Parent Requests and accomodating IEP/504 plans

January 1, 2014 at 7:41 pm 469 comments

504

Switching the previous topic to be more general.

We were discussing the topic of how much parents can request a teacher to ask for specific accommodations to help the child succeed in class.   Some kids need extra help getting organized (this has been a challenge for my kids,) some need reminders to do things, to stay on task (my son’s teacher helped us out with this last year,) certain placements in the room.   With large CPS classes, how much is too much to ask of a teacher?  If 10 out of 30 kids has special requirements, is that fair to the teacher?    Conversely, shouldn’t the teachers want to step up to do what’s needed to help each child succeed?  Should the help with learning the material/curriculum be the top priority above teaching kids things like responsibility and organization skills?

Parents can now get formal 504 plans written for kids with these issues to require teachers to fulfill some of these special needs.

I’m curious to hear from parents or teachers who have experienced this, to see what types of behavioral, processing, executive functioning, attention, sensory issues can be included in a 504 plan.

Some readers had also asked whether RGC (Regional Gifted Center) and I assume Classical school parents were more extreme in making demands on a teacher.   My son’s class has seemed generally laid back, but of course I don’t know about specific situations.  I have to imagine that parents of kids who are gunning for Academic Centers and SEHS are going to be more intrusive/demanding about the grades and test scores in 5th and 7th grade, and there are likely more of those parents in RGCs.   I know from my sister in law who has taught in Naperville for a long time that it’s just assumed that many of the parents are like that.  Perhaps there’s a socio economic link?

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469 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Cheryl  |  January 1, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    A 504 is specifically for those students who are on medication, for what ever the medical reason. A parent can not request a 504 just because he/she thinks their child has special needs.

  • 2. chiteacher  |  January 1, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    And they need to have a documented medical need (i.e. asthma) or disability (iADHD)

  • 3. HS Mom  |  January 1, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    “A 504 is specifically for those students who are on medication”

    False – medication is not a requirement

  • 4. cpsobsessed  |  January 1, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    A lot of kids seem to qualify for ADD or ADHD these days. So if I get my son diagnosed with one of these, then what happens in terms of piecing together the specific requests for the classroom? (this is hypothetical.)

    He does have trouble remembering to bring stuff home fairly often. So say I got him diagnosed, would I then have CPS make recommendations for a plan for the teacher to help him get organized at the end of the day?

  • 5. HS Mom  |  January 1, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    http://www.ncld.org/students-disabilities/iep-504-plan/is-504-plan-right-for-my-child

    “504 plans are developed by school teams and parents to support the educational needs of a K–12 student with a disability that “substantially limits one or more major life activity” such as: learning, speaking, listening, reading, writing, concentrating, caring for oneself, etc. A 504 plan is a good option for a K–12 student if:

    The child has an identified learning disability (LD) or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) but does not meet the requirements of IDEA for special education services and supports
    The child is currently receiving informal accommodations or ongoing support at school”

  • 6. chiteacher  |  January 1, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    I had a student last year who took medication for ADHD. I observed that he had difficultly sitting still and focusing on the task at hand so I spoke to our Case Manager about creating a 504 plan for him. His mom was on board. I work in a lower income community with minimal parental involvement. We had a meeting with the parent and our grade level’s SPED teacher and created it. We didn’t include an accommodations for classroom instruction – only for formal assessments (ISAT, NWEA, Interim Assessments).

  • 7. HS Mom  |  January 1, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    CPSO – here’s another section of that link

    “Sometimes, teachers or schools will provide informal or “undocumented” accommodations, support, or services to students as a way to shore up their daily learning. They may share this with you in a casual way and your first reaction may be to just agree to it and allow the school to use their best judgment about your child’s learning needs. While their efforts may be well-intentioned and may also be helpful to the child in the short-term, it is inappropriate for such informal accommodations to be provided in any ongoing way—especially if they aren’t formally agreed to between the school and the family. Why? Because, if in fact your child needs these accommodations and the teacher or school suspects they have a learning disability or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, they are obligated to do more than casually accommodate him. They must, in fact, provide an evaluation to determine the cause of the child’s ongoing need.

    Also, if your child receives these informal accommodations on a frequent basis and needs them due to a qualifying disability or disorder, you want to make sure you have the paperwork (i.e., documentation) they will need later in life (e.g., when applying for accommodations for the SAT or ACT) or, when they leave that particular school or classroom. It’s important for you to talk with the school, and if you believe they are supporting your child due to any suspicion of an LD or ADHD, you should ask in writing for your child to be evaluated.”

  • 8. Teacher  |  January 1, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    What if you just made your son a chart / list yourself? He can keep it in his desk or book bag, and he has to check it off before he leaves school. Does he have a cell phone? He could set an alarm for 5 minutes before he leaves school check things before he leaves. Things like : write homework assignment down, check with a friend if he is unsure of what the Hw is, bring books home, etc. Give him an incentive when he completes his chart and start to be more organized. A good life skill – teaches him to be responsible for himself. When he doesn’t have his things for home, he gets a logical consequence- a zero on a homework assignment, forgot his glasses and then cannot see the TV at home, didn’t bring a permission slip for a field trip so he misses the trip.. And calmly explain those consequences and encourage him to remember his checklist.

  • 9. HS Mom  |  January 1, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    8 – Speaking generally, not about any one situation, those are all excellent suggestions unless the child really does have ADHD. If a child really has a disability, how many zeros on homework does it take before the grade suffers. Forcing a kid with ADHD to suffer the consequences in order to learn will mean that the kid will do a lot of suffering of consequences.

  • 10. Teacher  |  January 1, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    Are you familiar with RTI?

  • 11. JLM  |  January 1, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    I’m kind of thrown back that 13.3% of students (1 in 7.5) in CPS are considered disabled and require special education. What happens when these kids are no longer kids and IEPs and 504s no longer apply? I cannot imagine an employee telling a boss that they need twice the amount of time to complete a project because they have ADHD.

    I know this may sound flippant, but I’m being serious. Do kids outgrow these conditions? Get medication that helps enough to work full-time? Work in fields that don’t require intense concentration and aren’t time-sensitive (not sure what those would be)? My sister has 3 kids, all with ADHD, all with IEPs. It takes her hours daily to do homework with her middle child. What happens to him when he’s an adult?

  • 12. anonymouse teacher  |  January 1, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    Not that anyone is saying this, but just fyi, schools and teachers are not even allowed to suggest the remote possibility that a child might have adhd. We can request an evaluation based on learning issues or behavioral ones, but staff can’t ever even refer to adhd as a possibility. The reason for this is that if a staff member does, and it turns out the child sees his/her pediatrician and does have add/adhd, the school is then liable for the costs of the medical care involved. Yes, seriously. So, no teacher will ever say “I think your child has adhd”. Last year, when behavioral issues came up with my son, I asked for an eval for him, including asking the school to do whatever they could regarding adhd. It was semi-hilarious to me how everyone leaned back in their chairs and said virtually nothing when I used “adhd” in a sentence. I laughed and said, “I know you can’t say you think he might have adhd, don’t worry, I’m not going to sue you!”
    They gave me a Conner’s scale filled out by his teacher, then I filled it out and it confirmed that he’s just very impulsive and active and not adhd. (we showed our pediatrician and she agreed) But, yeah, at my school teachers are strictly warned to never suggest any kind of medical diagnosis such as adhd.

  • 13. anonymouse teacher  |  January 1, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    cpso, you said, “If 10 out of 30 kids has special requirements, is that fair to the teacher? Conversely, shouldn’t the teachers want to step up to do what’s needed to help each child succeed?”

    I’m of two minds about this. One, every kid in every classroom has special requirements, some are just more significant than others. So, one part of me thinks, hey, special needs are the deal. Two, legally, there is a certain percentage of kids with IEPs (not sure about 504′s) that can be placed in any single homeroom. Given that cps class sizes run about 30, 10 is 30%, which I think is the limit. (someone correct me if I’m wrong) On the other hand, based on that I think 30 kids is too many to begin with, I also happen to think having 30% of the kids in a room needing special accommodations is pretty cruel to both the teacher and the students in the room. Typically, in the situations I’ve seen, when a teacher has that many special needs kids in a room either means, a) she is known to do excellent work or b) the admin wants to get rid of her or c) the admin is doing educational “triage” by placing all the special needs kids together in one room, essentially writing them off, hoping that the remaining rooms have a chance without having to make all kinds of modifications. I know that’s terrible, but that’s reality.

    Yes, teachers should want to step up and do what’s needed for each kid. And yes, I believe most try. I had a parent at report card pick up ask me, “can you offer harder work for my child in subject x?” I had already been doing that through reading groups, but now I do that by also providing her with extra/more difficult homework. That’s easy to take care of. I’ve personally met parents on off hours when they can’t make it on conference days, made visual cueing charts for kids who need it, offered transition support (John, in 3 minutes, we’ll be cleaning up, etc), sent home daily behavior notes, etc. This is what teachers should do and most teachers will do. I don’t understand the teachers who don’t or won’t.
    But on the other hand, I have a student, and I won’t go into great detail, but who has serious behavior issues. The sheer amount of documentation needed to get him the help he needs is overwhelming. I’m talking more than 18 weeks of intensely detailed charts and notes and even then, I’ve been told he will probably only get 30 minutes of social work a week at the end of the designated documentation time. I’ve gotten next to NO help with him outside my own grade level team. Its kind of depressing to know that the “process” takes this long (or until he injures someone or hits an adult, then the process miraculously can be sped up).

    And yes, teachers can and should help with both content and organizational skills. I teach reading and how to tie shoes, math and how to put a coat on, science and how to ask for the block without grabbing it out of someone else’s hand, writing and how to put one’s papers in the folder neatly. Upper grades have different types of skills to learn, but sometimes showing kids how to get organized or how to complete basic life skills goes a long way towards making a teacher’s life (and the student’s life) easier.

  • 14. anonymouse teacher  |  January 1, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    @10, I know you weren’t speaking to me, but RTI? Yes, its both a horrible and wonderful thing. Would be wonderful if we actually had the staff needed to offer what it is supposed to offer. As is? Its a terrible mess and really problematic.

  • 15. HS Mom  |  January 1, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    @10 – no doubt having systems in place and establishing routines is all very helpful, useful and as much a teaching moment for a child with ADHD as any other child. But, you cannot penalize them for being forgetful that’s just cruel and not a situation that they can or will learn from. If a child needs continual prompting it may be a sign of an underlying issue and it’s in their best interest to get an evaluation and a plan if deemed necessary.

    @12 Anon teacher – what you say makes sense but teachers can bring up the issues to the parent without saying the kid may have LD/ADHD. You are in a position that makes you a bit more savvy working with kids. Some people wonder for years, not able to put their finger on it.

  • 16. anonymouse teacher  |  January 1, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    The most I can say is “have you considered talking to your pediatrician about these issues?” or “what does your child’s pediatrician say?” Right now, CPS is so spooked about getting sued (I’m thinking some big law suits went through in the last few years, because I used to suggest this as a possibility years ago with no issue) that we spent 20 minutes of staff meetings at the start of the year discussing this issue. My principal has stopped just short of letting us know our jobs are on the line if we suggest a kid has adhd to a parent.

  • 17. Mom and Teacher  |  January 1, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    I had a student a few years ago whose 504 required me to stop by his desk every 10 minutes to make sure he was on task. (this is h.s. and he was 16 years old.) it also required me to make sure, every day, that he wrote down his assignments in his planner, which he more often than not forgot to bring to class. I also had to provide him with additional material on whatever concept we were covering so that he could do additional work at home. I think that he got sick of teachers always standing over him. He would get sarcastic every now and then saying “I know what I’m doing.” However, there was no way, with such an intense mother, that I was not going to be in compliance. Most of us felt sorry for him because he didn’t need so much attention.

    I also wonder what happens after high school. No employer is going to say, “Oh, let me write that down for you” , “Have you completed today’s work?” or “Why don’t you take 50% more time to complete that project.”

  • 18. anonymouse teacher  |  January 1, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    @17, Holy crap. That’s just over the top and sounds a lot like what one might do for an 8 year old, not a 16 year old. Its things like that, with too many other things that need to be done, that are pushing teachers out of the profession.

  • 19. HS Mom  |  January 1, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    @17 Isn’t a teacher along with a host of other staff supposed to be at the required meeting expressly for the purpose of determining the proper accommodations?

    “I also wonder what happens after high school. No employer is going to say, “Oh, let me write that down for you” , “Have you completed today’s work?” or “Why don’t you take 50% more time to complete that project.””

    It’s really not that big of an issue because ADHD kids become the business owners, bosses, stock traders, inventors, tech gurus, accomplished artists, go-getters, movers and shakers. They pay other people to keep them organized. Not the “sit behind the desk” type. Doubting? Just ask some of your fellow teachers with ADHD – the enthusiastic ones with the stimulating discussions.

  • 20. Veteran  |  January 1, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    #11. 13% is the national average although CPS neighborhood schools can have populations around 20%-neighborhood high schools sometimes have 30% special education

    http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2012/01/25/state-special-education-rates/14849/

    #19 Well said….The public needs to educate themselves on famous, successful people who also had/have learning disabilities.

