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Old 09-15-2012, 04:40 PM   #21
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Re: I need help understanding modern schooling

Does it bother you that there are kids with special needs in your kid's class?

Early release days are common, it's a funding thing. If the school serves lunch, then they get the full funding for the day. So they have their teacher meetings on days when they have an early release. Districts are so strapped for cash these days they do everything they can for money.

The classroom might brighten up as the school year goes and the walls are covered with art projects. But Kinder these days is not Pre-K, it's a classroom and they do real academics. When I went to Kinder we just did some coloring and glueing and went home after a couple of hours. I've never seen a Kinder with a play area in the class, but they do have educational toys for centers.

Recess really varies. I thought California was light on the recess, personally. Texas isn't much better, but they get by with an extra recess by having extra physical fitness times built in the school day. I've never seen a school place so much emphasis on PE before, but it's great. They get 2 15 min recesses and after lunch they have a physical fitness time, plus they get PE every other day and Fitness Friday, which is like a huge party. The kids love it.

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Old 09-15-2012, 05:02 PM   #22
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Re: I need help understanding modern schooling

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Does it bother you that there are kids with special needs in your kid's class?
I didn't think I would, but I thought it would just be dealing with IEPs and having paras. I didn't realize that the district's entire community of kids with "Behavior" issues (whatever that means) would be my kid's peers. I suppose it will just depend up on the particular kids in his particular class his particular year. The teacher describing the program as the "last stop" didn't really inspire confidence.

In addition this school community is 20% special ed, 40% low income and 37% non-english speakers and it is the school that the homeless population that the state houses in the hotels on the highway are zoned to attend. So it is possible that many of these kids have overlapping challenges to overcome that my son won't face and I am not sure this is the right community to challenge him. OTOH it is one of the few communities around that have a gifted program and this school in particular has ELA gifted program that they start pull out for in 1st grade. However this many be just to serve the needs of those would be average students who happen to be native english speakers, they may just seem like gifted in comparison to the general population.

All schools in Mass. do special ed. inclusion so no matter where we go we will have IEPs and paras which I don't have a problem with, I don't think.
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Old 09-15-2012, 05:57 PM   #23
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I didn't think I would, but I thought it would just be dealing with IEPs and having paras. I didn't realize that the district's entire community of kids with "Behavior" issues (whatever that means) would be my kid's peers. I suppose it will just depend up on the particular kids in his particular class his particular year. The teacher describing the program as the "last stop" didn't really inspire confidence.

In addition this school community is 20% special ed, 40% low income and 37% non-english speakers and it is the school that the homeless population that the state houses in the hotels on the highway are zoned to attend. So it is possible that many of these kids have overlapping challenges to overcome that my son won't face and I am not sure this is the right community to challenge him. OTOH it is one of the few communities around that have a gifted program and this school in particular has ELA gifted program that they start pull out for in 1st grade. However this many be just to serve the needs of those would be average students who happen to be native english speakers, they may just seem like gifted in comparison to the general population.

All schools in Mass. do special ed. inclusion so no matter where we go we will have IEPs and paras which I don't have a problem with, I don't think.
Here there are IQ testing requirements for gifted, and it's not just 'above average' (higher than 115). It's not comparative to other students.
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Old 09-15-2012, 06:42 PM   #24
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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 09-15-2012, 06:46 PM   #25
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My child gets 2 30 minute recesses, time at the play stations multiple times a day, pe or music and library once a week plus a one hour nap and an hour for lunch.
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Old 09-15-2012, 07:11 PM   #26
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Re: I need help understanding modern schooling

I am saddened to hear how many of you describe your local schools, especially those for very young kids.

We will not be sending our children to public school for a variety of reasons but everytime I read thru a public school thread, I am mostly confused on the reasoning behind some policies or downright horrified in other cases.

OP, I agree with you and would trust your gut on this....research other options for your sons schooling.
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Old 09-15-2012, 07:18 PM   #27
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Re: I need help understanding modern schooling

It doesn't sound that unusual. While my kids' schools don't have "behavior kids," they do a good bit of inclusion paired with pull out programs for those who need it. My DS1 had a very challenged child in his K class that lead to his teacher having an aid who helped with everyone. It was an extremely positive and eye-opening experience for him. I still remember him picking our Bumblebee (transformer) as a valentine for this child, because "Bumblebee is a lot like 'J'. Some parts don't work quite right, but his heart is awesome."

As far as recess goes, the kids get one 20ish minute recess a day. They also get a 30 minute PE class daily. Lunch is 25 minutes. Then there's music, library, art, and technology once a week. And apparently there's a lot of singing and dancing in DD's K class as it comes home with her.

The room is set up with tables and chairs. There is a large carpet for "circle time" type activities. There are also multiple centers/stations with various hands on activities for learning.

