Okay gals. Put the punching gloves on. It's time to talk some smack.

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by ZoomZoomZOOM, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    Aug 16, 2010

    That smack would be the total lack of smooth transition from cross categorical elementary to life skills in middle school and then up to life skills in High School.

    In other words, it's totally frustrating to me that there are kids that get lost in the system because from 3-5, they learned THIS way. Then in cross cat (K-2), they're using a reading mastery program. In cross cat 3-5, they're using SRA/DIBELS/Edmark reading programs - depending on the teacher and what she was able to get. So now I have my new 6th graders coming in and once again, the curriculum is different. There's no continuity/routine for these kids to follow - the SAME KIDS THAT THRIVE ON CONTINUITY AND ROUTINE. I just don't understand why each teacher wouldn't be able to have at least two different reading programs (to find out which is the best with each child) and then that same reading program would be used all the way up to HS level on that kid.

    I'm kind of pissy because I just read some IEP goals written from a 5th grade teacher's perspective that lists reading goals from a program that my school doesn't even own. Which means her goals are bogus!

    Ugh. Just so frustrating... Sorry to ramble. I'm a little tipsy on an ambien I just took. Time for bed. g'night. :yawn:
     
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  3. teacher12345

    teacher12345 Cohort

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    It's okay Zoom Vent away!
     
  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I hear ya'! The last couple of years our new SPED director (elementary) has given us new math and reading curriculum that we now can use k-5. That doesn't help middle school. They use something else. In our district, when our 5th graders leave, they go to oblivion (or that's what it feels like!)
     
  5. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    Zoom... This is one of the reasons that I moved my son out of the program that he was in. The stream of programs that he was in have VERY DIFFERENT approaches and curriculums at Elementary, Middle and High school levels. The lack of continunity of programming and long-term planning is incredibly frustrating.
     
  6. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    I believe that this is a problem everywhere. At some point in my life, I hope to be the autism or life skills coordinator for a school district. THIS is an area that would be my first target for improvement.

    Continuity is SO incredibly important, especially with this population.

    My district has similar issues. I understand that there are different amounts of support required in the different age groups (Pre-K, K-2, 3-5, 6-8) etc. HOWEVER, they just do things sooo differently, EVEN if the two K-2 classrooms!

    Also, our elementary programs have access to a sensory room, OT room, and a ton of other resources, but they do not have these resources at the middle school (my program!) So, some kids come with these elaborate sensory diets which include "7 minutes on the platform swing" and "ball pit for 3 minutes" - yet we don't have any of that equipment.....

    Another thing that drives me nuts, like Zoom mentioned, is that they'll do things like TouchMath with the kids, but I don't have TouchMath materials! I ended up getting the elem. program to lend me their TouchMath and I was able to make some of the worksheet copies... but I still don't have my own kit. I think that's just cruel to teach a kid how to do something, use a particular method, etc. - and then to just rip it right out from under them when they move to a different classroom.

    Also, the kids that came to me had never used individual visual schedules before. Really? An autism class that didn't use visual schedules? What's the deal?

    I am trying hard (just as a teacher, not as a coordinator) - to stay in close contact with administration and the special ed coordinator, to see if I can really get some things going at the elem. level so that they continue into the middle school program.

    Another thing is community-based instruction. I know that at the elementary school level it's not appropriate to be doing as much community based instruction that we're doing -- however, some of the kids have really never even been out! They don't even go on the field trips with the regular ed classes. I think they should maybe do 1-2 trips per semester to get them "exposed" to it - even though I know CBI is considered "sustained and repeated instruction." I do think that the exposure piece is important.

    I wonder why districts do this to their poor kids? If you're going to buy Edmark for the K-2 class, why not get it for the 3-5 and 6-8 class???

    Zoom, what will you do about the goals? Hopefully it's not a pesky parent - because that's a due process waiting to happen!!
     
  7. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Also - policies. The parents are allowed to observe whenever wherever in the elementary program.... but I do not allow this. The kids are 10-13 years old. You don't need to be observing your kid 5 days a week for 3 hours a day.

    I think policies should be set in stone - and parents should be able to read them. It's crazy how different it is at the elementary program (they pretty much let the parents have whatever they want, and I'm not like that at all!!!)

    So, it's like a slap in the face when they move up a grade, rather than it just being a "Policy that is set in stone".

    Anyone else have this issue? Parents expecting crazy things that the last program granted to them?
     
  8. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    Here-in lies one of the few benefits of teaching a k-12 program ;). My students have continuity of services. But... when I transition them out of our program it is the first major transition they are going to since they were 5 years old for some of them. :eek:
     
  9. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Haha - that is for sure!

    I honestly can't even envision a 12th grader in the same classroom as a Kindergartener... and your room looks age appropriate for all levels - which is amazing...