    I know teachers and administrators who rely on electronic devices for reading and spelling…..their special education programs allowed them to receive an education and learn how to compensate for their disability (usually the bright children with learning disabilities do learn how to work around the disability as they get older) It the primary grades they may need more services which allows them to progress with the help of the sped teacher in small groups, assistive tech or with different materials.
    Early intervention is so important. The large class size in CPS is very detrimental to children who are distractible. Even the best teacher will find it difficult if not impossible to teach 33 students with 10 IEP students.
    The suburbs generally have low class size and para support for IEP students in the gen ed rooms. CPS does not, so the conditions create lots of problems for the students with disabilities.

  • 21. JH1  |  January 1, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    “False – medication is not a requirement”

    Nor is having a real disease/disorder a requirement if they are counting ADHD. As the physchiatrist who invented it eventually admitted: “ADHD is a prime example of a fictitious disease”. However, it is a good way to scam the system or blame poor performance. Hey, let’s drug the kids up and give them special plans. That will help. LOL.

  • 22. anonymouse teacher  |  January 1, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    @21, seriously? Come on.

  • 23. Veteran  |  January 1, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    #21 http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/adhd/DS00275/DSECTION=causes
    Please research attention deficit……tell the mother of the fourth grader who cried when her son received his first “A” on a test AFTER he was prescribed medication for his attention deficit disorder that it is a “fictitious disease”….this mother fought with her husband and family because they “thought he was not paying attention on purpose and that he would turn into drug addict”….this mother advocated for her son and he went from Fs and misbehavior to really good grades and appropriate behaviors…..he graduated from college and has a government job……this was an amazing story to witness…..

  • 24. Sped Mom  |  January 1, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    Oh, dear. So much misinformation here.

  • 25. Sped Mom  |  January 1, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    And as I’m reflecting over the past year, I now believe all the evaluations and IEPs and 504s in the world aren’t worth a hill of beans if the child does not thrive educationally as a result. No longer holding my breath waiting for that – educational results – from any school ever again.

  • 26. Teacher  |  January 2, 2014 at 12:40 am

    I (also) was not trying to diagnose or make light of disabilities. I think it is important to teach our children life skills that they can use in and out of school. As adults, we use checklists all the time: grocery lists, to do lists, etc. In my classroom, I work hard to help my students be as independent as they can be. Others describe it as “working yourself out of a job.” I might have a substitute teacher, and I need my students to know what they are supposed to do if I am not there. A checklist can be a step by step reminder of what to do. I notice my students are more reflective and sometimes talking to themselves asking or reminding themselves of what to do next.

    Look into checklists for a New Year goal: http://www.csun.edu/%7Ekrowlands/Content/Academic_Resources/Assessment/Rowlands-EJ%20Checklist%20article.pdf

    Obviously, this is not a quick fix, but checklists are a great way to help your child develop organizational skills and be more aware of what he is doing. Checklists can help students with or without disabilities.

  • 27. Counterpoint for discussion  |  January 2, 2014 at 1:41 am

    I don’t want a doctor with a 504/IEP plan.
    I don’t want a lawyer with a…..
    I don’t want a banker with a….
    I don’t want a pilot with a ……….

    Progressives are coddling people that will end up hurting society because of their inability to make quick decisions in stressful situations. Treat all kids equal. If they can’t take the test within the time limits and within the format that it is offered, they deserve the F+.

    That’s what made America great.

  • 29. Mom and Teacher  |  January 2, 2014 at 10:12 am

    @19 A classroom teacher needs to be present for an IEP or 504. However, it does not need to be a specific classroom teacher. I also agree, they probably do pay others to keep them organized!!! Very well said. : )

    I am certainly not making light of leaning disabilities. My son has had learning challenges since elementary school. In my post, I was trying to highlight the time necessary to spend on that one student. In a classroom of 34 students, that is a lot of time.

    I completely agree that there are many children who benefit from 504 and the medical advice upon a diagnosis of ADHD. Sadly, I have also seen students put on medications for “anxiety” with a parent comment of “it’s just a plus that the ACT is around the corner!” (This was all with doctor’s prescription.) I think it’s fair to be honest that parents also know how to work the medical system as well.

  • 30. MW  |  January 2, 2014 at 10:34 am

    @27 Substitute the words “black,” “Jew,” or “person with AIDS” for “with a 504/IEP plan” and note how ignorant you sound. Please go educate yourself and spare the rest of us.

  • 31. cpsmom&teacher  |  January 2, 2014 at 11:05 am

    I urge parents of middle-school-aged “diverse learners” (CPS’ new terminology for students with an IEP or 504) to please ask for full day support that includes science, writing and social studies, and not just partial day support for reading and math.

    Parents without a diverse learner; ask your child’s teacher how many diverse learners are in your child’s class. Often at-level or above level students are left to their own resources while the diverse learners receive the majority of the teacher’s attention. High numbers of students with IEP’s (4-5 or more depending on student behavior- I have one class with 14 IEP’s) very much affects the depth of what is being taught in each class and how hands on a teacher can be with at-level and above level students.

    The majority of middle school students with IEP’s get pull-out minutes and/or a diverse learning co-teacher in the classroom when learning reading and math. However, middle school IEPs often ignore departmentalized science, writing and social studies. The teachers of these subjects are still required to make eye contact every 10 minutes, stop by desk, ask questions with two choice options, ask student to privately repeat directions, provide student with checklist etc. However, these teachers do not recieve the same support of co-teaching and collaborative planning as the reading and math teachers do. These teachers are truly on their own.

    Parents of diverse learners need to know their chilldren are being supported for only a part of their learning day. Full day support can be provided, but parents need a spine of steel at IEP meetings to push for the same depth of support in science, writing and social studies as received in reading and math.

  • 32. Esmom  |  January 2, 2014 at 11:24 am

    @11: “I know this may sound flippant, but I’m being serious. Do kids outgrow these conditions?”

    I think if the system works the way it’s supposed to, the kids will be able to find their way as adults. My son has had an IEP since he was 3, for an autism spectrum disorder. He started out with a high level of support/accommodations and as he’s gotten older and made gains, his support has gradually been dialed back. I realize we are very fortunate that we found the right setting and the right supports within CPS (until we left in fifth grade but that’s another story).

    One disturbing thing I observed at our CPS school, which actually ties to the previous post, was parents pursuing an IEP or 504 for their child starting in about 3rd or 4th grade when they realized it would give the child an edge in getting into a SEHS. The scores required for admission are much lower for special ed kids and I believe a certain number of seats are allotted for them at each of the schools.

    As a parent who would have given anything to have her child’s life be less difficult and to live life as just a “regular kid,” it was hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that parents actually wanted their kids to be labeled as “special needs” for that reason. Talk about gaming the system.

  • 33. Veteran  |  January 2, 2014 at 11:44 am

    #31 You are so right. Many schools have closed all of their self-contained programs in order to free up space and literally have dumped the students with disabilities into gen ed with little of no support.
    At these schools the sped teachers tout “full inclusion” and no one is pulled out “so they can be like everyone else-too embarrassing etc-CPS excuse of the year. Then the child from this “wonderful” school with this “advanced inclusion program” transfers the ……hits the fan.
    Entire schools on the crowded southwest side do not “allow” the sped teachers to pull out students-another totally illegal practice rampant in CPS. The children with disabilities are in gen ed with the gen ed teacher the majority, if not all, of the day. I have seen IEPS from these schools where there is NO growth shown on achievement tests yet the services were not increased-yet these school passed the CPS “audit” A seventh grader with a second grade reading level needs pull-out services in a small group away from the distractions in the gen ed classroom and a gen ed teacher cannot/should not be expected to provide those services.

  • 34. IEP  |  January 2, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Edmom – glad your child had early intervention. Don’t assume those who didn’t are gaming the system. Cps teachers ignore learning issues and cps wants to delay evaluations as long as possible. Oftentimes it takes to 4th grade or beyond to finally realize cps is giving you bs as a parent. Sounds like you had ideal situation. I’ve seen tons of families who were not so fortunate – some not getting evaluation until h.s. And cps is not standing around letting parents game the system. Instead students are being denied Evaluations and services. Only getting worse with RTI.

  • 35. CarolA  |  January 2, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    @34: MOST CPS teachers do not ignore learning issues. Yes, CPS wants to delay evaluations as long as possible for whatever their reason…usually money. You are right that it usually takes years to get anything done. As a first grade teacher, I have just recently completed an evaluation process for a student in my room who we have been trying to get diagnosed with an IEP since preschool. It takes documentation and more documentation only to be told that we need to give more time to see if they “outgrow” it. PLEASE, they will not outgrow it. Those who have taught for many years can easily detect a child who is just immature vs a child who has learning disabilities. Can we be wrong sometimes….yes, but highly unlikely. Don’t assume it’s the teacher who is to blame. I always tell my parents….. CPS doesn’t listen to me, but they will listen to you as a parent. The squeaky wheel gets the oil. Remember to sign the paperwork and DATE it. That’s the key as well as making copies of EVERYTHING to keep at home. Things will more than likely “get lost”.

  • 36. anonymouse teacher  |  January 2, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    I completely echo what Carol is saying. Parents, if you think something is wrong, put a request in writing, and date it (this is especially important) and you might even want to either deliver it by certified mail or ask for a receipt from the clerk. I’m not kidding.
    I can’t tell you how many kids are being denied services for reasons xyz. My kindergarten colleagues and I are exhausted by the sheer amount of documentation we must have (I have literally 50+ pages of documentation on one child and he’s not getting help). Our running joke (which really isn’t funny) is that we know the kid isn’t going to get help this year but maybe the next or maybe in 2nd grade since 3rd grade is a big testing year.
    I could go on and on but I don’t want to get into too many details. I used to love my job and this year? I dread going to work every single morning even though I love my students. I just dread it because I can’t do the work I want to do. I feel like I am being set up to fail and I hate my district because of it. (and yes, I look for other jobs every single night)

  • 37. CarolA  |  January 2, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    @36anon: You’re right..it’s not funny at all…but the truth is we say the same thing at my school. Being in the primary grades, they don’t listen to us as teachers and delay as much as possible. However, they start to take it seriously when the 3rd grade benchmarks are banging on the door. Sad to say…..test driven. We start in preschool, Kdg, or first grade HOPING that they will be serviced by 2nd or 3rd grade. My student getting evaluated this year (trying since preschool) is a true miracle. AND…it only happened BECAUSE we BEGGED the parent to be aggressive and get the paperwork started and SIGNED! Parents count on us for the IEP process…..please don’t……it’s YOU that matters! We will support you all the way, but support doesn’t get the job done. SIGN AND DATE THOSE PAPERS! :)

  • 38. Counterpoint for discussion  |  January 2, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    To: 28 and 30
    From :30
    Hi 28, the prepared display of famous people with learning issues is not representative of the learning disabled population. Did you happen to point out that many of their strengths that contributed to their success had nothing to do with academia? Ex: Suzie Summers (SP) was a knock out blond. Cher and Tom Cruse have similiar attributes. A weak presentation, but you tried.

    Hi 30, your substitution of word choice is an often used technique but it doen’t help to answer the question…Do you want a doctor with a 504/IEP plan?

    If you do, I am also under the impression that you would also want that same doctor under Obamacare?

    It’s sad, the progressive world rewards sub par performance while displacing higher achieving students.

  • 39. cpsmom&teacher  |  January 2, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    @ Veteran
    I have 7th graders with K-2 reading levels in with gened science classes.

    In the past, diverse learners (IEPs/504s) in the regular classroom were supposed to be able to access curriculum concepts (with accommodations/modifications) despite learning disabilities, but that rule of thumb is no longer being follwed. Learning scientific notation and even Punnett Squares (with understanding for application of F1 – F2 generations) is an impossibility for these students; even if I did have a co-teacher. It frustrates many students and they become behavior problems. These are kids who have never had behavior problems before. I can often talk an adolescent student back from frustration (try to rebuild their self-esteem) but that doesn’t change their needs, and this scenario is repeated daily. During these times, gened students are sidelined. This full inclusion is unfortunate as all our students are being heaped into a larger population.

    This without acknowledgement of our gifted students’ placement in today’s classrooms.

  • 40. LUV2Europe  |  January 2, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    38 “It’s sad, the progressive world rewards sub par performance while displacing higher achieving students” sounds like a definitiion of the cps tier system. . . Have a sped teacher pal who taught 1year in cps because of the inefficient IEP 504 system. Those students who obvioulsy needed help were not getting it, the meetings never happened and she was advised to NOT talk to the parents. She said most of the “foreign” parents had no idea about services and CPS wanted to keep it that way.