OP, I would look at how children in your child's demographic are doing. Many times schools have test scores posted online with a breakdown of various groups, so you could look at low income groups vs non low income, ESL/ELL vs English as a fist language, various ethnic groups, etc. If the groups your child falls into are doing well...
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:40 AM   #28
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Re: I need help understanding modern schooling

As a parent of a "behavior kid" some of these posts make me really sad. But that's just the reality of the way parents with "average" kids look at kids with behavioral disabilities. It's definitely something we have been experiencing with ds. The other parents treat him, and by extension us, as though we were lepers. He just has neurological disorders. It makes me sad to think that people homeschool their kids in part because they don't want their kids around children with disabilities. At least, that's how the posts read to me.

In my kids' school to qualify for G&T you have to score in the top 3% on standardized tests. It's not that every other kid is such an idiot that they look good. Sorry, that rubbed me the wrong way. I have one kid in G&T and one on an IEP, so I am seeing both sides here. My G&T kid is in an inclusion classroom (as is my IEP kid, obviously) and I have never noticed it affecting her at all. Maybe because she lives with her brother, lol, but dd is very accepting of other children and their difficulties. I really think being exposed to a wide range of children is good for my kids, whether they are IEP kids, ESL kids or whatnot.

For my ds's class, they have 2 teachers, one with a special ed background but who teaches regular classes and one who is a special ed teacher. They also have at least on extra aid in the class. The aid is there mostly for ds, but he helps with just about everything.
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:56 AM   #29
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Re: I need help understanding modern schooling

I didn't read the other posts, but my husband is a SPED teacher, and I am over halfway through my Masters degree to do the same. We have both also been SPED paraprofessionals, so I feel I can answer your question adequately from the point of the school system (or at least ours).

It is INCREDIBLY sad that there are that many children in the school (the whole district for that matter) who are deemed as nearly unfit for public schooling in KN.

The Parapro's are paid to help the SPED kids so they tend to be priority; however, they are in the room to help with all of the students, so they should be helping with all of the kids when they can. Basically, if no SPED kids need help, that doesn't mean they should be standing around...then they should turn to the rest of the kids in the room.

Kindergarten these days is not as much about play. The standards nationwide have changed and have become more stringent earlier on (and throughout). A lot of what kids were required to know in 1st grade before is now what we are required to teach in KN now. Our KN rooms do not have play stations. This is all done in Preschool now. Because the "common core" standards are nationwide, all public schools will be doing this soon if they are not already.

My two little ones don't leave me much time to type, so I'm rushing. If there is anything else you want to know, I'd be glad to answer as best as I can. Feel free to message me. There are so many good things (and bad things) about our public schools and SPED. I'd love to tell you more if you have other things you are wondering about. Good luck with your schooling adventures!!
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Old 09-16-2012, 10:17 AM   #30
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Re: I need help understanding modern schooling

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I didn't read the other posts, but my husband is a SPED teacher, and I am over halfway through my Masters degree to do the same. We have both also been SPED paraprofessionals, so I feel I can answer your question adequately from the point of the school system (or at least ours).

It is INCREDIBLY sad that there are that many children in the school (the whole district for that matter) who are deemed as nearly unfit for public schooling in KN.

The Parapro's are paid to help the SPED kids so they tend to be priority; however, they are in the room to help with all of the students, so they should be helping with all of the kids when they can. Basically, if no SPED kids need help, that doesn't mean they should be standing around...then they should turn to the rest of the kids in the room.

Kindergarten these days is not as much about play. The standards nationwide have changed and have become more stringent earlier on (and throughout). A lot of what kids were required to know in 1st grade before is now what we are required to teach in KN now. Our KN rooms do not have play stations. This is all done in Preschool now. Because the "common core" standards are nationwide, all public schools will be doing this soon if they are not already.

My two little ones don't leave me much time to type, so I'm rushing. If there is anything else you want to know, I'd be glad to answer as best as I can. Feel free to message me. There are so many good things (and bad things) about our public schools and SPED. I'd love to tell you more if you have other things you are wondering about. Good luck with your schooling adventures!!
I'm actually stunned they said anything. Most schools are very hush hush about it. for one thing, it is a HIPPA violation to talk about a students needs to other parents or children. Another thing, it upsets parents to think that their special little snowflake will be subjected to a child with special needs in their class. Dh and I decided after the way ds has been treated by the other kids and parents to send a letter home to all the kids' parents about ds, and the school would not allow it, saying that it will just backfire and make the parents even more upset about ds being in their child's class. I guess they hide their special needs kids because other parents complain about inclusion.

Given the success of EI in most states, I'm not surprised that these kids are labeled by Kinder. Isn't that the goal of better Pediatric screenings and EI to find these kids as young as possible so they may get the help they need at a younger age?
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