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Old 09-14-2012, 11:05 AM   #1
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I need help understanding modern schooling

I went to the open house for what will be DS's school next year. It was a little confusing and I was hoping that other mom's could chime in.

This year the kindergarten teacher I spoke (one of 4) with has 25 kids of which 7 were "Behavior" which is a special program for some type of behavioral issues that she said "was the last step before they are deemed unable to participate in the regular school system entirely." This seemed weird to me that these kids would be deemed at their "last stop in the system" in Kindergarten, but whatever. Having these 7 "Behavior" kids in addition to her (however many) "Inclusion" kids (anyone with an IEP) qualified her for 2 paraprofessionals who split the week, so she had 1 extra hand every day.

I know I should have asked her but- are these paraprofessionals there only for the Behavior and Inclusion kids? Or do they do stuff with the average kids too? If she had all average kids would she get no extra hand at all ?(that was the sense I was getting)

This "Behavior" program is housed only at his school, so the whole district puts all of it's "Behavior" candidates into this school. The autism spectrum program dumps into a different school, the physical handicap program is at another school, etc. This way they can meet the all of the various needs. In addition each school offers OT and speech therapy and some sort of tiny gifted program starting in 3rd grade. Additionally there is now one less recess and instead they have an "intervention period" where kids are pulled into whatever specialist they need for 30 minutes 3x a week.

Is this just the way school is these days? There was no dress-up area or play stuff at all in the room, just FILLED with these two tables and 20 tiny chairs where I can't help but imagine my little guy toiling away his childhood on worksheets.
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Old 09-14-2012, 11:13 AM   #2
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I would be looking for a different school pronto. I would homeschool the early years if there was no other option than what you described.
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Old 09-15-2012, 06:42 PM   #3
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I would be looking for a different school pronto. I would homeschool the early years if there was no other option than what you described.
This. My son is in pre-k. Pk and K are learn through play. They teach them to write and such but most time is spent playing. The room has a few little tables and a bunch of play stations. I wouldn't send him to what you are describing.
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Old 09-14-2012, 11:24 AM   #4
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Re: I need help understanding modern schooling

Interesting. I would ask about play options. As for the 'bahavior kids', these are kids that have not yet qualified for special ed, and are in the last steps of receiving interventions before they are placed in a special program. Not unusual. 25 kids with an Educational Assistant (as we call it) is pretty normal here. And the assistant helps out generally, not just paying attention to only the 'special needs' kids.

Other than no play area that sounds pretty normal these days. Maybe they have another room with play stuff? No teacher in her right mind would expect a classroom of 25 K students to do worksheets all day. If you're concerned, set a meeting with the teacher to discuss what an average day looks like, talk about what activities occur, etc.
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Old 09-14-2012, 11:35 AM   #5
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Re: I need help understanding modern schooling

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Interesting. I would ask about play options. As for the 'bahavior kids', these are kids that have not yet qualified for special ed, and are in the last steps of receiving interventions before they are placed in a special program. Not unusual. 25 kids with an Educational Assistant (as we call it) is pretty normal here. And the assistant helps out generally, not just paying attention to only the 'special needs' kids.

Other than no play area that sounds pretty normal these days. Maybe they have another room with play stuff? No teacher in her right mind would expect a classroom of 25 K students to do worksheets all day. If you're concerned, set a meeting with the teacher to discuss what an average day looks like, talk about what activities occur, etc.
It's interesting how different people can interpret the same sentences in posts totally differently. I think that you might have interpreted the OP in a completely different manner than I did.
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Old 09-14-2012, 11:33 AM   #6
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Re: I need help understanding modern schooling

That seems like a very strange set up for typical public school. It almost sounds as if it's some sort of special needs magnet school or something.

I dunno, I don't know that I have ever seen a typical public school setting like that.
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Old 09-14-2012, 11:49 AM   #7
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Re: I need help understanding modern schooling

That is a fairly standard early ed class here. Children with special needs including emotional disturbance/behavioral are intitled to a free public education by law. The schools are often attempting to provide what is required by law with the least possible amount of resources. The "behavioral" children she was refering to are likely on a path to a non-public day placement in a theraputic setting.(read SUPER expensive and paid for by the public school system) I have worked for our local public schools in various capacities(mostly special ed) in years past. I have also acted as an IEP advocate. I feel blessed that I have options for our family and choose to take advantage of the ability to homeschool for these reasons. Having taught in a school program that serviced children with emotional disturbance. It was a HUGE undertaking to manage these children and was very disruptive. I became concerned about the resources that might be left for my neurotypical children. It is sad and can be frustrating. There are so few options for children with special needs and I feel like they need the public school system more than most.
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Old 09-14-2012, 12:13 PM   #8
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Re: I need help understanding modern schooling

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That is a fairly standard early ed class here. Children with special needs including emotional disturbance/behavioral are intitled to a free public education by law. The schools are often attempting to provide what is required by law with the least possible amount of resources. The "behavioral" children she was refering to are likely on a path to a non-public day placement in a theraputic setting.(read SUPER expensive and paid for by the public school system) I have worked for our local public schools in various capacities(mostly special ed) in years past. I have also acted as an IEP advocate. I feel blessed that I have options for our family and choose to take advantage of the ability to homeschool for these reasons. Having taught in a school program that serviced children with emotional disturbance. It was a HUGE undertaking to manage these children and was very disruptive. I became concerned about the resources that might be left for my neurotypical children. It is sad and can be frustrating. There are so few options for children with special needs and I feel like they need the public school system more than most.
Would you say that after K, the majority of those kids are weeded out and placed into special ed classes that can better suit their needs, or do they continue to try to mainsteam them?
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Old 09-14-2012, 12:21 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Mom2Connor

Would you say that after K, the majority of those kids are weeded out and placed into special ed classes that can better suit their needs, or do they continue to try to mainsteam them?
In my experience they will continue to be main-streamed. Separate special Ed classes are becoming fewer and farther between.
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Old 09-14-2012, 12:21 PM   #10
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Re: I need help understanding modern schooling

Mainstreaming is by far and away the standard in public education now. Self contained classrooms are pretty unusual. Sadly these "classrooms" tend to function more as a holding area than a learning space. It is heartbreaking for these children who so badly need services and educational support. Much of it depends on the requests of the parents. Even if a child is considered MR their parents can request that they be in a mainstream classroom. The school systems really "should" be providing far more support in the way of para-professionals. IMO there is a strong lack of balance in educated special needs and typical children. We have gone from complete isolation of special needs children to placing them in standard classroom settings without any of the support they need. This places a huge burden on classroom teachers who are not trained to teach children with SN. Class sizes are large and many teachers are just trying to get through the day. Sad for all students.
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