  • 41. Esmom  |  January 2, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    @IEP, I have no beef with parents getting their kids evaluated later than we did if they have legitimate issues. Girls, especially, tend to fall through the cracks and it can indeed take years before a true picture of their learning style/issues emerges. My problem was the parents who flat out admitted to wanting an IEP or 504 with an eye toward h.s. admission, essentially manufacturing issues that didn’t exist. Along with gaming the system, talk about wasting teachers’ valuable time…

  • 42. CarolA  |  January 2, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    @41: You have a valid point about the difference between those truly in need of services and those who want an edge on testing/placement. Keep in mind (at least it’s been my experience) that in order to get the evaluation process completed, the documentation needs to show that their has been significant and varied help from both the teacher and parent AND that there hasn’t been any significant gains with that help over a long period of time. In other words, one of the only reasons my student was approved this year is because “on tests” and doing classroom work, he/she hasn’t shown any significant gains in any subject over time. If your child is getting “C’s” and you think they could potentially get “A’s and B’s”, that isn’t going to fly.

  • 43. Esmom  |  January 2, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    “If your child is getting “C’s” and you think they could potentially get “A’s and B’s”, that isn’t going to fly.”

    I think the point of the parents seeking services is not so that their child could improve his or her grades but so that he/she could then get a “C” or two in 7th grade and still be admitted to a SEHS since the admissions standards are lower for that population. Grr. Makes me mad to think that it might really be happening, which takes away spots from kids who truly deserve them and truly do have special needs. It’s akin to the address fudging that was recently discussed, but somehow even more egregious to me.

  • 44. RL Julia  |  January 2, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    it’s a double edged sword. It would seem that CPS holds kids to a baseline of standards (averaged) regardless of whether that developmental switch has been flipped or not and marks kids appropriately. Thus, my daughter was marked down in first grade because she reversed her letters while writing. The teacher made sure we knew that it wasn’t anything to worry about – that she’d get there eventually (which she did). but that she had to mark her down because it was the first grade grading rubric (or whatever) required to assess that particular skill and if you weren’t there yet, you got the check mark as being inadequate. While I am of two minds – by middle school, kids do need to be able to do certain things, however, it would be nice to see a better way of dealing with kids whose developmental switches just haven’t been flipped yet. I hear of too many kids who are disorganized who are not supported in attaining good organizational skills – seems like CPS is more cold turkey on this – who then are marked down for their disorganization which seems more a maturity problem than anything else.

  • 45. Sped Mom  |  January 2, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    SEHS admission standards are different for IEP kids? I know that the eligibility to test is different (stanines) but I din’t know they got in with lower scores. What’s the real deal?

  • 46. Sped Mom  |  January 2, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Counterpoint for discussion: Don’t worry, man. You’ll just be paying more taxpayer dollars later down the pipeline because the system missed getting these kids educated and set up for adult life when they were still young. But, the prison system and other trunks of the later pipe make money for someone.

  • 47. Marni Willenson  |  January 2, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Dear counterpoint for discussion,

    Not surprisingly, you have chosen to continue to remain anonymous. The reason civil rights advocates will substitute one category for another to point out the bigotry behind attitudes such as yours is because the analogies work. Fortunately, your views do not represent the majority, as we as a country have adopted the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, which protect people with disabilities from discrimination. These laws — passed, reauthorized and strengthened with the support of such radicals as war hero Bob Dole — each include the requirement that employers provide workplace accommodations for employees with all manner of disabilities. So in response to what you believe to be a provocative question, yes, not only do I want individuals with disabilities to work as doctors, airline pilots and in other essential positions, I assume that countless professionals whom I encounter on a daily basis do have such disabilities. Moreover, their workplace accommodations are the equivalent of the 504 plans and IEPs that students with disabilities are provided in order to facilitate learning and academic success. Thankfully for the rest of us, the large majority of the country moved beyond your reactionary views 40 years ago.

    Marni Willenson

  • 48. HS Mom  |  January 2, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    @42 – that rule doesn’t apply to a 504 only an IEP. 504 students are not given SEHS preference.

    If the student has a learning disability but able to get good grades that will prevent them from getting an IEP/services they may need. In effect, parents who use their own resources or spend hours after school and on weekends tutoring and preparing their kid so that they can keep up are penalized.

    It’s a tough life for a kid. People who think these kids are taking a spot away from a more deserving “higher achieving student” even though they work twice as hard to earn and demonstrate the same abilities are sadly misjudging the situation.

    If a parent doesn’t step in and the child fails then IEP is allowed and they’ll get all these great services. Right….. It’s not something that is easy to fake. It’s not something you want to do it’s something you have to do. If anything, getting a 504/IEP is difficult and often denied to kids who really need it.

  • 49. Esmom  |  January 2, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    @49, I agree on all counts, especially the fact that some kids have to work so much harder than others to achieve the same result. My son struggles 24/7 to do the things many “typical” kids take for granted and ends each day exhausted and sometimes filled with despair at how hard some things can be. Yet with the support he’s had — and a determination like no other kid I know — he’s working at grade level, playing an instrument and sports and I will be forever grateful for all the dedicated professionals and teachers who have helped him along the way.

    I didn’t mean to imply that kids with IEPs are taking away spots from higher achieving kids. To clarify, I am outraged that kids with IEPs who don’t really need them are taking away spots from kids with legitimate special needs, who can benefit greatly from the services and programs provided at SEHSs.

    But I also agree that it can be extremely difficult to get an IEP. Which is why it boggled my mind to hear that some parents were trying to go that route.

  • 50. HS Mom  |  January 2, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Esmom – I appreciate all your comments. Someone else above commented on higher achieving students displaced by 504/IEP students…..it’s not even worth discussing.

  • 51. HS Mom  |  January 2, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    @20 “Sadly, I have also seen students put on medications for “anxiety” with a parent comment of “it’s just a plus that the ACT is around the corner!” ”

    I don’t know of anyone with a 504 for anxiety which doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. I doubt that our school would allow it. Even if they did, all the standardized tests, SAT and AP tests governed by the College Board require separate approval for accommodations. I can tell you that they absolutely do not allow any special testing conditions for a condition that is solely documented by a doctors diagnosis. You must provide a whole litany of tests to substantiate the need. Also, the ACT has it’s own approval process. Not as extensive in the way of testing but they require an application from the school detailing the conditions before they will allow accommodations. There are no high school tests that are given on the basis of the 504 or IEP. These parents are drugging their kid for nothing.

    Also, as a side note to that, to those who do have a real need, it takes several months to get the documentation so don’t be blindsided when the time comes.

  • 52. cpsmom&teacher  |  January 2, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    I currently have a student with a 504 for test anxiety. The student gets additional time for classroom tests but not standardized tests.

    I have not seen a student get an IEP who doesn’t really need one. Too often it’s the children who do need them that don’t. More often I have parents arguing not to “label” their child. This rumor of parents pushing for services for children who don’t need them may take on urban legend proportions if teachers don’t speak up now. Getting an IEP for a child requires hours and hours of documentation from a teacher (usually multiple teachers). This is one area in which CPS parents do not need to worry.

  • 53. KMB  |  January 2, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    How easy is it to get a 504 plan? I assume that it does not take nearly as much documentation?

  • 54. Counterpoint for discussion  |  January 2, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    To 47:
    Hi,
    Great word choice with “Reactionary.” Your right on. My whole point is to reverse the movement or tendency to embrace the 504/IEP Plans. My motives are to show the full effect that these practices must take when fully implemented. Your view that you would like a doctor to practice brain surgery on you with a 504/IEP Plan puts a smile on my face. When the time comes and there are two doctors; one with and one without a 504 plan, I’m sure you’ll want the one without attention issues working upon your noggin’.

    Remember, I’m a red blooded American, not your enemy. My goal is to have a superior results oriented country. Think about if a 504 plan was provided for track runners. Ex: A stouter runner gets 3 seconds taken off his/her time because their doctor says they need it. Not quite fair for the better runner isn’t it. That goes the same way for the academic decathloete.

    PS: NSA knows who all of us are, and the point of a blog is to exchange open thoughts that cause introspection. I’m glad that my thoughs are causing you to devote time to this unfair issue so that society can hear both sides.

  • 55. cpsmom&teacher  |  January 2, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    @ KMB
    From my experience getting a 504 plan requires a behavioral history, medical diagnosis aided by repeat teacher observations (medication not necessary), a file of student work spanning several months showing progress before and after interventions, documentation of dates and outcomes of interventions that did/didn’t work. It can take a little less than a school year, if started early and requires doctor, parent, teacher and case worker to be in agreement. IEPs are lengthier because of the testing and tiers of interventions that are additionally involved. The time and paperwork is considerable.

    What is key is; if a student responds to interventions implemented by the classroom teacher he/she will NOT be considered for an IEP/504.

  • 56. CarolA  |  January 2, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Isn’t it true that for anything in life, some people find it easy and others have to work harder for it? Maybe those same people reverse their capabilities when it comes to another activity. For example….I’m good at science, but not so good at social studies. I find science very easy to teach and I have to dig deeper to find resources and exciting things to teach social studies. It doesn’t make me better or worse for it. My daughter worked really hard in high school in math. I paid for a tutor for her. Regardless, the best grade she could get was a “C” and we were thankful for it. I didn’t expect her to get an “A” for all her effort. As far as getting a lower grade for making letters backwards……were you expecting an “A” because she was trying so hard? Basically speaking, the CPS grading system is set up that “C” means work is satisfactory or at grade level. “B” means above grade level. “A” means substantially above grade level. I’m not sure backwards letters in first grade would be considered substantially above grade level. By the same token, if a child is really struggling, penmanship would be the least of my worries. Something to let go I’d say.

  • 57. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 2, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    49. Esmom | January 2, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    So glad your son is receiving the support he needs through an IEP at CPS and sounds like he is doing very well. Thank you for posting that. It’s good to hear abt the good things at CPS too. I have no knowledge on IEP or 504 plans, but I’m so glad it’s working out for your son. Happy New Year!

  • 58. pantherparent  |  January 2, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    I was sitting this one out until I read @52 and Test Anxiety Disorder. My first thought was, come on. Really? This exists? And the student gets extra time?

    I looked it up and the ADAA says it’s real. One of the causes is fear of failure and one of the symptoms is comparing yourself to others. Isn’t that exactly why we have tests?

    This is the problem. Apparently there are no bad students anymore, just kids with learning disabilities. And that minimizes the compassion (and resources) for kids with actual learning disabilites.

  • 59. KMB  |  January 2, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Are the requirements in a 504 plan specific or can they be left to parent/teacher interpretation? Also are the plans readily available to the teacher?

  • 60. anonymouse teacher  |  January 2, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    cpso, regarding parents in certain schools being more demanding than others: My neighbor teaches in a popular private school in the burbs. She and her colleagues are constantly being required to change grades when parents complain to the administration. Offering extra credit, extra work, ways to “make up” the failed assignments, etc. She’s quitting at the end of the year after 25 years in, partly because well, she’s only making 40K a year with a graduate degree and partly because she is being forced to give grades the kids have not earned. This is just one story, so can’t say if its representative.

  • 61. cpsmom&teacher  |  January 2, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    From my experiences- student history, diagnosis, samples of student work with long term classroom teacher documentation of before/after interventions listing outcomes are consistent with loads of room for interpretation therein. (Any 504 I’ve worked with has been accompanied by a medical diagnosis; depression, anxiety, oppositional disorder, etc.). All teachers (gym included) are asked to sign upon receiving IEPs/504s and keep them organized and readily available for reference. Modifications / accommodations for students are to be addressed in a teacher’s lesson plans.

    Ultimately, it’s the diagnosis and the caseworker that are the game changers in moving forward with a 504 (if a teacher has fully documented evidence). Fully documented evidence can be given and a student may still be denied. This is definitely based on interpretation of a caseworker and their case load for that school year.

  • 62. Veteran  |  January 2, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    These videos from Richard Lavoie, a leading expert in disabilities, are dated but very well done.
    We used these at my school to increase awareness of disabilities and had a set for parents to check out-these were paid for by Education Connection funds tied to the Corey H. case-about fifteen years ago.

    I have posted the one on fairness but all of them are worth watching.

    http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=FAT+city+workshop+lavoie&FORM=VIRE4#view=detail&mid=004F1E1E76443E288BF4004F1E1E76443E288BF4

  • 63. Mom and teacher  |  January 2, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    I sat in on a parent meeting where they asked for a 504. They had documentation that the stress of school causes migraine headaches. They are requesting less work. The caseworker is starting the process after break.

  • 64. CarolA  |  January 2, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    @63: Just the thought of that is giving me a migraine. :)

  • 65. HS Mom  |  January 2, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    62 – good video – that is a problem. Others, even some teachers do view accommodations as unfair.

  • 66. Sped Mom  |  January 2, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Oh, god. Some of these comments are soul-crushingly ignorant. Not just talking about uniformed “opinions,” to which all have a right. I guess I wish that everyone had some severely disabled people in their life for whom they’re responsible and maybe even love. See you later.

