Not Forgetful Me!

Dear Reader,

Earlier this week I wrote about forgetting about a meeting that I’d scheduled. I felt very bad about it. Well, yesterday and today I had a S.T.E.P. meeting that I did not forget. The one yesterday was cancelled by the parent at the VERY last minute. The one today wasn’t cancelled, but due to a series of miscommunications, I did not attend.

This is how my day began. I had to be in Pasadena, CA (about an hour away) today to re-take the CSET. When I passed it five years ago, I was unaware that the scores expired. So, after four hours (instead of the full five this time) of re-taking all sub-tests, I hightailed it to work. When I get there, there’s no one around. I go to the Main Office and there’s someone in the Principal’s office. I knock on the door and the security guard informs me that everyone has left.

I then call the Pre-K teacher who tells me that the staff meeting and my meeting are cancelled.

“Whew!!!,” I said, as I breathed a sigh of relief.

I really didn’t want to mediate the meeting, but was, of course, going to do it anyway. With that out of the way, I start on my way home. On the way, my youngest son call me to pick him up from school because he left his bus pass at home. When I am almost home, I get a text from the 6th grade teacher asking if I was still coming to the meeting.

I was so confused at this point. To shorten this story, I texted back and forth and was going to go back. While I’m doing this the Secretary calls, then I speak to the Principal. He tells me that I don’t have to come back. Although I should have breathed a sigh of relief that I did not have to drive an hour back to work on a Friday, I didn’t. I felt like such a slacker. I felt like crying, so I did.

I’m so upset. I did what I was supposed to do but still ended up looking like a slacker. I guess there’s really nothing I can do about it at this point and time. It’s been a long week.

I came in the house, had another small cry and took a nap. I’m feeling better, but still a little upset that I came out looking like a slacker. I’ll get over it though. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a big deal. Thank God it’s the weekend and I can relax!

I will write more over the weekend. Bye for now!

What I Cannot Change!!!

I was listening to the radio this morning and was pleasantly surprised to hear LeAnn Rimes-Cibrian. She is one of my favorite singers. Her voice is super fantastic. I listened to her explaining her story regarding her and her husband, how she was sorry about how things happened with their other spouses. She seemed truly sorry. She even wrote a song about it called What I Cannot Change. It’s really beautiful. It made me think about my life. How I wish it would have gone the way that I’d planned it. Who doesn’t, right?

I have been feeling sorry for myself a lot lately. This song, however, has made me realize that I need to accept what I cannot change. Take a listen to this song. It’s very beautiful!

Forgetful Me!

Dear Readers,

I am so forgetful. I’d been getting better about writing things down, but I totally dropped the ball on a meeting I was supposed to hold on Monday. I apologized to the mother & rescheduled for a week from now. Thankfully she took it all in stride. I will put a system in place so this won’t happen again.

I’ll keep you updated! Bye for now.

Too Successful???

***Warning- This post is a little wordy!***

Dear Readers,

I find myself with quite an unusual situation of being too successful! Is there such a thing? Apparently there is. Let me explain.

Yesterday I was the representative of my school for Coaster’s initial I.E.P. It was relatively small. It consisted of the Assistant Principal (who’s in charge of Special Education-A.P.E.I.S. or A.P. for short), the school psychologist, the RSP teacher, Coaster’s mom, and I. It was held in the A.P.’s office; really small and cozy. Very nice, not intimidating at all. Not only that, but the school goes to the 6th grade, which would give Coaster an additional year in elementary school. The only thing I disagreed with was the psychologist’s use of jargon that was not explained to Coaster’s mom. Other than that the meeting went very smoothly.

The reason I say that I was too successful is because Coaster qualified for Specific Learning Disability (SLD) instead of Autism (Aut). I asked the school psychologist about it and she said that she wanted to observe him more because she didn’t see as many of the behaviors usually prevalent with children with autism.

I was thinking, “Boy, she should have seen him last year before I started working with him!”

Coaster’s mom told them that Coaster is a different person thanks to me. After I detailed the various behavior modification techniques I used with Coaster, the School Psychologist said she now understood why she didn’t see some of the behaviors she was expecting.