    My classroom (life skills) in Texas was K-5 and I thought THAT was crazy. The little guys (K-1) usually spent a lot more time in regular ed, but as the gap got bigger, they'd spend full days with me.

    In NJ, everyone balks at the thought of a K-5 room, because they have the 36 month age difference rule....

    M2M- I still don't know how you do it - but I do see the benefits of it.

    (On the flip side, if you have a crazy parent, you have them for 12 years! :rolleyes: )
     
  10. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    Completely agree about the approaches used to teach the students specific skills. You really see it with things like Touch Math (or in the case of my son they use Chisenbop Math) and then the materials are not there or the Middle School teacher does not agree with the philosophy.

    Our division just implemented a new math curriculum after consulting with all of the elementary teachers. They bought the same program for everyone. They would never dream to buy one program for grade 1 and another for grade 2 yet this is done to our kids with special needs all the time. Its so wrong.
     
  11. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    All I can say to that is "Yes... Yes you do!" Enough said ;).

    As for the age range, we seldom get students before they are in about grade 3 or 4 so most years my range is 3/4 to 12. When we do have younger than that I try to set them up for about half time integration. I have yet to have a kindergarten student because the kindergarten teacher at our school is amazing and has had a couple of my students in her room with minimal (less than an hour a day) time in my room. The only reason that we can make such a diverse age range work is because of the staffing level that I have in my room. I can't imagine how it would be done otherwise.
     
  12. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    I really do see that people are recognizing the need for some consistency... but the problem is nobody is spearheading the effort (a problem everywhere, as Zoom has pointed out!)

    I DO think that things like Unique Learning System, etc. are the direction that I would like to see a lot of programs move towards. The amazing thing about it is that it's age appropriate, changes themes, but is consistent across grade levels.

    If/when I have MY way with my future dream position as autism coordinator for a district.... this is what we will do (not necessarily ULS, but something like that - that is consistent and spans across grade levels).

    I also see a lot of people repeat stuff, such as when the kids came to me I knew they did Edmark, but had no records of where they were in Edmark. I know a lot of teachers just start over again, and for parents who weren't that involved or didn't pay much attention to the words the kids were learning, they would never notice. What a shame! There is so much "overlap" in a bad way (OK, so both programs have touchmath, but the following program starts the kid over because they don't know where he/she was, or they want the whole group to do the same thing...)
     
  13. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    It would be wonderful if co-ordination could be done. A lot of work but sure would make a big difference for our students.

    I'm in a very small division and we only have 3 self contained systems. There is my room for multiple complex (k-12), a behaviour program (k-12) and a system for mild/moderate (three rooms for k-6, 7-9 and 10-12 at one elementary, one middle school and the high schol). Generally we do not put k and 1 students in any program but it does happen sometimes so many of the students in any of these rooms also spend some time at the beginning in regular education programs during their schooling years.

    The other problem that I have witnessed is trying the same thing over and over and over again becuase there is no documentation of what has been tried. Now I think there are times where its worth trying things over but I do think you approach things differently if its the first time you are trying something or if its the third time.

    I don't know how it could all be solved but so feel that this is a big issue.
     
  14. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    One other thing that I think we do differently here is that we do not send completed IEPs to the new school. IEPs are due at the end of September and each new teacher is responsible for writing the IEP after they have had a couple of weeks to get to know new students. There are pros and cons to this as even less information gets passed on in regards to making a continuous program. On the flip side, teachers need to take ownership for the IEP immediately.
     
  15. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Oh gosh yes - another huge problem over here!!!

    The IEPs!!!

    You're so right about the pros and cons to each way of doing it, but there has to be a happy medium.

    My PERFECT world would be like this:

    Student is about to age out of program
    Teacher who currently has student knows more about student than me, but I don't want current teacher's goals, I want my goals
    I can't give student goals because I don't know student
    I ask current teacher about present levels of performance in various areas, giving sample goals of things we work on in my classroom
    Teacher reviews goals, says "he would never get this" or "this is way to easy" - I adjust based on teacher / other team member input
    I write IEP for student (while student is in current program- end of year) - teacher reviews IEP
    We have IEP meeting with current teacher, parent, etc. (and I attend)
    We discuss what will be coming up in new program, program changes, etc. based on placement change
    Parents agree
    IEP is signed
    CURRENT teacher "gets her foot wet" With some of the upcoming goals, that way student is exposed to goals in environment he/she is comfortable in, with teacher he/she knows (nothing intense, just a little exposure to some of the various things in the IEP - not everything)
    Student moves to my program
    New IEP begins for real


    That's how it should be done. I'm just sayin.
     
  16. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    Love it! The other great thing about that is that each teacher would learn what is coming up in the next program and there could be more continuity of programming :).

    Now I'm off to my school to do some work.
     

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