  • 67. almostdonewithIEP  |  January 2, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    As the parent of a student with a 504, and then an IEP, I’ve considered it a way for my child to continue to learn what the other students are learning, and show that the material has been learned to continue on to the next grade. At the same time, we (personally, with the school, and with other outside help) are working on teaching the child ways to manage the issues themself. The goal over the long term is for my student to be able to do the same work as every else. Their problems will still be there, and will impact them to some extent, but they should be able to be reasonably successful.
    Some of the commenters seem to be concerned that we’re letting these kids get away with not working, and these kids will be in for a big surprise when they get to the work world and have to pull their own weight. I’d like you to know that these kids are working very hard now. They are trying to learn the academic material, which probably takes longer than most of their classmates, and they are also learning things that come more easily to most of their classmates. It seems a mistake to me to tell students like my child that they should fail a grade because of a disability rather than let them learn and show it their own way while they learn to do things the way most students do them. A lot of disabilities at school aren’t such big problems at work either. We just need to find a career that uses more of our strengths and less of our weaknesses, and use whatever tools we can to minimize our weaknesses.
    And, yes they do outgrow or learn their way around their disabilities. Over our 12 years at CPS we’ve gone from a child who couldn’t write more than a word or two in an hour, couldn’t cross the street alone at 12, and needed an aide to stop them from disrupting the class in middle school, to a senior accepted to college for engineering. The ADHD improved dramatically at age 13, and the aide was no longer needed. The brain continues to improve into the 20s, and the ADHD will continue to improve, though it will never be gone. Technology can help with that. The writing is still a problem, but using a keyboard is normal in most professional jobs. Things still take a long time, so college will probably take more than 4 years, but once they’re working where most of their time is spent doing tasks that use their strengths, they should be OK.
    If a child can’t focus, and repeated F’s and losses of privileges at home haven’t helped, then isn’t it better to help them organize themselves so they can do the work, while also help them learn to use organizational tools. If a child can’t read or can’t write, why not have someone read to or write for them so they continue with the class material while they learn to read or write. If a child can’t take a test due to panic, why not remove the stress with extra time while the child is learning how to manage the anxiety. None of these problems need to be permanent, so it makes no sense to me to say we shouldn’t have 504/IEPs. We’d be wasting the talents the kids do have.

  • 68. CarolA  |  January 2, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    @62: Great movie. Thanks for the link. In fact, I have a poster of a similar saying hanging outside my classroom door. Fair is not everyone getting the same thing. Fair is everyone getting what they need to be successful. I believe in that. That’s why some children in my classroom get highlighter bookmarks to help guide their reading and keep them focused on each sentence. That’s why some children get to use counters and number lines for math tests. That’s why my students get to take as much time as they need to finish a test. The list goes on. I can make those adjustments without any 504 or IEP plans in place. That’s my choice to do so. What isn’t my choice is adjusting the grading scale. I can’t say that “Johnnie” only has to get 3 words correct on a spelling test for an A while “Susie” has to get 10 correct in order to get an A without having an IEP. I can help create a positive path by asking a parent to practice only 3 specific words and if Johnnie or Susie gets those right on the test, I will not give them an F. I know it’s hard for them to get a passing grade, but I will work with a parent to work our way towards that goal. By the same token, I can’t give them an A either unless that is part of the IEP. I think we are talking about very different scenarios here and that’s where the misunderstandings are happening. Also, words are different than voices and sometimes what’s written (as in on this blog) can be misinterpreted as uncaring or ignorant and that may not be the case at all.

  • 69. CarolA  |  January 2, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    That being said, maybe it’s the grading system that needs to go. If everyone got what they needed to be successful and decisions for schools weren’t made based on grades and test scores, we might be better off. The competition would be eliminated and schools could focus on individuals starting at their current level and getting them to where they need to go. Teachers would use individual, informal assessments to figure out what each child needs. No need for formal testing. Teachers could focus on the child and not the test. Principals could focus on the teachers and students and not on the school test results. Food for thought.

  • 70. HS Mom  |  January 2, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    CarolA – its a tough call on grades. A smart kid with a 504/IEP capable of A’s will likely not see them (or as many). There’s missing work. Sometimes a teacher will allow late work for reduced credit. A string of tests that are A’s and F’s because the meds aren’t right or they simply can’t concentrate. The grades never really measure the ability for these kids. Most families I know in this situation are resolved that they will never see the honor roll even though their kid may test in the 99% or may be gifted. It’s an ongoing struggle for those at the top of the grade scale and kids at lower end doing everything they can just to keep up.

    This was an interesting comment from 17

    “I also had to provide him with additional material on whatever concept we were covering so that he could do additional work at home.”

    ADDITIONAL work – not uncommon for kids struggling to make it.

  • 71. Veteran  |  January 2, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    Based upon the comments there are excellent teachers and parents on this blog who will go the extra mile for the child. Excellent teachers will use strategies etc. that help all children and excellent parents will reinforce concepts at home, hire tutors, advocate for the child etc .

    What happens to the child who has a not so excellent teacher or a not so excellent parent?

    CPS will allow a child who has low test scores for years to be passed from grade to grade until the child drops out. CPS institutes many useless programs (RtI), spends monies on initiatives ad nauseum but has yet to run their expensive data program to target those students who continue to show little or no growth. It’s a simple click on the computer at central office.

  • 72. Way Outta There  |  January 2, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    Dear Counterpoint:
    Would like to answer your questions @ #27:

    Would I like to have a brain surgeon who has an off-the-charts IQ and went through school with an IEP for Asberger’s for help reading social cues and now has a resident meet with patients because he still struggles with that?

    Would I like to have a lawyer represent me who is a fierce litigator and went through school with an IEP because he has dyslexia and now has all his briefs read to him by an assistant?

    Would I like to have a top gun pilot who went through school with an IEP for dysgraphia and now has his co-pilot fill out the checklist prior to each flight so that it’s legible?

    Would I like to have a University of Chicago-educated banker put my deals together who went through school with an IEP for depression and now is properly medicated but occasionally takes a day off when the world is too overwhelming?

    YOU BET I WOULD.

    Your remark “If they can’t take the test within the time limits and within the format that is offered, they deserve the F” is beyond offensive. My very bright learning disability student brought home F’s in first grade due to a teacher who thought just like you. Won’t go into what it took to get him an IEP in a very highly-regarded CPS elementary school, but it wasn’t pretty. BTW, my student is in high school now, still has an IEP, is a star athlete in multiple sports and the single most resilient person I have had the privilege to know.

  • 73. Bnoto  |  January 3, 2014 at 12:51 am

    “Diagnosing” kids with these fake disorders does them a big disservice in my opinion. It may result in unnecessary medicatins,, brands them as “slow” with peers, makes them think they aren’t normal and may result in a note of a mental disorder in permanent records which may come back to haunt them years down the road. It’s not helping them, it’s making things worse. Not all kids are superstars. That does mean they have mental issues, it means they are normal.

  • 74. CarolA  |  January 3, 2014 at 8:27 am

    @67almostdone: LOVED reading your comment. Very touching and makes us realize, once again, that when school and home work together, success happens! Thank you for posting. It’s a great way for me to head back to the classroom with an energized perspective!

  • 75. Veteran  |  January 3, 2014 at 8:40 am

    #72 Well said and so true. I have a surgeon for reoccurring skin cancers and I would bet money he has Asperger’s. He is described by other doctors as brilliant, has a very successful practice and his staff works around/compensates for his social issues.

    Your son is fortunate that you knew enough to fight for services. In CPS the sped teachers are often fighting their own co-workers and central office staff in order just to get the child referred. This very stressful situation is compounded by parents who are not aware of their child’s possible disability, cannot communicate due to a language issue or simply do not care enough to fight for an evaluation. The burden of advocacy is added to the sped teacher’s already too overworked schedule. Even as a veteran teacher at a Level 1 school I had to fight for children to be evaluated, placed appropriately or to receive services. I dissented at IEP meetings which is something more teachers need to do if they disagree with the IEP. I truly believe this advocacy issue may be why sped teachers leave CPS and why we continue to have a shortage of sped teachers.

  • 76. OTdad  |  January 3, 2014 at 8:57 am

    All these 504/IEP talks make me wonder why CPS not setting up special schools and send those kids there? With special trained teachers and staff, the kids will get the better help they deserve and at the same time not sacrificing the kids’ self-esteem. Right now, CPS and the parents are putting too much burden on a regular teacher.

  • 77. OTdad  |  January 3, 2014 at 9:40 am

    @69. CarolA:
    “maybe it’s the grading system that needs to go.”
    Eliminating competition might help slower kids feeling better. But without grades, teachers and other students will lose motivation to do better. In time, both the teachers and students will do whatever they feel like because there are no differences, thus no consequences. Some bad CPS schools are probably there already.

  • 78. Way Outta There  |  January 3, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Hey, OT dad (#76)….

    Shipping “those kids” to a special school happens to be illegal. Much as some who post on this site may not like it, each child in these United States is entitled to a Free Accessible Public Education (FAPE) in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). There are lots of good reasons for this and it has been litigated to death in CPS (Corey H. decision among others).

    Fighting for your child’s legal rights does not place “too much of a burden on a regular teacher,” it’s federal law. If CPS or any school district does not provide appropriate services, it’s certainly not the parents’ fault for fighting to get them although it often feels that way.

    Thanks for presenting the other side. My student doesn’t feel like a “burden” to me (the teenage years notwithstanding) and I think my student is an asset to any school.

  • 79. Counterpoint for discussion  |  January 3, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Dear 72 and 75:
    1. How many kids were pushed down the list so that your examples could get preferential treatment? That’s the first injustice.
    2. How many people in life have had to make accommodations to deal with the inept social issues that those people have?
    3. How much more money has to be spent in order to help these people along?

    The love you show shines through, however people equally love others without those issues and shouldn’t have to pay for their issues.

    As far as your examples go, I know many (hundreds) of people that have left their banker, lawyer, doctor, and unit of assignment because of someone with a bad social disorder. To say that we all should embrace and flock to that person in spite of their disorder is not shocking. It just shows your progressive bent. That’s why we have the current social issues in America.

    PS: As far as a prison system goes, most countries and history documents that the family of the inmate must pay for the level of food , clothing, and hygiene equipment. If you feel so sorry for a criminal pay for the upkeep yourself.

    Remember, keep your discussion friendly but spirited.
    America

  • 80. CarolA  |  January 3, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Have to agree with Way Outta There. It’s a terrible idea to “ship” the kids. They won’t lose self-esteem??? Are you kidding me??? Students know what’s what and will definitely know they are at a special school. Not a good idea at all. As far as losing motivation to do better, I beg to differ. The goals and expectations would be the same. It’s just that there wouldn’t be any letter grade associated with it. For example….if the goal was to know all the letter sounds within the next 3 months, and they reach that, they set a new goal such as being about to put those sounds together to read one syllable decodable words within the next 2 months and so on. It’s more like real life. Most people start at the bottom and work their way up (unless they inherited papa’s business). We start as students ourselves. We become teachers, then possible assistant principals or reading specialists, then we can move on to principal or CEO’s and the like if we want. When we achieve one goal, we set another.

  • 81. CarolA  |  January 3, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Counterpoint: There is one thing that I tend to agree with in your “spirited” discussions. As a teacher, it is difficult to accommodate one child in a particular activity knowing that 29 others must sacrifice for that. Please don’t take this the wrong way and parents don’t jump on my every word. I’m only trying to provide a scenario that some might not be aware of. What comes to mind is the case of food allergies. Years ago, I used to do all kinds of fun classroom activities with food. We had a microwave and even a convection oven to use when teaching about measurement and/or solids, liquids, and gases. We used packages of M&M’s for graphing and marshmallows with toothpicks to build 3D shapes. We chewed bubblegum and made bubbles. Then we talked about how air is a gas and it takes the shape of the container it is in. We wrote a story detailing step 1, step 2, telling how to blow a bubble. Now all of that is gone at my school. Because of the “possibility” of a reaction, all food is banned in the classroom. I’m not saying I am uncaring about the child who has significant allergies and the reactions from it. I’m asking why we can’t plan a food activity at the end of a day and the parent has an option to pick that child up early. Or perhaps the lunchroom could be used and the child with allergies can be placed in another classroom during that activity. I realize it excludes the child, but by the same token, by not allowing these types of activities, it excludes the 29 others. It’s a fine line and compromise is necessary on both sides. Yes, there are ways to teach these things without food objects, but food does make it more exciting! I get it…..if my child had food allergies, I’d feel differently. Like I said…it’s a fine line. As I’m typing this, I’m thinking that if I had a parent who could suggest alternatives to some activity, I’d be a happy camper and so would the children in the class. You are the experts because you know your child best. Rather than say certain activities are forbidden or the whole class can’t do something because of a particular reason, how about coming up with something just as fun and accomplishes the same goal. My experience has been that we just can’t do it. I’m more than open to new ideas. Sometimes I just can’t think of them. Thank goodness for Pinterest!

  • 82. HS Mom  |  January 3, 2014 at 11:00 am

    @75 – Yes! Had the same experience. I had to see a specialist about something and was forewarned that he had no people skills but was brilliant. I said, “give me that guy” and turned out to be a very significant correct decision. Of course, it’s not like anyone is ever going to know that any professional had a 504 or IEP in elementary school, high school or even college.

    @76 – “kids will get the better help they deserve and at the same time not sacrificing the kids’ self-esteem.”

    Who says that kids with school plans have low self esteem other than one poster above #73 who obviously and can’t possibly know the situations of others.

    WOT 72/78 thank you for your posts

    @79 “Remember, keep your discussion friendly but spirited”

    You are baiting. Someone would want to have a discussion about this?

