parapro working with a kiddo is supposed to have access to it. It doesn't matter if it's an English teacher or an elective Art teacher. If the teacher has that student, they are supposed to have the IEP. Some states even legally require sanction extra-curricular teachers (ie: football coach) to have access to IEPs.

    Schools that don't do so are playing with fire.
     
  27. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I'm not disagreeing with you at all. It is just amazing how many schools, as a practice, only hand out accommodation sheets to teachers and have a very skewed view about who can know about it.
     
  28. Linzi

    Linzi Rookie

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    um.... no.

    There is just no way I would call home each night. Email perhaps, but every night with no vm? Come on.

    I feel your pain on the mods though, sometimes its just too much. Especially when you're in a class that doesn't get a co-teacher to help handle some of the behaviors and learning difficulties that some of the inclusion students have.
     
  29. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Totally agree. I used to give copies of the IEP to all teachers who worked with a student, even if they only saw them once per week for an hour. I figured I was covering myself in the case that someone complained about accommodations and modifications not being implemented. Instead of falling on me for not making the IEP accessible to other teachers, it would fall on those teachers who just didn't read the IEP or refused to make the accommodations and modifications.
     
  30. bros

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    I had a 30 page IEP in HS that said nothing at all - not even my disabilities.
     
  31. bros

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    Yeah, seriously.

    In districts around me, on the first day of the school year, teachers either get a copy of each student's IEP or a copy of the accommodations/related services/modifications pages.
     
  32. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Number of pages doesn't say a lot. Even the most minimal IEP in my district is 13 pages long. It might only contain 1 goal. It is just page after page of required verbage and check boxes.
     
  33. AnonyMS

    AnonyMS SpEd Para! BASE room aide! RTI Facilitator!

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    I'm confused how you have accommodations but not official paperwork. Plus, isn't the student's disability on the paperwork?

    Look in the cume folder as well.
     
  34. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    There are always add/drop periods in high schools. This window, which usually lasts a week or two, sometimes longer, is meant to address student scheduling issues and problems, like where a student was placed in two identical 8th grade geometry classes or something, or leveling, such as when a teacher teaches 3 sections of world history with 22 kids, 49 kids, and 12 kids in those 3 sections.

    FYI, I've never, not once in the nine years I've been a teacher, had an IEP on day one. I'm lucky if I get it during the first quarter.


    I've had the same experience and I absolutely believe that this happens quite frequently.


    Yep. I've never, not once in the nine years I've been a teacher, seen a full IEP. I've never known the specific disabilities of most of my students; usually the 504s are the only documents that list the disabilities. I usually just receive a one- or two-page document outlining the accommodations I'm supposed to make.


    Couldn't this potentially be a contract violation? A teacher with specified contract hours can't be asked to work outside of contract to make a phone call each evening.


    Speaking only about my own experience, the accommodations page does not list the disability and is the only page that I've ever received as far as I remember.
     
  35. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Our IEPs are available in ProgressBook. They're there on the first day as long as it's not a new student. Those vary in how long it takes to get them depending on the previous school.
     
  36. TeacherNY

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    Yeah, an email would be doable but even so...every day?? that's a lot to force on a teacher. Just because it's a request doesn't mean it has to be put in the IEP.
     
  37. a2z

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    I can imagine that conversation in an IEP meeting from both directions. One where the parent is actually making the request on her own accord and the team gets worn down and puts it in knowing it probably won't be followed (going on 2nd's explanation of how the IEP teams in her school just give in to things such as the student doesn't like to take notes) and another where the team is telling the parent there are things that he or she needs to do at home with her child and the parent turns the table and asks how he or she could possibly do what they want at home if she doesn't get accurate information from her child or the child doesn't bring everything home or understand the homework when it comes home.

    So, without knowing how that decision was made (if it is really on the IEP), it is hard to know how it all came about. I could see it happening from either side. Once with a forceful parent and one where pushing the parent led them to back themselves into the corner by placing expectations on the parent that the parent can't fulfill without the proper information.

    But I agree. Not all ideas end up on the IEP or should end up on the IEP how the idea is originally presented.
     
  38. bros

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    Mine had 0 actual goals and about 15 pages of fabricated goals that were never tested or actually made for me or approved by the IEP team. They'd never be mentioned at the meetings, then they'd get slipped into the final copy.

    Yeah, none of my teachers in HS would get the IEP on day one either. The district always claimed they gave them before the school year started, but they always lied :p

    I'd usually just bring in a copy of my accommodations page from my IEP so my teachers would know.

    The accommodations page doesn't list the disability around here either - the front page lists the classification, though.

    Yeah, that's quite ridiculous.

    Like I had an accommodation in HS, "Call home when he receives a failing grade on a test or if he is missing more than three assignments." (of course, none of my teachers ever followed it)

    That, is a reasonable accommodation. "Provide daily progress reports via daily phone calls, no leaving messages." is way too restrictive - if the parent doesn't want a message left because the student might delete it, why not give the teacher a cell phone number? Or the parent could use Google Voice (free) and have a phone number set up and everything through that.
     
  39. 2ndTimeAround

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    I think daily communication is too much for a general ed teacher, period. Especially a high school teacher with 100+ other students.

    When this has come up before, I always put it back on the parent. YOU contact me for a daily behavior report. You go online to the parent gradebook for a daily grade report. I'm not going to be able to tell you if your son wrote everything down and turned everything in every day. I have too many fires to put out otherwise.
     
  40. gr3teacher

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    Feb 2, 2015

    It depends on the nature of the communication. A daily phone call is unrealistic, and a daily email isn't any better... at the elementary level though, we have daily behavior contracts with kiddos. The one I use with my "special friends" takes about five seconds of my time (circling the behaviors for the day, signing my name, and occasionally adding in a quick note). I don't know how something like that could be adapted to high school though, but if there's some high school equivalent (signing a homework agenda, maybe?) it would be reasonable.

    Anything more than a simple daily sign-off should be the responsibility of the SPED team, not a general education teacher. The TVI I worked with last year would send daily emails to the parent... reading those emails, it had to take her at least ten minutes every day. Ick. Ain't nobody got time for that.
     
  41. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Feb 2, 2015

    And the more I think about it, the more absurd the "phone call, no voice mail" gets. What happens if the parent goes out drinking after work? By the letter of the IEP, the school would be out of compliance there, no matter how many times the teacher tried to call. What if the parent isn't available until after contract hours? What if the parent is out of town for a week? Heck... what if the teacher has a substitute? A parent with a good lawyer would 100% eventually be able to win a lawsuit due to that accommodation, because it is completely impossible to guarantee compliance.
     

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