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busybeing busybeing is offline
 
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busybeing
 
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Progress conferences
Old 10-27-2017, 03:28 AM
 
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I have a new student this year who has an advocate. Last year, the advocate requested that we have monthly team progress conferences. It was never written into the IEP, and I am hoping that the last chairperson was able to dissuade them from doing this. I'm having my current chairperson research what had happened at the meeting as I don't have access to the meeting notes. My students are very high need and I just feel like it's a disservice to the other students to have me pulled that frequently.

Also, in my state, we are required to write a goal for different skill areas (reading, math, and written expression typically for my kiddos) and then write benchmarks/objectives to attain each goal. Typically, each goal will have 4-5 benchmarks, which I will then run data on for each progress note period (trimesters). This student has at least ten objectives for each of her goals. If we have to have monthly progress meetings, I am concerned about the amount of instruction time I will lose with her (and my other students) if I have to constantly assess over 30 different objectives.

Has anyone else ever had to do monthly team progress conferences? How do you manage the data for these? Any advice for successfully working with an advocate? This is my first time... I am deferring to my chairperson a lot.

This has been so stressful for me so far this year, that I am considering leaving teaching. Please help!


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Old 10-27-2017, 05:07 PM
 
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No advice, just support from an understanding and overworked sped. teacher. I don't blame you for feeling so stressed--that is just too much to expect you to do on a monthly basis! This is why special Ed burnout is so high!
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Old 10-27-2017, 07:23 PM
 
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I wonder if you could just give some general progress information without giving data for each and every objective? State some strengths, celebrate some progress, and say whatever the kid's next step is for each subject.

Have you met the parents yet? I find that most of the time parents just want to know that the teacher likes their child and wants to feel like you're on their side. You might try reasoning with them- explain that if you take data on all 30 objectives every month, you'll have to spend far less time actually instructing little Johnny. You think it would be best for him to have maximum instructional time so that he can make more progress. Also, wouldn't it be better for you to stay in the classroom every day with Johnny rather than being pulled out to meet with parents? How about a monthly email update. Don't say anything about the rest of the class/students- make it all about getting little Johnny all the instructional time he needs.

I've actually been pretty lucky with advocates. At least in my area, they tend to actually be supportive of school teams. Of course they phrase it better, but they basically tell parents, "You know, the school is actually doing quite a lot for your kid." They mostly just help parents understand the legal parts of the process. For example, last year I had a parent who decided halfway through testing for a Tri that he wanted to revoke consent. We had many meetings/conversations with him where he was just convinced we were somehow "tricking him" into doing something that wasn't good for his child. We ended up setting him up with an advocate who explained the process and the parent was totally fine with it. I'm pretty sure an advocate would support me if I said I wanted to spend more time instructing and less time assessing the child.
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Thank you
Old 10-29-2017, 01:22 PM
 
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Thank you both - I appreciate your support and your feedback!

Haley - I'm so glad to hear you have solid relationships with the advocates in your district, that is encouraging to hear that somewhere out there, it actually does work for the best of the child !!!

Unfortunately, in this case, it doesn't seem the advocate has done much to educate the parents on the IEP process and their rights. Just the opposite - it seems this advocate is on a mission to get the most tangibles she can from the district. For example, it's written into the child's IEP that she have her own personal Chromebook, purchased by the district. This laptop needs to be loaded with apps on text to speech, speech to text, etc to help this girl "write." Again, all of this written into the IEP, which essentially means that I am to teach her how to use these apps rather than teach her how to write a well structured paragraph (she's only in the third grade, where, in my state, we would still be developing this as a skill even with gen ed students, so I'm 10,000% not convinced she NEEDS this accommodation - seems like something we'd start to consider in at least 6th grade and beyond!!!). Meanwhile, I gave all of the students a baseline writing assessment. Without even the aid of a graphic organizer, she wrote a topic sentence, three detail sentences and a conclusion. Of course, lots of run ons, spelling and grammar mistakes; to me, those are all mechanics we can work on throughout the year, but in no way did her work show me she has weaknesses in executive functioning and how she organizes her thoughts; just the opposite! I'm angry this wasn't taken into consideration at the last IEP meeting and that I'm now tasked with making this girl dependent on technology to help her with something I feel she needs NO help with!