  • 83. neighborhood parent  |  January 3, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Sped mom @66, read the last part of Pantherparent @58…. the folks that game the system and push for services unjustly are the target of many of the comments. It’s true; when the rules get bent & someone gets an advantage the compassion will disappear.

    sometimes I think we are talking about dis-abled vs. dis-abilitied.

  • 84. RL Julia  |  January 3, 2014 at 11:32 am

    CarolA @56 – In regards to my daughter’s being marked down because she was being graded on something she wasn’t yet able to do, I didn’t much care – since it was only first grade and the teacher assured us (correctly) that it was just a purely developmental issue that would correct itself. I guess my point was – I can see, since many times organizational skills seem to be developmental in nature, how it might be frustrating in middle school to have a kid marked down for not possessing organizational skills that just haven’t been activated yet. Not knowing much about a child development, I don’t much know more than that…. On a slightly different note, if anyone has any suggestions on how to get my two relatively well organized teens to wake up when their alarms ring, let me know. They wake up when I wake them up – but are capable of sleeping through ANY alarm.

  • 85. HS Mom  |  January 3, 2014 at 11:58 am

    @83 – I don’t understand your comment or really the one you reference. Working with a kid with issues through a 504 or IEP so that they can be their best isn’t about tweaking their grades so that they are an A student. It’s about giving them the ability to express themselves, their knowledge and abilities when they are unable to do so in the conventional manner.

    From the definition above, a plan is needed when a disability “substantially limits one or more major life activity” such as: learning, speaking, listening, reading, writing, concentrating, caring for oneself, etc”

    I don’t know how much “gaming” people think is going on but I can reiterate the following: 1 – SEHS gives no preference to 504; 2- if they give preference to IEP (I don’t know that they do), an IEP requires substantial documentation and a real need, CPS tends to withhold them when needed rather than issue them 3 – HS tests (SAT, ACT, AP) require applications for accommodations with strict requirements.

    I know there has been much press lately about kids taking meds for tests. It’s out there, I’m sure anyone can avail themselves just like the speed that was available when I was in college. Not so sure that’s a wise idea or that it does help on tests.

    As far as compassion for kids with issues is concerned. I don’t think they want anything more or less than what other kids get. Compassion is not necessary, angry ignorance is unnecessary.

  • 86. LUV2europe  |  January 3, 2014 at 11:59 am

    84 Get a clock radio and set it LOUD to classical music. Most teens would run across the room to turn that off.

  • 87. Teacher  |  January 3, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    72. I think your hypothetical situations are interesting. I wonder how you would feel if you substituted the profession with “teacher” in each of those. I think it is important to remember that teachers, like any other profession, are people too. They have strengths, they have weaknesses, they have families, they have bills, they deal with depression and get overwhelmed and need to take days off and go see doctors, they are in stressful situations without a lot of support- many without teacher’s assistants- no clerks, residents, assistants, or copilots to take over some of the work or double check the work they’ve done. I am sure everyone has had a teacher (in their own schooling or their child’s) who SEEMED uncaring or socially inept or unorganized. Is it possible they too have a disability, possibly diagnosed or undiagnosed, and they are dealing with it the best they can?

  • 88. Esmom  |  January 3, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    “Working with a kid with issues through a 504 or IEP so that they can be their best isn’t about tweaking their grades so that they are an A student. It’s about giving them the ability to express themselves, their knowledge and abilities when they are unable to do so in the conventional manner.”

    Yes.

    “As far as compassion for kids with issues is concerned. I don’t think they want anything more or less than what other kids get.”

    And yes. Amen. And, illegality aside, the notion of my son being sent to a “special school,” as someone above suggested, would crush his spirit to the core. I will reiterate that when the system works as it should, these kids can blossom. And the thought of the system failing so many kids is heartbreaking. I don’t know how we got so lucky. A lot of perseverance and trial and error, not for the faint of heart, but the possibility for success does indeed exist.

  • 89. far northsider  |  January 3, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    CarolA – As a parent of two children with severe food allergies (one has a 504 plan so she can carry her Benadryl and epipens, the other will once he reaches kindergarten) I find it upsetting that in one comment you talk about loss of self-esteem for “shipping” kids off but then in the very next comment suggest that kids with food allergies be excluded from certain activities. The 504 guards against that very thing.

    I’ll be looking at kindergartens next year for 2015 and the ONLY schools I can consider for my son – who has, among other things, a life-threatening dairy allergy – are the schools that have gotten their acts together enough to ban food from the classroom, and I’m finding that’s not a large number.

  • 90. JLM  |  January 3, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    I consider myself a liberal/progressive, and yet, sadly, I can see some of Counterpoint’s points.

    The statement “I don’t think they want anything more or less than what other kids get.” is false. I’m not saying these kids shouldn’t get more, but the fact of the matter is that that’s what some of them need – more. More one-on-one time with the teacher, more direction, etc. Which brings me to “And the thought of the system failing so many kids is heartbreaking”. My fear is that the kids that the system is failing are the non-special needs kids. If a child with a hearing problem needs an accommodation to sit near the front of the class to hear the teacher, no problem. But a child that needs the teacher to check in on them every 10 minutes and is in a gen-ed classroom is taking away time from the the other 30 or so students in the class. And in those instances, it’s a zero-sum game, and the gen-ed students are the ones that the system is failing.

    The needs of a special ed student should be balanced against the needs of the gen-ed students when determining whether the special ed student should be placed in a gen-ed classroom or a sped classroom (or some mix of gen-ed with pull-out services).

  • 91. Teacher  |  January 3, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    I have had parents VERY UPSET and their words directed towards ME because of the new CPS health policy – no cupcakes for birthdays. Parents upset when I do not let their children drink soda cans they brought to school for lunch. And many parents upset they couldn’t bring in treats for a holiday party before break. And a few years before that, there were parents that were upset that our school was doing anything with Christmas, gifts, etc. Parents upset their kids couldn’t dress up for Halloween, and parents that sent their kids to school dressed up anyway. No winning!

  • 92. cpsobsessed  |  January 3, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    @89 Far northsider: Does that need to be a school that currently bans food in all rooms? Or okay if one is willing to ban food in your child’s classroom?

  • 93. far northsider  |  January 3, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    cpso – Depends; is my kid going to leave his classroom? :)

    So far I’ve found a handful of school on the north side that allow only fruits and vegetables in the classroom as snacks or for classroom celebrations: Burley (my daughter’s old school), Hamilton and Waters. I know the lunchroom will be a different story, of course; lots of schools have peanut-free tables but no one is going to have an everything-he’s-allergic-to table. I’ve also been interviewing principals on who’s trained on epipen use, if other kids with severe allergies are in the building, how often they have a nurse in the building. One principal admitted to me that they turn a blind eye to parents bringing in baked goods from home, so that school is off my list.

    I’m also willing to move within the city to the attendance area of a more allergy-safe school. I have to be honest, I don’t think my kiddo is going to be 100% safe anywhere given his collection of allergies (dairy, egg, peanut, tree nut, fish, shellfish, sesame) so what I need to do is find a school where he has the best chance of being okay. I realize this is outside the scope of this thread, but if anyone has suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

  • 94. PatientCPSMom  |  January 3, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    #81 I understand the issues you have raised in your post. I am just wondering what do you do now? How do you show the air from a bubble, how do you build the 3D models without the Marshmallows. IS the lesson less rigorous, does learning suffer? Does CPS provide the additional financial and learning resources to accommodate the changed materials for the lesson plans?

  • 95. Teacher  |  January 3, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    Engagement.

    CPS provides nothing.

  • 96. Mom and Teacher  |  January 3, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    @94″Does CPS provide the additional financial and learning resources….” are you being sarcastic?

  • 97. Veteran  |  January 3, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    A good para can really impact a child’s academic success in gen ed-CPS will assign aides only when the IEP states that the child is a danger to himself and others and then CPS will do a ridiculous if not dangerous game of “let’s see how many children we can assign to this shared aide”

    When the bold teacher says, “OK, this aide will be in the other building/room with the other two children and my two students one of whom is in a wheelchair and the other has emotional issues and if the fire alarm goes off how will these children and my 31 gen ed students get out-what if the child with emotional issues panics as he has in the past? The response, “Oh, we will tell the AP to get down to your room……the teacher responds, The fire doors lock automatically and the AP will not be able to get into the annex and what if the AP is not at school…..I actually witnessed this conversation! It is no wonder teachers in CPS are so stressed. We do not have competent leadership.

    My dream is that the administrators at central office become “undercover subs” so that they can see how their inept practices and initiatives work in self-contained special education rooms and also how hard it is for a gen ed teacher to teach to all students with sped students receiving so little support.

  • 98. HS Mom  |  January 3, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    @90 – I was referring to compassion. A poster mentioned that kids would get more compassion if people weren’t gaming the system. Not interested in anyone’s compassion – no more than any other kid navigating the CPS school system. Would just like some understanding. Which is what’s great about this thread!

  • 99. CarolA  |  January 3, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    How do I teach those topics now? With pictures, power points, movies, and books. Not quite the same excitement level. I can’t even blow up a balloon in the classroom….latex allergies. Are there latex free blow up balloons? I don’t know. I tried using Play-Doh instead of marshmallows…..parent didn’t like the dye used to make the colors. Which brings me to my next comment for farnorthsider…..Please read my entire comment rather than pick out sections. I stated that I am VERY OPEN to alternative ideas that can be just as exciting. I just can’t think of any. Maybe you can. I get frustrated when parents think ONLY about their child. Yes, that is your job. Yes, you are their advocate. But what if the other parents felt the same way and said….I demand my child not be excluded from these fun activities. I agree with Teacher@91. I, too, get plenty of parents who are outraged that they can’t bring the usual birthday cupcakes big enough for 3 children. (Personally, I’m happy to have those banned) I, too, get plenty of parents who are outraged when it comes to dressing up for Halloween and other parents who keep their kids at home because they don’t believe in costumes on Halloween. Let’s not even begin to talk about the parent who knows what is banned, but brings it anyway. Then, when I return it at the end of the day, I am reported to administration. Administration then says…..well, you could have passed them out at the end of the day. Really? What is the rule then? Everyone has their problems….most not health related or as serious as food allergies, but problems. They expect us to solve them all or die trying. When a parent “demands” something for their child without regard to others, it really is upsetting. Let me give you an example of a creative parent who really thought “outside the box”. I find myself pretty creative, but wouldn’t have thought of this. For her child’s birthday, she went to the Dollar Store and bought a variety of activity books so each student could select one. Total cost….$30. Some might find that expensive, but those cupcakes aren’t cheap either. The cupcakes (back when we could have them) mostly went in the trash. The bright blue frosting was licked clean and the cake part went in the garbage. These activity books were loads of fun. Please offer alternatives rather than state demands. Most teachers welcome new ideas. As mentioned earlier, you know your child best. Help us out. Don’t leave us dangling.

  • 100. local  |  January 3, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    “My dream is that the administrators at central office become ‘undercover subs’ so that they can see how their inept practices and initiatives work in self-contained special education rooms and also how hard it is for a gen ed teacher to teach to all students with sped students receiving so little support.” – OMG. I would love, love, love to see CPS admins hit the front lines as undercover subs or undercover bosses for a few weeks each year. Awesome.

  • 101. cpsobsessed  |  January 3, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    I love the undercover subs idea! We can pitch that as part of our CPS reality series where we track down the people with fake addresses!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 102. CarolA  |  January 3, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    I’m all for the “Undercover Sub” idea as well! Bring it on! It reminds me of something that happened to me many years ago. I kept telling the principal that I needed extra help because I had 34 students that year. Many of those students had severe problems. It was a difficult year. She kept saying that she had confidence in me and that I could do it. Then……one day…..she knocked on the door and said a parent needed to talk to me right away and she would take over my room while I went to the office. I was only gone about 20 minutes. When I came back, the first words out of her mouth were……Oh, my goodness….you need help in here! LOL :)

  • 103. vikingmom  |  January 3, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    @93 farnorthsider — what about the breakfast in the classroom program? My kids attended one of the schools you mention and there were always students who took the breakfast. Maybe it’s different now though?

  • 104. HS Mom  |  January 3, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    @87/99 – Yes, completely understand about the ADHD, selectively hyper obsessive, and the “absent minded professor”. I won’t go on and on about the best year ever (for all the kids) with a teacher who openly told me that she had her own obsessive issues and understood completely the issues some kids had. That was the best year ever, 4th grade. According to my child, another teacher openly declared on the first day that he had ADHD so don’t expect him to remember to post the homework. At first I thought he may have been joking but don’t think so. He had some of the best most stimulating class discussions and really encouraged spontaneous thinking. He was also forgiving about any homework he forgot to post.

    One thing the 4th grade teacher did when kids still wanted to dress up for Halloween but couldn’t was to have a pajama party. If kids wanted to wear pajamas they could and there were pillows and cushions and the kids could sit on the floor and read.

  • 105. Even One More CPS Mom  |  January 3, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    @89 far northsider – perhaps check out McPherson. I do not remember specifics but I think they may have fairly strict guidelines on food that may be brought into school.

