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Joy’s Team Scores Again!

April 17, 2012

I don’t know why God has chosen to bless us with such a great public school IEP team when so many of you continue to struggle with yours. Believe me: it isn’t because I know what I’m doing. I don’t. That’s why can unabashedly ascribe it to grace!

Here’s the scoop. Joy is part of a small cluster of kids in our district who have been attending special-ed. preschool whose parents have chosen to wait on advancing to kindergarten. Their special-ed. teachers have been feeling frustrated by the 2.5 hour day/ 4 day/week schedule.

This isn’t hard to imagine :).  In winter with one-on-one help it takes 15 minutes just to get out of snow gear, get back packs stowed in cubbies, etc., and another 15 minutes doing the same thing in reverse at the end of the day. In the two hours remaining teachers fit in: circle time, art, gym, snack, specialists, play, and teach the kids something.

So Joy’s lead teacher went to the district administration and pitched an extended-day for next fall. The administrators agreed! Those kids like Joy who are ready for a longer day can attend a four-hour class, 8 AM to noon four days per week. Even better, Joy gets to stay at our neighborhood elementary where both Hope and Mercy will be attending and all three girls will have the same school start time.

Another way to measure the blessing is this: her teachers converted six hours of prep time every week into direct time with students like Joy :).

As I mused in a recent post about Joy’s IEP, philosophically I am pro-mainstreaming kids with special needs. In fact, that will be Joy’s experience come Kindergarten. But one of the beauties of having a special-ed. option for preschool has been immersion in a learning environment that is well suited for Joy’s needs. As this new option shows, Joy’s teachers are committed to giving kids like Joy the challenges they need to grow and learn.

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