Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Transferring to School Number THREE

So here is the breakdown of what happened educationally for Eli over the past...well...since January 7th.  Yeah,  all that I am about to explain has occurred between January 7th to February 16th. 

So we moved her right before Christmas and since we came from a good public school situation, the only logical thing to do (we thought) was to find out what school we were zoned for and get him enrolled so that he could get started right after the Christmas break.  Well, we went into Kerr Elementary and got him enrolled, and then I proceeded to have a heartattack every day during Christmas Break over the school and the bad feelings I had about it.  Namely the fact that they would be throwing him into a classroom with no helpers, no aides, no nothing.  Basically they would be throwing him to the wolves.  I was sick and I stressed...and stressed some more...so we made the decision to put Eli in a private school.  They at least had smaller class sizes, which is a huge, HUGE, HUGE thing for him.  He needs a smaller class size with more individual attention.  I was thrilled, sure this was the answer...he even could go to chapel once a week and learn about God right along with his math and English.  Our prayers were answered! Silly me. 

We knew it might not work, but we didn't know how rigorous the curriculum was and how demanding they are.  The term that has been used a lot by a friend who has a child on the spectrum is "cookie-cutter".  They were only used to "cookie-cutter" kids who were all the same, who were able to sit thru their 40 minute lessons.  I can't fault them for that...That is who they are used to teaching.  And Eli isn't cookie-cutter.  He is his own little person who has trouble sitting still for very long, who loves to talk and jump in and be part of the discussion.  He's active.  But he LOVES school...he LOVES to learn.  And although we thought that school might be able to handle him, at one month, they determined that they were not a good fit for him and asked us to find him a new school.

So I contacted the Louisiana State Board of Education.  I explained everything from start to finish.  They gave me a contact person for Bossier Parrish, which is where we are zoned, so I contacted her.  We decided that the best school for Eli would be Bellaire.  It is only a K-3 school, smaller class size, more teachers help, and they have an autism classroom that he could go to on the days he was having trouble in the mainstream classroom.  Perfect.  But after that lady and I hung up, she did some talking, and the school board and Bossier Parrish decided that nah, he didn't need all that.  He'd "DO GREAT AT KERR!"  Norman and I fought.  We tried getting letters from Barksdale to get the transfer approved that way.  I spent a lot of time on the phone and in person trying to tell them that the main issue with autism is TROUBLE WITH CHANGE.  We were going to have to transfer him to his second school in a month, please lets transfer him to the RIGHT place!  But it didn't work.  They did reassure me that if Kerr didn't work out THEN they would send him on to Bellaire, but not to worry...Kerr would excede our expectations and he wouldn't have to make another move. 

So I filled out the paperwork...again...we went shopping for uniforms...we bought school supplies...we got him as emotionally ready as we could get him to change schools...and he changed to Kerr.  He started there on February 8th and attended there thru the 10th.  Three days.  I won't even give you my first impression of the teacher and how short-tempered she seemed.  I was not feeling good about this at all. I also was greatly disturbed that my child had to make a Mardi Gras float for the school parade.  WHAT?!  I'm sorry, I won't go into my thoughts on Mardi Gras, but I don't view it as child appropriate.  So anyway...

Well, you already know about him needing the med change, so he went in-patient the evening of Feb 10th. 

All this time I've been wondering if they were going to call me about a meeting...You know, he supposedly has a "team" who will work with us to make sure he is doing well.  Well, they called me today.  Yep.  And guess what?  They aren't able to meet his needs at Kerr....  *gasp* REALLY??!!!  What was your first clue??!!  So after 3 days there...and finally learning how to get to that classroom...HE IS BEING TRANSFERRED TO BELLAIRE, THE SCHOOL WE WANTED IN THE FIRST PLACE!  The school THEY agreed was best for him, but the one THEY refused to approve! And that is all that was needed.  One SIGNATURE.  ONE.  To avoid every bit of this.  Eli has no idea, and he is going to HAVE. A. COW. 

Nice.  So I have a meeting at Bellaire on Thursday.  Oh I will show up nice.  But rest assured all bets are off.  I am not going to be run over.  I am through being the parent that nods and agrees to the point where my child is lost in the system.  Games are over.  Bellaire is it, so they better get their crap together.   They have one shot to get all the chaos fixed.  ONE. 

So after some phone calls from the school administrators and from Bossier Parrish school board people, I get a call from the school nurse who wants to discuss health concerns.  Yeah right.  They're concerned.  All I'm concerned with is that my child who is smart, who can read and write and learn is able to do that.  He will not fail because THEY do not want to bother with him.  Our next phone call is to Senator Landrieu's office. Norman managed to make quite a few friends up on the Hill last year, and he will use them.  Perhaps we will have to get a lawyer.  We are not going away, and they are going to have to do their job. 


samskat said...

I will keep praying for you guys. I am so so sorry. Hopefully this new situation will work for the time being, and then you can get to SA....

Stacey said...

Thank you Kat...thank you so much