  • 106. far northsider  |  January 3, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    @103 vikingmom – Yeah, the breakfast in the classroom program is problematic for us. I know Burley and Bell were able to work around it with permission from downtown; they allow anyone who wants breakfast to come in early and eat in the lunchroom instead of in the classrooms. (It was a big deal at Burley – we had just gotten food out of the classrooms the year they started the program. We had reps from CPS and Chartwells come in for a well-attended parent meeting, and after seeing the stack of 504s and drawer of epipens in the office they relented.)

    I’m not aware of any other schools that do it that way; I’ve heard that Hamilton does have breakfast in the classroom, and I’m not sure about Waters. The breakfast food is supposed to be peanut and tree nut free (which is fantastic for a lot of allergic kids), but of course there’s milk and/or egg (not good for mine).

    We’re still trying to figure out how to navigate all of these issues; this is our third time through the kindergarten search for CPS but the first time I’ve had a radically different set of criteria for evaluating each school. *tears more hair out*

  • 107. far northsider  |  January 3, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    @99 CarolA – I am sympathetic to you having to rework the way you teach concepts, and as a foodie I agree that food is more fun. What I’m trying to get across though is that it’s not so much that I’m demanding that things be done a certain way, I’m trying to keep my kid alive. He’s only three and I’ve already had to epipen him twice for accidental exposure to allergens; I don’t know if you’ve had to administer an epipen or call 911 for any of your kids but anaphylaxis is scary and upsetting for all parties involved, and if an epipen or intravenous epinephrine is not administered quickly, death by airway collapse and/or blood pressure drop is the result. Minimizing exposure to potential allergens is currently the only way to keep allergic kids safe.

    I’m not a teacher but I’d be willing to brainstorm with you, and maybe ask some of the teachers at my son’s preschool (that has removed from classroom materials and snack all foods to which their current population has allergies) if they have any ideas. You can reach me at sencha28 at yahoo dot com if you’d like.

  • 108. far northsider  |  January 3, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    @105 re McPherson – Thanks! McPherson is already on my list of schools to tour this month; we’ll see how it goes.

  • 109. Allergies  |  January 3, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    #106. far northsider – Is your child not able to touch or be around ANY of the allergens or do you just prefer for them not to be around any of these allergens? Just asking because if there is room for them to be around the allergens, it will help them navigate their allergies beginning at an early age. If they need it to be nut free, o.k. But does the room need to be free of milk or can you teach your child not to drink milk and to read labels? How much risk does milk present in the classroom entail for your child in terms of others drinking it or a container being open or spilled?

    My child grew out of milk and egg allergies, but life threatening nut allergies remain. We actually preferred having her learn to navigate her allergies within the relative safety of school. Actually disappointing to see policies change across the board at school. She is smarter about her allergies because she learned to navigate, read labels, etc. at a very early age. Watching her say no thank you also helped the kids figure it out and they got better about stuff too. I actually think it is riskier to have no food policies in the classroom (unless absolutely necessary for airborne allergies). Very much a false assumption that no food will make it into the classroom. Thus when food shows up, child is not as well prepared to deal with the situation.

    Have a second child with allergies in early grades who is going to a different school – a school with a “No food in classrooms” policy. I can tell you that a fortune cookie has shown up in her book bag, cookies have been made at class parties, party mix has been brought in for kids to make (Honey Nut Cheerios), and more.

    I would have been more on guard and prepared her better (like her older sibling) if this school did not have this “No food in classrooms” policy.

    Food shows up in classrooms. It happens all the time. Don’t forget there is food and nuts in the office around holidays and anytime (as thanks to staff). Your child will go to the office sometimes.

    I volunteer to be in charge of food – just makes life easier – and I volunteer for the parties. Plus I talk to each teacher at the very start of every school year and make sure each is personally aware of the allergies (verus waiting around for them to read the 504).

    Good luck!

  • 110. CarolA  |  January 3, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    farnorthsider: Thanks for the offer. I welcome any ideas. I will get in touch. By the way, ALL teachers are mandated at my school (maybe systemwide) to be trained on the use of an epipen (spelling?) by our school nurse.

  • 111. far northsider  |  January 3, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    @109 – Thanks for sharing your experiences! It’s good to have a reality check. We’re starting to work with him on allergy self-defense but he’s still very young at this point. I plan to be active at his school – whichever it turns out to be – so your volunteer suggestion is well taken. My daughter was twelve when she first experienced a severe reaction to nuts so she was old enough to carry her own medication and advocate for herself; training a young child is new territory for us.

    His milk allergy is severe enough that he may not outgrow it; his allergist is hopeful that he will outgrow the egg allergy but the others will remain. I’m hopeful that by the time he’s five he should be able to avoid drinking cow’s milk accidentally. I’m somewhat more worried about spills. He once touched milk and rubbed his eye, resulting in instant swelling of most of that side of his face; the reaction thankfully did not progress to anything worse but his eye was swollen shut for three days. He often has eczema on his hands and I don’t actually know how touching milk or other allergens would affect him if his skin was broken – also not anxious to find out.

    I also feel like searching for an allergy-friendly school is, in large part, avoiding having to head into a new school and fight against the current; it would be nice to enter a school where the administration and staff are already understanding.

    Everyone – sorry about hacking the thread. I also have a kid with ADHD – I could get us back on topic by talking about that instead. :)

  • 112. anonymouse teacher  |  January 3, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    My school has the same policy as Carol’s regarding epi-pen training, but I know that some people’s training consisted of “yes, I can do it” or “go talk to teacher x who says she knows how to do it”. We also have a policy of no food treats, but the way kids’ lunches spill onto other kids’ coats and bags in the cubbies in the hall and other things make me worry a lot. Two years ago, I had a little girl with such severe nut allergies that her mother wept profusely at drop off the first day. I called her 2x that first day so she’d know her kid was okay. The mom ended up feeling okay. Me, on the other hand? I was a wreck. I went into school sick as a dog because I was so terrified this girl would die with a sub there. I am not sure which was worse, that girl or the girl with the order of protection from the father who had tried to abduct her.
    I always wonder about the teacher from a few years back who had the student who died from shock after eating chinese take out at a class party. Of course I worry about that girl’s family, but I also worry about the teacher who has to live with that. (not that it was her fault, but I’d blame myself and I’ll bet she does too)

  • 113. cpsobsessed  |  January 3, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    It’s okay, I was just tired about talking about tiers….

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 114. anonymouse teacher  |  January 3, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    @111, I have at least 5 milk spills each week in my classroom during breakfast. Do you have a job where you can be present in the classroom each morning? I’d suggest it.

  • 115. CarolA  |  January 3, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Last year I had a child in my room who had allergies to just about everything. The parents supplied plenty of hand soap (he could only use a special kind) and we used it often throughout the day. We also Clorox wiped our desks often. For lunch, his mom picked him up every day and returned him after lunch. The parents also provided an air cleaner for my classroom and cleaned the filters every other month or so. They were very helpful. Now that he is in second grade, the school is trying to ease him into staying at school rather than going home at lunch. Since our school has breakfast in the classroom, the principal arranged that his classroom only would be able to stay in the lunchroom if they were having breakfast and if not they would go to the classroom with him. There would always be someone to keep an eye on the children in the lunchroom. The teacher was in the classroom. As he moves up in the grades, I’m sure each classroom he is in will be able to stay in the lunchroom for breakfast. Lunch is another story. I’m not sure how they are doing that, but I know when he was in my room, we tried having him eat in another area with friends that didn’t bring any problem foods. I promise you there are milk spills every day in classrooms and lunchrooms so you have to be aware of that. Not only is the milk on tables and floors, the children who spill it usually end up with it on their shirts. Something to think about if your child sits next to that person in the classroom. I agree that it’s a good idea to have a chit-chat with the teacher prior to the school year starting. In fact, these parents met with me in June as the kindergarten year was ending.

  • 116. vikingmom  |  January 3, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    @ farnorthside, My kids have penicillin allergies but nothing more-hearing your story makes me realize that we are indeed fortunate. Waters had the breakfast in the classroom program at least until last year, my guess is that they still may but of course you will get the most up to date info. Good luck to you!

  • 117. Even One More CPS Mom  |  January 3, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    @far northsider – You may wish to check out the facebook group Coping With Food Allergies in School – Chicagoland . Try posting your question about schools there and you may get some good feedback and first hand experience on which CPS schools to check out and which you may wish to avoid. As the mother of a seriously tree nut allergic child I sympathize with you and wish your children and you all the best. People who do not have first hand experience with this, with their own child, have a lot of trouble understanding how serious and complicated this issue can be. Most people also do not realize how much more common serious food allergies are becoming in our society as well.

  • 118. local  |  January 3, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    @ 67. almostdonewithIEP | January 2, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Excellent argument.

    Although I not likely see it in my lifetime, I hold out much hope for Universal Design in both facilities and tools as well as in curriculum design.

  • 119. Mama  |  January 3, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    @ Why there is no full time nurse in CPS schools?

  • 120. local  |  January 3, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    @ 69. CarolA | January 2, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    “That being said, maybe it’s the grading system that needs to go. If everyone got what they needed to be successful and decisions for schools weren’t made based on grades and test scores, we might be better off. The competition would be eliminated and schools could focus on individuals starting at their current level and getting them to where they need to go. Teachers would use individual, informal assessments to figure out what each child needs. No need for formal testing. Teachers could focus on the child and not the test. Principals could focus on the teachers and students and not on the school test results. Food for thought.”

    Now that’d be a charter school I could get behind! :)

  • 121. Another Allergy Parent  |  January 3, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    @111 Far Northsider – Sorry to digress, but have you checked out Allergy Associates of Lacrosse? They do sublingual immunotherapy where they desensitize the body to allergens. My daughter is allergic to peanut, treenut, and all seafood (she tested positive for all fish and shellfish), as well as all grass pollen, tree pollen, all weeds, cockroaches, dogs, and ragweed. She outgrew her egg allergy at 5 years old. She is being treated for her allergies (although we have temporarily stopped the drops due to the cold weather and a rash that formed around her mouth). We will start it again in the spring, and will see how it affects her RAST scores. Anyway, allergies were one of the reasons my daughter is in a private school since I was told not to trust the CPS schools regarding allergies.

    Sorry to jump in but the reference to allergies peaked my interest!

  • 122. local  |  January 3, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    @ 119. Mama | January 3, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    “Why there is no full time nurse in CPS schools?”

    CPS does not want to staff schools with a FT nurse. So, better have your asthma attack, diabetes coma, or suicide attempt on a day the nurse is is “in.” (Sorry, I know it’s snark.)

  • 123. local  |  January 3, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    @ 76. OTdad | January 3, 2014 at 8:57 am

    “All these 504/IEP talks make me wonder why CPS not setting up special schools and send those kids there? With special trained teachers and staff, the kids will get the better help they deserve and at the same time not sacrificing the kids’ self-esteem. Right now, CPS and the parents are putting too much burden on a regular teacher.”

    There’s what’s a solid, smart practice – and then there’s much of the reality in CPS.

    General classroom teachers report that, yes, too much of an unfair burden is being placed on them by CPS. The list of what’s wrong with CPS and educating SWDs is endless.

    If appropriate, a SWD can get sent by CPS to a specialized school outside the CPS system. Although some placements out are effective, not all those placements are excellent. Placements in special schools can happen only if at the end of the IEP PROCESS the determination is made that such a placement is required. Don’t assume placement in a special school kills a student’s self-esteem. Many times, it increases it due to the increased educational success, which includes social and emotional.

    There’s a continuum that ranges from a SWD being in a gen classroom through being in a specialized school (or self-contained classroom in a regular public school). The rule of thumb (and law) is that the student must be educated in a setting as close to a general classroom setting as possible, appropriate and effective (and, yes, that decision considers the needs of fellow students in a gen classroom).

    Despite the required IEP process, in CPS it does seem that the general education teacher is getting thrown under the bus. What’s supposed to happen and what does happen for SWDs are two different things. No wonder some good teachers are calling it quits.

  • 124. local  |  January 3, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    @ 79. Counterpoint for discussion | January 3, 2014 at 10:35 am

    “Dear 72 and 75:
    1. How many kids were pushed down the list so that your examples could get preferential treatment? That’s the first injustice.
    2. How many people in life have had to make accommodations to deal with the inept social issues that those people have?
    3. How much more money has to be spent in order to help these people along?”

    What’s that internet thingy where a blog comments thread get to a certain point? You know that point…where someone calls out Nazi.

    I’m there.

  • 125. OutsideLookingIn  |  January 3, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    @102 CarolA – loved this story, so true. Things don’t always resonate until a person experiences the situation firsthand!

    On another note…no food, no play dough, no balloons…how about styrofoam? I’m sure you’ve thought of that too, just wanted to play the ‘try to identify a non-controversial, low-cost, classroom material for hands-on learning’ game too.

  • 126. Allergies  |  January 4, 2014 at 12:16 am

    On another note, that comment from an earlier poster on anti-cupcake rules at school. This often is not just about avoiding allergens but is about avoiding obesity and making healthier schools. Many teachers and parents don’t need their kids getting more junk food at school. Thus there is a push for non food items. We send pencils or those great $1 scholastic books (no tax) that you can always buy in the scholastic flyer or online. Child loves being able to pass out the non food item. Win- win for everyone. Some schools allow parents to donate a book on bday and/ or come and read story on child’s birthday. Kid gets hat or bday chair. So many alternatives.

