Friday, February 15, 2008

Trimester report

We had our trimesterly parent-teacher conference today with Mrs. M. This one held many fewer surprises than the last one. AJ’s been doing much better with taking on the more challenging tasks and he’s thriving with the reading partner that the teacher’s matched him up with. Mrs. M also mentioned that she’s been working with the gifted teacher to get more curriculum materials, which he’ll be starting soon. AJ is still having problems slowing down enough to pay attention to the details and having some trouble being patient with other kids when they’re not as quick as he is. And he still gets very frustrated when things don’t go the way he thinks they should (we’ve seen plenty of evidence of that at home). But some of that’s just being six, too. Most importantly, it seems like we’ve hit the right balance between more advanced but individualized curriculum and social involvement in the classroom.

Mrs. M. also had a list of steps she thought we should take to prepare for next year (I had asked her if there was anything we should be doing). Most of it is what we’re doing already – being his advocate, being involved, that kind of thing. She also told us that we should fill out a special services request form. This was news to us. It’s the same form parents fill out for children who are physically or developmentally disabled and will need extra help or equipment. We are to request curriculum modification for next year. As I understand it, the form will serve several purposes. First, it will create a paper trail on AJ, one that may give us some minimal legal protection in the event that his needs are not being met. Second, it may help the school get extra money for resources to help him. And third, it will flag AJ for special attention when he is assigned to a teacher for next year. This was exactly what I was hoping we could do, but after we were told that we couldn’t request specific teachers, I wasn’t sure we’d be able to do it.

In general, I came away with a much more positive impression of what we might be able to accomplish through the school for next year. We plan on keeping AJ there and putting some money into extracurricular programs, especially over the summer. Speaking of summer, I probably need to get on that soon. It’s hard to imagine with all this snow on the ground.

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