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Saturday, August 15, 2009

The School Year Looms

I have to admit that I am guilty of getting excited when the school year starts. I can actually sort of keep the house clean with the girls gone for a few hours every day. This year I am more anxious than anything though.
I don't know who Lotus' teacher will be, but I did get a letter in the mail that I can sign up for tutoring under the No Child Left Behind Act, since the school she goes to this year meets the requirements for extra funding (i.e. they didn't get good enough standardized test scores). Since I've tutored for companies that get the majority of their clients through NCLB, I know that whatever poor tutor showed up at our house would be clueless as to what to do with her. I'm not mean enough to sign her up for that. It'd most likely be a stress and anxiety-inducing nightmare for both Lotus and the tutor.
Speaking of standardized tests, the alternative assessments given to kids with special needs are a joke. I'm sorry, but I find it a bit hard to believe that both of the girls test above average in math and reading when given a test that suits their abilities. I love my daughters and am proud of their hard work, but how can pretty much all special needs kids be doing as expected or better? I'll give you a hint: the tests they are given are based on things that they already good at. Math goal? Manipulate 3D geometric objects. Task that tested this? Sorting recyclables. Reading? Recognizing own name in print. These a re goals from a couple of years ago, but still they are setting the bar pretty low.
I don't blame the teachers or the schools for this silliness however. They are using a state-supplied system to test our kids. If regular ed teachers were allowed to pick the tests for typical classrooms and told that their performance would be based on how the kids did, I imagine that they would pick things that they knew the kids to be proficient in.
I think it would be best if the girls didn't have to do standardized testing at all, as this would free up about a week of wasted time when their teachers have to run around getting materials, pictures, video, etc. of the tasks that the kids do for the alternate assessment.
Anyway, that was a bit of a side rant.
I just wish I didn't have a feeling of dread hovering over me as the start of school approaches this time, which is only nine days away...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

School Year Anxiety

Usually I am happy to send my kids back to school at the end of summer break. Celest has actually been asking for the "yellow school bus please". Unfortunatley, this year I am not looking forward to it.
The program that the girls have been in since they were three years old, called STACK, is no longer being offered in our district. Instead the district has decided to do a copycat of the program. However, I don't think it's going to be a smooth transition. Especially since the classroom that Lotus went to last year wasn't able to "deal with that kind of behavior". This year, magically they are going to be able to. Of course, I'm not supposed to know that our district's special education supervisor made that comment. (The older I get, the more I hope the adage "you reap what you sow" is true!)
Anyway, I'm trying to get the girls into a private school, but it has a wait list. :(