  • 127. CarolA  |  January 4, 2014 at 7:42 am

    Sorry local….I’m finding this thread interesting. I’ve been “missing in action” for awhile on this blog because it didn’t apply to me or I had nothing to offer. Maybe you are at that point. Love the Scholastic book idea. I’ve also had parents donate a book to the classroom library (I always put a sticker inside with the child’s name saying Donated by…)

    Regarding styrofoam….great suggestion but….YIKES..just reading the word gave me goose bumps….it’s the one thing that drives me crazy….always has…sytrofoam coolers as a child…I’m shaking…LOL :)

  • 128. far northsider  |  January 4, 2014 at 11:17 am

    @114 anonymouse teacher – That’s about what I expected. I am in fact available during the school day, so thanks for the suggestion.

    @116 vikingmom – Thanks for the info and your good wishes!

    @117 EOMCPSM – That sounds like a good resource; I may have to break down and join Facebook just for that…

    @121 – Another Allergy Parent – I’ve spoken with our allergist about desensitization therapy (which, for anyone not familiar, is still in the clinical trial phase and not a commercially available therapy yet) and apparently they won’t accept children under 6 at this time. Something to think about in the future, though.

    @115 and @127 CarolA – You just described my kid in a nutshell, right down to the special soap – regular soap turns his hands into a red, raw mess. Also, in place of marshmallows, have you considered Model Magic? I know it’s more expensive than a bag of marshmallows but it’s the right consistency and hardens when exposed to air (or can be collected and sealed in an airtight bag for reuse) – and it’s available in white for the no-dye crowd. Just a thought.

  • 129. far northsider  |  January 4, 2014 at 11:25 am

    @119 and 122 – There are a few schools that have a full-time nurse if they have one or more students with medical needs. Bell has a significant number of students with medical issues and has a full-time nurse; I know Burley had a full-time nurse while we were there. I’ve toured two schools that have a full-time nurse for the duration of a certain child’s attendance, and the nurse is able to serve other students when not busy. Otherwise my understanding is that schools generally have a nurse no more than one day a week. (One principal said during a school tour, “I am the nurse, and my clerk is the nurse.”)

  • 130. HS Mom  |  January 4, 2014 at 11:55 am

    For blowing bubbles there’s that plastic goo in a tube that you make bubbles with by blowing into a straw. Kind of retro. I suppose that stuff is toxic too… maybe not. Could be messy but probably just as messy as a bunch of kids with gum. They had it at a birthday party one time. Kids had a blast.

  • 131. anonymouse teacher  |  January 4, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    The other thing with school nurses is just because a school has a full time nurse one year, doesn’t mean they’ll have that full time nurse the next.

    @128, a tub of Model Magic runs around $20, not an affordable option for one lesson. (I’m taking the long view of how many lessons there are in a year that require out of pocket spending) But, the sentiment is a good one.

  • 132. cpsobsessed  |  January 4, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    Would pieces of dry cut up kitcheb sponges work? Maybe too solid, I’m not sure.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 133. anonymouse teacher  |  January 4, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    On a completely different note, I was in my school building on Friday and something is wrong with our heat. It was only 50 degrees. The engineer is out for a few weeks and despite my principal’s begging, central office seemed immune to her pleas for help. I never imagined I’d say this, but I have sick days. Is it reasonable to call in sick if your building doesn’t have heat on a day when it is predicted to be at least 30 below? I realize the BOE doesn’t care about us, but this is crazy.

  • 134. cpsdad  |  January 4, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    cps has many resources for the educationally disadvantaged, accessing them is an entirely different manner. with their draconian rules in place, it can be nearly impossible to advocate for your children. we had one child who needed services, but the school we attended rebuffed us and alleged we only sought an iep to facilitate entrance to a sehs. it was obvious the early difficulty we had was attributable to a hostile iep team. cps was explicit and told them to challenge any parent initiated request for an iep. after thousands in legal fees we finally prevailed. our child is currently enrolled at a sehs and is doing quite well, thanks in no small part to the specialized services she requires. sometimes you have to fight the cps head on and according to their rules!

  • 135. CarolA  |  January 4, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    You nailed it on the head cpsdad. It’s a shame it takes that type of action most of the time, but glad it worked out for your child. Thanks to all for the great ideas. Thanks CPSO for offering this site to allow these great exchanges. Anonymouse: My opinion is you need to be in school even if it’s 50 degrees. A few weeks before the break, my school had trouble with the heat as well and we just wore our jackets all day. In the past (really the past, LOL) they sent buses and shuffled us to other schools in the area and we sat in their auditoriums and such. Not much fun, but warm. I doubt they would do that these days.

  • 136. OTdad  |  January 4, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    @78. Way Outta There:
    Sorry that if my comment sounds offensive. Please don’t take it the wrong way. We are all parents. I certainly would not suggest “ship away” any kids, or call any kids “burden”. I was referring to kids with REAL learning disabilities, not kids with minor issues that do not affect learning, such as health (allergy, eyesight, hearing etc.), organization, or even behavior issues.

    With 30+ kids in a class room, it’s already a daunting task for the teacher, seriously how much energy, time, and attention can a teacher afford for special education kids? Yes, law can force teachers/schools do things the certain way, but just that is good enough? We can’t even make sure a regular kid gets proper education. A special school, with better trained teachers, lower teacher/student ratio, specialized learning tools etc, might do a much better job. Kids can get more peer support, learn better, and overcome disabilities quicker.

    As self-esteem issue, I have no first hand experience and probably shouldn’t have said that. One day I talked to my daughter (just started K). I was surprised that she knew exactly who are struggling at school. I asked her how she knew. She told me: because Ms.xxx went over to help him/her with school work all the time, even during recess. So, everybody knows. Hard to imagine that’s a good environment for special ed kids to build confidence.

  • 137. Veteran  |  January 4, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    #136 I will agree that children who are severely autistic or are severely behavior disordered/emotionally disturbed should be given the opportunity to attend a school/center where the entire building and staff is set up to maximize learning potential. I have seen these students become victims when they get to high school. CPS does tuition out rarely, but the programs that will take these students are considered sub-standard. CPS is a huge district and why we are paying to tuition out to suburban districts, private schools or hospital programs has always amazed me. Usually, the tuitioning out to the better programs happens because the parents go due process, even the children whose parents work for CPS because we do not have adequate programs for these students.

  • 138. HS Mom  |  January 4, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    I was always surprised at how much attention my child received for being in a public school with a relatively large class size. We did experience the downside one year early on. The 1st grade teacher needed to continually prod him to stay on task. She finally gave up and put him into a remedial reading group along with some other kids who were “difficult” to work with. She literally said that he didn’t belong there but she was too busy to help him. I figured this was going to be part and parcel with the system and that I would need to make up for what he wasn’t getting in school on my own. The next year a very talented teacher pulled him out, said he wasn’t being challenged. She gave us full details about her observations and we decided to get him professionally evaluated.

    Our process was to meet with the teacher right away at the beginning and throughout the year and talk to them about what to expect and what could be done for him to succeed. It wasn’t until a couple years after his diagnosis that his 5th grade teacher recommended a 504 to get everything formalized and to ensure that he was getting the help he needed. Since then 2 teachers have requested IEP so that he can use the resource room at school. Both times turned down because he tests well. He is also thriving at his SEHS. His teachers all adhere to the plan and bend over backwards sometimes sacrificing their personal time to make sure he succeeds. And yes, some teachers even used recess as an opportunity to work with a kid – with or without a 5/ep plan.

    Contrary to what some posters indicate above, our experience is that there really is no stigma attached to kids with 504/iep. If a kid is being pulled out for services….no big deal, no embarrassment. Doesn’t even mean that they are struggling. In HS, this group of kids that test together or have resource period together have a special bond. Really creative kinda out there multi colored hair avid Dr. Who fans. One kid who had a reputation for being demanding and disruptive in class freshman year is flourishing and was voted homecoming king this year. Not a brag – many kids scored well into the 30′s and one perfect 36 – the IEP kids averaged as well as the rest of the population.

    I mention all this only from the standpoint that it may be helpful to someone in a similar situation.

  • 139. cpsobsessed  |  January 4, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    So do these kind of plans continue in college?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 140. anonymouse teacher  |  January 4, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Carol, I was just thinking that if it really is going to be as cold as they say its going to be, if its 50 now, and our engineer is gone (which he is), and they don’t send anyone to take care of the boiler (which it appears that they aren’t going to), it won’t even be 50 in the building on Monday. Its supposed to be 30-50 below with the windchill. I’ve taught in schools where we had no electricity for days and kids were wetting/pooping in their pants because they were too afraid to go into the pitch black bathrooms. I was really just complaining. No worries, I’ll be there. I’ll be angry, but I’ll be there. Its a common theme these days. Who else will take care of the kids?

  • 141. HS Mom  |  January 4, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    @140 we received a robo call that school is open monday and tues but due to extreme temps, you do not have to go. Will be an excused absence

  • 142. HS Mom  |  January 4, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    @139 – There is no formal IEP or 504. As an adult, the student needs to advocate for themselves. All the colleges will provide accommodations as per ADA that you need to apply for and depending on the school need testing to back it up. They all offer tutoring and student services. Some offer services specifically for LD or ADHD. Some colleges by their very format are Ld friendly in that they are small and have a very low student to teacher ratio. The 40 “colleges that change lives” have earned that standing because their professors have a personal relationship with the students.

  • 143. anonymouse teacher  |  January 4, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    @Carol, I forgot to tell you that I’m looking through my kids’ shelves and some boxes I have in my basement for 3rd grade reading materials for you. I’ll send them to you through the mail run once I’ve got them together. Won’t be a lot, but it’ll be something.
    @141, not sure that helps me or all the kids in my cold building (which parents will NEVER be told about by CPS and my principal will be forced to say something soothing like “we all managed” and the teachers will told to keep their mouths shut) but I hope it helps some one.

  • 144. HS Mom  |  January 4, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    anon teacher – Word has spread like wildfire on facebook. In the message it states that if you can drop off and pick up your child directly at the door you can come to school. If you deem it best to stay home then it will be an excused absence. Since my child has to walk 6 blocks to the el he will not be going and from what i get either are his classmates. There has got to be a way for teachers to determine the minimal crew to have on hand.

  • 145. CarolA  |  January 4, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    It will be interesting to see how many students DO show up. I’m willing to bet that most will be at my school. If nothing else, parents in my area have run out of things to do with them and are tired of having them around the house and/or they have to go to work themselves. When we wore our coats as I explained earlier, I expected an email or two from parents wanting to know why their child had to wear their coat all day and if it was going to be fixed anytime soon. Not a single inquiry.

  • 146. anonymouse teacher  |  January 4, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    @144, what I meant was, parents will never be informed that there is an issue with the heat in our building. I would be an extremely pissed off parent if I found out my kid sat in an unheated building all day and no one ever bothered to tell me.

  • 147. HS Mom  |  January 4, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    They should close your school on Monday and Tuesday and not have it be an option.

  • 148. HS Mom  |  January 4, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    The message even mentioned that the school would be warm.

  • 149. neighborhood parent  |  January 4, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    my two kids are going to school. we will walk approx. 6 blcks, it will be cold, the kids will complain, but we will be fine. I’m not tired of having them around the house (today we went sledding….we’ve got thank you notes to write, plenty to do)…. but school is in session and its time to return and learn. We respect school and the school community we belong to. The calendar is not optional due to uncomfortable cold. If there is a health & safety reason for closure that’s when I expect adults to exercise that decision. Not unlike the IEP/504 discussion above; at what point/temp is it necessary to make accommodations/closures? (btw, this is the same discussion for those ‘hot’ days too.)

    just like above, i expect that most students will show and i hope the same for our faculty.

  • 150. science rules  |  January 4, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Re: wind chill PSA : )
    be smarter than the media hysteria; wind chill only is only felt by exposed skin. It’s not the measurable temp and is completely mitigated with a hat on the head, boots, or walls of your home. sorry, just starting to wage a grass-roots push back on mis-used sci terminology…. the hubby and kiddos keep referring to wind chill as an actual measurement.

  • 151. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 4, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    149. neighborhood parent | January 4, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    So far after inquiring with other parents, no kids that I know who attend SEHS are going. Among waiting for trains, els, walking to the school~a child could get frostbite. Also, what if the train breaks down or the el. That’s a chance I’m not willing to take. As a parent, safety is always the priority. On the really hot days, my kids were home just like many of their classmates.

    The district is so big, it’s hard to really do anything but what they’ve done and said~school is open but a parent should use discretion. If the parent believes it’s too cold~don’t send them~it’s an excused absence. CPS should be divided into smaller districts.

  • 152. HS Mom  |  January 4, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    @149 Yes, I thought the same too until I looked up the temps. It would be different if it was just a 6 block walk but there is also the wait at the train and changing trains and the commute. I would not trust my car in sever whether like this. My work will be closed Monday. Tuesday looks slightly better so we’ll see.