Also, this little girl has been on an IEP for four years, her sister has been on one for one year. I have met with the mom TWICE already this year - once at our curriculum night (which ended up being a parent conference because she was the only parent to show up) and the other time was for parent/teacher conferences (again, a 30 minute session because I made sure to schedule her at the end, knowing she'd have lots of questions...yes, I know, my fault for not setting better boundaries but again, I am petrified of losing my job if these parents don't feel like she's made adequate progress so I am bending over backwards for them constantly!). Mom doesn't seem to understand that the goals are written ANNUALLY. She is looking for me to update the short term objectives/benchmarks on a MONTHLY basis, at a minimum, which means I would need to run all that data at least weekly to have enough to determine mastery on each objective, so I could have at least 4 data points (and to me, still not enough). Completely impossible given she has at least 30+ objectives, which I mentioned earlier.

This child also has a borderline IQ (71), and three different qualifiying diagnoses. Mom flat out asked me if I could "get her up to speed" so she could be fully included in the fourth grade next year. I explained she'd always need this type of a setting to be successful, because we could review and repeat skills with her, as well as work intensively on phonics (dyslexia being one of her qualifying diagnoses), which isn't explicitly taught in my state past the second grade. Mom seemed to get it. Mom also wants her to learn "life skills" like time and money, that we typically don't teach in third grade because it is not part of the common core standards. Dad berated me at parent/teacher conferences, saying that his daughter looks at her math homework and "cries" because it's "too hard." Well she can do subtraction with regrouping with about 75% accuracy, independently in my classroom, but LOVES her daddy, who is barely around due to his job so.... you get the picture... I showed him her work samples and he was "shocked" and "didn't believe she is capable" of doing this much ?!?!?!

It's been draining and I'm sorry because I know this has been mostly a vent. I am banging my head against the wall to help this little girl and I feel like, because she's not Harvard-ready tomorrow, I am being way over scrutinized. Lots of denial on the parents part, lots of over-dependence the advocate wants to see... just too much pressure on a sweet little girl who wants to do well

Thanks for reading.
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30 objectives??
Old 10-29-2017, 08:18 PM
 
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Thatís way too many objectives to keep data on. You can teach that many maybe, but not track progress on that many. You donít have to have objectives for everything you teach. In our state only two objectives are required for each goal. Why so many?? Was it the advocate who suggested that? Even so, you are the professional, the licensed Special Ed teacher. The advocate can suggest whatever but you donít have to agree. You are the case manager and therefore the childís advocate. You do whatís best for the child. 30 objectives is NOT going to give this child any better education nor is meeting every month. Explain to the advocate that progress monitoring takes time. Time to collect baseline data and time to see if instruction is effective. There is no way of knowing every month. This advocate doesnít know what they are talking about. Time to educate them and put your foot down for the sake of this child. Where is your Special Ed supervisor? Get them involved too or you may end up dealing with this advocate with more students than just one. Best of luck.


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Old 10-30-2017, 04:18 PM
 
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Thanks everyone - I've officially left all this in the hands of my chairperson. I emailed her, explained the situation and said that there is nothing written into the IEP about monthly progress conferences, so, given that her related service providers are all transient within the district, and the difficulties that would create with scheduling monthly meetings as well as the interruption of services for several students, I am holding off on scheduling anything while I wait to hear from her and what we are legally required to provide. Last year's special ed. teacher was very unhelpful to me, just telling me to refer to this child's "working folder", which did not include the last meeting's notes... so, since we are not legally bound, because again, this wasn't written into the IEP, I am going to defer to the chairperson to take the responsibility of contacting the advocate and parents and then just go from there with whatever is negotiated.

Please wish me luck - I do think I will hit my breaking point FAST if I have to report monthly progress on 30+ objectives... and to be honest, I've researched other types of positions I'd be qualified for in my area - I could easily get an office manager position (I worked for 10+years in business) and make 10k MORE than I do as a teacher with 1,000% less stress, no taking work home, etc. All of that that is looking more and more appealing to me everyday.... all thanks to this one unreasonable situation...

Thanks for reading all!
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