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  • Virginia Spencer

Relaxing on the beach?

So the school year is over and you may already be on vacation. Are you enjoying a complete mental break from the grind of ensuring services in your child's IEP are really being carried out? Preoccupied and pacing the beach considering options for making up for what didn't happen?

Don't wait until August in the hope that new teachers and the next grade-level will make much of a difference.

Perhaps the data that delineated progress reports and the monitoring that supports a case for Extended School Year got a little fuzzy by the last IEP or ARD meeting. You weren't really sure if your child was "on track", as the IEP team- or ARD committee- insisted. Who explained the criteria for ESY and was it accurate? You remember receiving a draft IEP with the 'No' box prematurely checked. You may have been completely overwhelmed by the pages of reports and conflicting narrative if your child has a large number of goals. Moreover, if you are in a state that allows calendar year IEPs, it may be especially difficult to see that the reported rate of progress is sufficient to master a goal. In the back of your mind, something isn't making sense.

If the goal ended in May, did the team propose new goals instead of analyzing why goals were mastered, or not mastered? This is very common and your Advocate can prevent this from happening. If everyone at the table agreed the goals were achievable and appropriate, but they were not achieved, why? It is much more "comfortable" for parents to believe that the data-collectors can lead on these decisions, but often there is no close examination of what wasn't working for your child. Similarly, if the goals were met early on, the expectations were too low and there should be new goals or revision to reflect this. Hopefully, the progress reports gave you insight into what was working. An offered opportunity to meet to discuss writing new goals came home with the report card, or was left on a voicemail.

This is where your Advocate is useful. If you can't determine if sufficient progress was made, then call a meeting to discuss eligibility for extended school year to continue working on those goals over the summer break. Let your Advocate negotiate for additional services based on the facts.

If ESY services have already begun, and you've decided to place your child in an educational summer camp, or private school program, you are prepared to augment learning. Think about the reasons for doing this and ask your Advocate if the school district should be paying.

Relax and send me the documents! That's what I'm here for.

#extendedschoolyear #summertutoring