Sunday, November 1, 2009

Thank you, Mr. Asst.Principal, Mrs. Teacher, Mrs. Paras

On Friday morning our phone rang. It was the twins' school. Sometimes, caller id is a curse. "Oh brother, what's happened now?" I thought. It was so early, a part of me didn't even want to answer it. But I am a mom, I must!

"Hello, Alex's mom, this is Mr. Asst.Principal." Oh geez, this is gonna be a long day! The poor guy, he knew what I was thinking and immediately saved me.
"I have an idea," he said.

OK. I've written about school difficulties and my school district in particular. Parents of special needs children do not get things done easily. We have had to fight tooth and nail for the most basic of needs. Many people don't understand this, but if you have a child with special needs, you know what I am talking about.

This is Alex's second year at the middle school. We had to establish a few things when we first started at this school. But this school has been an unbelievable experience for Alex, twin sis, dad and me! I'd like to think the school has enjoyed our family, too, but even if they haven't the personnel have played along very nicely! It's amazing how different one school can be when compared to others in the same district. This particular school has formed a very nice community.

Back in September, at our IEP meeting, I asked the school's IEP representatives to find away to get Alex involved with his peers. I strongly suggested some extracurricular activities, especially sports. He needs some friends when he goes over to the high school. He could be a team manager with some assistance or maybe the team photographer. Anyhow, I made some suggestions, and then I waited. I am not real good at waiting, but this one was sort of out of my control so I was willing to wait and see.

Anyhow, back to the phone call and Mr. Asst.Principal's idea... The basketball coach has never had a team manager, but he'd let Alex do it, as long as he had some guidance. And Mrs. Teacher (Alex's teacher) had volunteered her time to help Alex be the basketball team manager. And Mrs. Process Coordinator wants Alex to help her keep score during all the games.

"What do you think, Alex's mom?"

Wait a minute! Let me get this straight. I asked for something, only once mind you, and it is not exactly a basic need, but sort of the icing on the cake, and your idea is to do it, and an already underpaid overworked teacher is volunteering her time after school so Alex can spend some time with peers?

Umm, I think I am going to have to get back to you on that!!

This is unbelievable! This is a very good thing these people are doing for Alex. This is the first time the teachers and administrators have chosen to do the right thing. Not only that, they are going above and beyond the expected. We have had good caring teachers and paras before. We have just never had an experience where all the people immediately involved with Alex's education have chosen to do the right thing! Don't get me wrong this middle school was exceptionally cooperative last year, but this is big!

In our past experiences, if the para wanted to do something good, the teacher or principal would squash it. If the teacher had a good idea or plan, the process coordinator or principal wouldn't allow it to proceed. We never got any good explanation as to why, usually it was just a "we don't do that." This school district is sort of known for that.

This middle school has been amazing from the start. They are proactive. They are caring. These people are genuinely interested in Alex's future. The most amazing thing, though, is that in an educational setting, they are all willing to all work together to make one kid's life a little bit better.

The other thing about this is that these people don't even realize how great a thing this is! Alex has been attending this district for 10 years. Big sis graduated from here. There is a pretty tight group of very informed parents of kids with special needs. I know this doesn't happen at the other schools. When it does, it is the exception, not the rule. I also know that when it does, those parents didn't ask just once!

"Oh, Mr. Asst.Principal, I think that will be fantastic! Mrs. Teacher, Mrs. Process Coordinator, and Mrs. Paras, we are not real sure how to thank you."

Should I start being treated now for the breakdown I am going to have when I have to move Alex away from this group of people next spring. I know we'll never be this fortunate again, but I am very happy for all the kids that will be!

1 comment:

dayna said...

I just found your blog and my son Jeffrey is a year behind Alex in school, and they have been in classes together and we are finishing up our 2nd year with Mrs. Teacher. She has been amazing and our experience this year has been one of the best!! I like you am trying to wrap my head around switching from Mrs. Teacher to a whole new school, high school none the less, a new teacher and paras. I love reading blogs and I love them even more when they are about something so personal to me and my family.