Preparing for a Resolution Meeting

I am writing a series on advocacy for parents.  These posts will appear on Thursdays.  With these posts, I hope to encourage all parents to advocate for their children, and to provide a little bit of guidance.

Things have not been going well for your child.  For whatever reason, the teachers have not been giving your child the accommodations she needs or been following the IEP the way you believe it is intended to be followed.  You are frustrated by this, and have set up a meeting with administrators to try to resolve this and get things back on track.

It is time to prepare for the meeting.  How do you prepare?

Write out your grievances

You feel like you could go on and on about everything the school has done wrong.  Write it down.  Brainstorm and think about all the ways the school hasn’t followed the plan, and all of the things that have frustrated you about this.

Set the list aside for a few days.  Come back to it with fresh eyes to revise the list.  Cross out any repeats.  Put things together that are similar. Add things that you forgot initially.  Revise it until it is a list you will be able to use.  You will take this to the meeting with you.

Know what you want

You have called this meeting to resolve a problem.  Talking will not, ultimately, resolve this problem.  You need to know what you want the next steps to be.  Do you want additional therapy time for your child, to make up for time lost?  Are you asking for the IEP to be revised?  Are you looking for the school to change its policy so no other children face what your child has faced?  Are you seeking monetary compensation? (If you are, you should be aware that this is extremely rare from a public school.)

You should have a proposed resolution for each problem that you plan to address with the school.  Do not expect the school to come up with a resolution.  Do not plan to address problems without having a proposed resolution.

Prepare your list for the meeting

It is time to clean up your list, and prepare something you will bring to the meeting.  This is a note for your eyes only, so don’t worry about making it look nice for others. It should be in a format that you can work from. List each grievance you plan to address and your proposed resolution for each grievance.

It will help you to be able to state how the resolution will resolve the grievance. This will help you be flexible and work with the school toward a resolution that everyone can be happy with.

It is time to head to the meeting.  Take a deep breath, give your child a hug, and know that you are now ready to address issues at the meeting.

Have you had a resolution meeting with the school?  How did you prepare for it?  Did your preparations help lead to a successful meeting?

Other articles in this series:

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Knowing the Standards

I am writing a series on advocacy for parents.  These posts will appear on Thursdays.  With these posts, I hope to encourage all parents to advocate for their children, and to provide a little bit of guidance.

A big part of advocating for your child is being aware of what they are expected to learn. It is important to track their progress to make sure they are learning what they should learn, help them if they fall behind, and keep them interested if the learning standards are too easy for them.

Do you know how to find the education standards?

Most states follow the Common Core for math and English standards. The Common Core is a set of standards, and does not specify how a teacher should teach for the students to meet these standards. I know there are many who strongly oppose the use of Common Core standards, but that is a discussion for another day.  Whether or not you agree with your state’s use of the Common Core, it is important to learn what is expected of your child.

Your state may have a website about state standards, as well. Here are the standards for Missouri (where I live).  Besides the Common Core standards for Math and English, Missouri has standards for Science, Social Studies, World Languages, Fine Arts, Health/Physical Education, Guidance and Counseling, and Career & Technical Education.

Another site to follow is the Department of Education Blog.  You can follow it (by e-mail or rss), and it is fairly easy to navigate by subject.

How do you keep track of your state standards?

Other articles in this series:

Problem-Solving with your Child’s Teacher

I am writing a series on advocacy for parents.  These posts will appear on Thursdays.  With these posts, I hope to encourage all parents to advocate for their children, and to provide a little bit of guidance.

One of the most important ways a parent can be involved in a child’s education is to be part of a team with the teacher. But what happens when parents disagree with the teacher? More

Advocacy Resources

I am writing a series on advocacy for parents.  These posts will appear on Thursdays.  With these posts, I hope to encourage all parents to advocate for their children, and to provide a little bit of guidance.

Welcome to my new Thursday series!  One of the most important jobs of a parent is to advocate for their child.  With this series, I hope to help you a little bit.  Please don’t hesitate to put any questions you have in the comments section.

Today I want to introduce you to some of my favorite resources.

  • If you are looking to advocate for a child who does not need special education help, Scholastic has a good article with tips on advocating with the teacher.
  • Wrightslaw is a great reference for parents, and the first place I advise parents to go if they need information on advocating for their child with special educational needs.  Their website is a little overwhelming at first, but there is a great search feature.  This reference is especially good if you have a child with special needs and have, or are looking to get, an IEP or a 504 plan.
  • NCLD I like because it has resources if your child is struggling in school.  It has good information on learning disorders like dyslexia, dysgraphia, discalculia; on ADHD, and others.
  • CHADD is a great reference for families struggling with ADHD.  It gives information not only for school, but also for home and daily living struggles.
  • Autism Speaks is a reference for families struggling with Autism.
  • NAMI is the national organization for families struggling with mental illness.

There are lots of other references.  If you have a diagnosis, there is probably an organization related to that diagnosis.

Do you have any favorite resources?  Do you have questions about advocacy that you would like me to address in this series?

Nighttime is Parenting Time

Oh, the gentle calm when bedtime is finished and the kids are asleep.  For now.

And then, in the middle of my creative work, we hear running and crying upstairs.  This presents two choices: either I could go to bed NOW, curled up next to Cassatt (in my bed, of course), or Tom can go, calm him and put him back to bed.  We default to option two when I hear him calm down and continue my work.

Once I go to bed, I get about an hour child-free before Cassatt comes into our bed.  He is stealthy; I rarely awaken when he appears.  His brother, on the other hand, climbs over and wakes me several hours later.  It is close to morning when he comes in, but I am too groggy to walk him back to his room.  Tonight he tells me explicitly to get out of bed so he can have my spot. I refuse. After some negotiation, he walks to the other side of the bed to crowd Dad, who later goes to sleep on Picasso’s bed.

No parent is allowed to sleep in, and we are no exception. Cassatt is insistent that I get out of bed at 6:30 this morning, which is actually late for him.  After much insistence I finally get up.  This morning I cave and let him watch cartoons while I wake up and write.

One day, we will get an uninterrupted night’s sleep.  It may not be until 15 years from now, when they are out of the house.  For now, I will enjoy my little guys’ cuddles in the middle of the night.  Because, as with everything in parenting, this too shall pass.

What’s on my menu?

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