I was happy on one hand, but not so happy on the other. On one hand I am happy for Coaster that his behavior has improved so much, to the point of his behaviors upgrading from severe to moderately low; which means a better of quality for life for him. On the other hand I am unhappy because it was my hope that Coaster’s offer of a Free & Appropriate Public Education (F.A.P.E.) would be placement in a class specifically for students with Autism. However, his offer of F.A.P.E. was an hour of Resource class 1-2/week.

I then asked if the offer of a Special Day Class/Program (SDC/P) was even an option because the 6th grade class size is 30 students. There is no way that Coaster will be able to cope with 30 students. He would positively have a meltdown on the first day of school. The AP said that the F.A.P.E. offer would was his Least Restrictive Environment (L.R.E.) and that he needed to be placed in his L.R.E. first. She was correct, but I am still worried about his mental well-being should his mom choose to put him in that school next year.

FINAL OUTCOME: His mom, as I expected, rejected the F.A.P.E. offer because she didn’t want him to leave our school. I understand that. He does NOT adapt to change well. So, he will finish out the remainder of the school year at our school and hopefully be placed in his school of residence next year. Even though his mother rejected the F.A.P.E. offer that was offered to her, some services were offered. The services offered will be in the form of 12 hours of training for me to learn more strategies to deal with Coaster. It wasn’t the best case scenario but at least his mother now has a clearer picture of his disability.

Although I am really sad that he will be leaving at the end of the school year, it is for the best. It really makes me wonder how many students with disabilities drop out of high school because of the low chances for success. I know the number is high. Too high!

Although I can’t save them all, it is my desire to work on those students one at a time! Imagine if more and more people did that? Everyone can contribute just a little. Bye for now Dear Readers!

How Full Is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath

Dear Readers,

It’s time for a book review. I haven’t written one in a long, long time. Well, I have one that’s worth the wait. It’s actually more than a year overdue. I’d promised a review of this book in September ’11. I wasn’t sure if I’d made good on that promise so I had to peruse my blog to make sure I hadn’t already posted a review of it. I am ashamed to say that I did not.

I wrote briefly about the concept of bucket filling last year, but didn’t continue it. I guess I just got so busy with life that I completely forgot. For that I do apologize. Now that that’s out the way, on to the review!

How Full Is Your Bucket, by Tom Rath (2007) and illustrated by Mary Reckmeyer, is a must-have book. The theme at the beginning of the book is along the lines of Alexander and Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. You can totally feel the child’s pain. But, by the middle of the book, readers are given useful tools to help turn that terrible, no good, very bad day around.Read More »

Home From Work…

I played hooky from work a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been so overwhelmed that I’ve been letting things fall by the wayside. That is so not good. Thats why I took time off to play catch up and handle my business. Well, during the day, I decided to pick up the Brigance testing binder that was being given to me from another Inclusion Specialist. It’s older but still useful. The only part that’s out of date is the Math. I’ll put together some work, grade level by grade level, based on Common Core standards.

I love when others are very generous with their time and resources. Thank you Dr. Toni!

**It feels sooooo good to play hooky.**

It Didn’t Stop!!!

Dear Readers,

I am still excited about the assembly at my school where I was able to give away the books for the grant that I wrote. My librarian is a sweetheart. I tried to share credit with her for writing the grant, since that is her territory, but she wouldn’t hear of it. She gave me time at the end of the assembly to speak to the parents and students and express to them my passion for reading and how I love to instill that same passion in my students. After that, I gave the parents information on the Molina Foundation and perseverance (It took a long time to hear back).

I got the idea to write the grant because I was so disheartened when, after speaking to some of the students, I discovered that some of them didn’t have any books at home. I knew I had to do something about that. I think it is so important for children to have books and enjoy reading.  So, from now on, no matter what school I work at, I will keep the information from the Molina Foundation handy and use it to bring the joy of reading into a child’s life.

The students were so excited to receive those books.Well, the excitement didn’t stop. After school the following Monday, two 3rd grade students came up to me and asked if they could check out books.

“SURE!!!” I exclaimed. I quickly did what I needed to do and hightailed it to my office with the 3rd graders in tow. However, once we got to my office, there weren’t two 3rd graders anymore. I also had two 3rd graders and one of my 1st graders.

I happily checked out books for all of them. I was so thrilled, you could have knocked me over with a feather. I am ecstatic that they are growing to love reading. Hopefully it will be a lifelong habit. Here’s hoping!