  • 153. CarolA  |  January 4, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    When my daughter went to CPS, there was a big storm and cold temps. It was the same CPS decision….come if you want. If not, it’s excused. Being a teacher and putting a high expectation on learning (and the calendar), my daughter went. She had to walk 2 blocks, wait for a bus, etc. She was one of only two students in one of her classes and the only one in another. She made the decision to leave. It took her over 2 hours to catch a bus and get home. She is now over 30 years old and not a winter goes by that we don’t laugh at my silly decision to send her that day. Everyone has to make their own choice. Today, I’d make a different decision. One day is not going to make or break an education, but frostbite can be a real problem. Everyone needs to examine their own situation and make a decision from there. I know my little ones will be warm because they will enter the building right away when parents drop them off. I actually worry about the parents who are waiting outside at dismissal. I’m HOPING admin will allow them to sit in the auditorium. We’ll see.

  • 154. cpsobsessed  |  January 4, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    From someone I know at Burley who is also highly knowledgeable about CPS in general:

    Burley has a CPS f/t nurse there 2 days a week and rotating nurses from a temp agency there 3 days a week. It’s not an ideal situation but it’s what many schools that have kids with daily medical needs have. It is not the norm at all to have a f/t CPS employee at a school every day. 

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 155. Veteran  |  January 4, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    The nurse is assigned to a school for one day a week BUT if the IEPS state “nurse services” and denotes minutes then she/he can be assigned more than one day a week. Usually, the nurse is tied up in special ed meetings or wading through medical paperwork to meet compliance issues. The teachers end up being the nurse and the gym teacher is used fro more serious issues.

    CPS needs to train teachers in CPR, Epi-pens, allergies, and other common ailments and also train teacher about blood/bodily fluid diseases. Any training I have I received on my own.

  • 156. vikingmom  |  January 4, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Re: no treats/cupcakes in the classroom. I am behind this 100% but also feel the options given (pass out activity books, pencils etc. Or read a book of your choice) are geared to younger kids. My child was absolutely disgusted upon getting this info in a 6th grade classroom. Re: bad weather , I do think kids should be going to school no matter the weather (I don’t get the day off work Monday) the cta factor is a problem, having experienced too many weather-related delays myself. Now I’m dating myself but do any Chicago natives recall the blizzard of 79? I remember walking to school in the street (for whatever reason driving your kid to school was unheard of) in giant snowdrifts. And coming home for lunch so 4 trips daily (but not uphill each way ;))

  • 157. cpsobsessed  |  January 4, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    I’m old enough that I should recall the 1979 blizzard but I don’t – probably because it minimally affected me as a young teen.
    I DO recall as a junior or senior in high school it was cold like monday will be and I wanted to drive to socialize and my parents wouldn’t let me out. And I’m still mad about it! Hahaha

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 158. HS Mom  |  January 4, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    @156 Viking mom In 1979 the whole city was at a standstill because of the snow, including public transportation. That was a little different. Kids must have gone to neighborhood schools back then because walking was the only option. Your name is very appropriate ;)

    The early 80′s had some frigid temps. I remember holding up in my apartment not being able to go home for Christmas. Abandoned cars on the road everywhere. I can imagine that in the days when school was only a few blocks away, kids did tough it out. We would. Fortunately, this will only be a couple days then the temps are back up….not nearly the same as the prolonged extremes in the past. Even with the recent blizzard of 2011 – up to 60 the next week. Didn’t make those snow days any less necessary.

  • 159. HS Mom  |  January 4, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Interesting, now that you got me thinking of weather:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_1985_Arctic_outbreak

    “From Sunday, January 20, to Tuesday, January 22, 1985, the polar vortex, coupled with a large ridge of high pressure, moved polar air into the United States as far south as Florida….An early victim of the air mass was the city of Chicago, which recorded a record low of −27 °F (−33 °C), coupled with 25 miles per hour (11 m/s) winds to produce a wind chill of −77 °F (−61 °C), also never recorded before. The wind chill calculation was adjusted in 2001, which would make the value about −60 °F (−51 °C) on the new scale”

    For me puts a perspective on it – Monday is supposed to be -12, -40 wind chill…..not too far off from the record low.

  • 160. CarolA  |  January 4, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Maybe we are becoming too wimpy with the weather. :) It is winter in Chicago after all.

  • 161. WesLooMom  |  January 4, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    My child will go to school on Monday and Tuesday, because I’m going to work, we live close to school, and I can drive her to and from school. But, I would welcome a decision to close the schools. No one should be encouraged to consider sending a child to school when the temps are dangerously low.

  • 162. WesLooMom  |  January 4, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    …I worry about kids who have a long distance to travel in the elements or who are not properly dressed.

  • 163. Kate  |  January 4, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    I can’t read 160 comments…have to get back to work

    As a parent of a kid with special needs (IEP for 2 conditions) in a CPS school, the best you can do for your child is to *not* petition individual teachers as a first step. That is not the right way to get the correct needs met.

    One of your child’s teachers may give you feedback that there is a learning or behavioral or some other difficulty with learning or organization etc. and that can happen in any grade… or there may be a health problem or other problem you are aware of at home, but with 30+ kids a teacher does not have the time Nor are they experts at how to diagnose and define accommodations–they are supposed to be teaching.

    Special Ed teachers, social workers, counselors, speech and language therapists etc–they may recognize something; but the first step is to speak to someone who is to handle individual student cases.

    Most schools have someone serving in the role of a “case manager” or counselor who handles IEPs and 504s etc. This is someone who can help you get *appropriate* accommodations made that are minor if needed, OR s/he can help your child get tested to find out is there something not yet diagnosed.

    I would never want a teacher or parent “deciding” an accommodation–an expert in Accommodations–like a special ed teacher, should be doing that then working with the teacher and parents to implement it.

    Also–parents cannot “diagnose” either–my son getting fully tested was so amazingly helpful at revealing some disabilities while hard to “see” really did affect his learning

    Post accommodations he is getting As and Bs.

    Also–DOCUMENT everyhting in a friendly way. Communicate by email to CPS addresses NOT personal email of teachers etc, or put it in letter/paper form and make a copy.

    The Board has not been listening to the clamor by teachers and parents of kids with spec needs for more social workers and spec ed teachers, so they are Overwhelmed with cases and you really need to keep on them to get your child fully sorted out within a year.

  • 164. Kate  |  January 4, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    By the way–I had to fight for a year for my son to be fully tested because those idiots running the Admin/Board want to make it harder for kids to get IEPs due to the resources involved–yes it is expensive to accommodate kids with special needs but they MUST be accommodated. What kind of society is this otherwise?

    My son, like every child, has special talents, should be streamlined in a “regular” school because he is capable (he gets high ISATS), and by having accommodations he is on a level playing field.

    He was failing everything but math until he got fully tested and he just was recently again approved for his 3 yr IEP.

    His teachers, all except 2 in 6 years, have been fabulous and once they were informed what they had to do…and I have things I have to do at home…we made a great team at making sure my kid wasn’t left way behind.

    He had to repeat kindergarden due to CPS corporate thinking about children–trying to delay me with “alternatives” that were cheaper instead of just doing the full battery of tests. Zero respect for CPS Board in our home.

  • 165. Kate  |  January 4, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    139. cpsobsessed

    If a student has a disability that falls under ADA or if a medical professional declares that a health condition of any kind can require accommodations, then a student must register with the Disability office at a college or University (for legal reasons). These offices have case workers and professional Spec Ed staff.

    Plans do not automatically transfer to a Higher ed institution but you can request a file to give to the Disability office. The professional in those offices review the medical letters/etc and come up with an accommodations request to be given to all University professors the student has a class with. As long as an accommodation does not “compromise the essential elements of the course” the accommodation is supposed to be met.

    There are legal repercussions for not accommodating students with legit issues which include illnesses like cancer or even a boken bone or sports injury where a student can’t write with their dominant hand etc

  • 166. teflonmom  |  January 4, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    My 1st grader with mild autism finally got a 504 plan after months of waiting to have our meeting. Unfortunately the accommodations offered were laughable. 1/2 hour a month of OT consultation with the teacher, a social skills group with the social worker that never materialized and…that’s it. Everything else was put on the teacher who already has her hands full in the classroom. He is allowed to use a tablet (computer) for independent reading and writing and the teacher has him seated alone so that he can “hide” from sensory distractions. We do not blame any of the individuals–his teacher is wonderful and the rest of the supportive staff are completely overwhelmed with the number of students they serve. I have absolutely no idea where to go or who to turn to–I looked at a few private schools but they didn’t seem to have the right resources for our kid either. The suburbs are not an option for us. I was at my wit’s end and I finally realized that homeschooling (for now) is probably our best option. My child is bright and loves to learn but he needs hands-on activities and lots of physical exertion (heavy work) as well as a great deal of one-on-one instruction. This is something that CPS simply doesn’t offer.

  • 167. Hyde park mom  |  January 5, 2014 at 1:31 am

    Just my random thoughts:I agree teachers should receive sine training in CPR, opens, blood and bodily fluids. I am sure parents who work in the medical professions would volunteer to train, I know I would.This is especially helpful in schools without a nurse, lets empower the staff.On a non related note, my twins gifted, classical test for K is this Tuesday, im so worried if it will be canceled due to weather! Just our luck. EVEN if its not canceled, im worried about the weather conditions in general.Im keeping my 7 year old home mon and tues!

  • 168. Hyde park mom  |  January 5, 2014 at 1:37 am

    Apolgies, my cell created typos in my post, I meant to write training in Cpr, and epi pens

  • 169. teflonmom  |  January 5, 2014 at 7:11 am

    @27 Counterpoint for Discussion “I don’t want a doctor with a 504/IEP plan.
    I don’t want a lawyer with a…..
    I don’t want a banker with a….
    I don’t want a pilot with a ……….
    Progressives are coddling people that will end up hurting society because of their inability to make quick decisions in stressful situations. Treat all kids equal. If they can’t take the test within the time limits and within the format that it is offered, they deserve the F+.
    That’s what made America great.”

    So, here is my counterpoint. What am I to do as a parent of a child who is failing in the classroom due to mild autism spectrum disorder? Am I to accept the fact that he comes home from school and tells me that he wants to kill himself, that he is stupid and an idiot? Am I to accept this even though he has an above average IQ, is brilliantly creative in his thinking and loves science and math? Or do I look at the classroom setting, which is completely unlike any modern day workplace, and realize that although he fails at sitting quietly reading written instructions and reading and writing all day that he has talents that could be strengthened if he is allowed certain accommodations, like being allowed to walk around while answering questions, or being able to roll on the floor if he is having trouble sitting still? Would I expect a physician to roll on the floor? No. but I am talking about a 7 year old boy, not a physician. And I doubt my child will become a physician. He has a brain more suited to innovation and entrpreneurialship–he comes up with business ideas all day long, and enjoys hard physical work and loves to count and think about money, things that are suited to his brain. This is hardly an issue of progressive coddling. In fact, what makes America great is our ability to adapt to changing markets and new technologies and to take risks. Our school system is exactly the opposite of that–a cookie cutter approach that fits a certain percentage of students that are good at sitting still, doing what they are told and following directions–all important skills, but not the only skills that are necessary for success in today’s economy and job market.

  • 170. Esmom  |  January 5, 2014 at 7:58 am

    @166, your “wish list” for the types of accommodations you mention does exist within CPS. We switched schools four times when my son, also with an ASD, was between the ages of 3 and 7. So it took a bit of trial and error but we finally hit on the right setting. Granted it was not easy. Best of luck to you.

  • 171. chimeragirl2010  |  January 5, 2014 at 8:11 am

    @170–where were you able to find such accommodations? My son is in first grade and was diagnosed with ASD last year. He had delays as a baby and toddler but then always caught up. We had him evaluated for speech in pre-K (CPS) but he didn’t qualify for services through the school so we do it privately. He has social delays, but when he is well-regulated (being given enough sensory input) they are quite mild. The main place he struggles is in the classroom. I have no idea how we would be able to switch schools given the lottery system–we have applied every year but have only been accepted to one of our choices–a neighborhood school where he got in via lottery. He has a high-average IQ but he is not gifted, so selective enrollment is not possible.

  • 172. Kate  |  January 5, 2014 at 10:53 am

    169 Teflon mom.

    Your son should be able to become whatever he wants to be, it just takes support.

    My cousin who has Aspergers is finishing his PhD in physics now and he had enormous problems in early school but his Mom forced them (it’s the law) to accommodate him. If the accommodations are laughable or do not work, email me and I will tell you what to do. My son’s accommodations are very complicated but they do them and I get after people. It is exhausting, but it works. mizzpeel@yahoo.com

  • 173. CPS Parent  |  January 5, 2014 at 11:51 am

    167. Hyde park mom – there is no way that the teacher’s union would allow any kind of medical training for teachers because it reduces the need for school nurses who are also required to be in the CTU.

  • 174. cpsmommy  |  January 5, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Teachers are trained to use epipens every year. They also received training in how to deal with seizures (all kinds) earlier this year (some last year). Teachers are already expected to perform medical intervention as the need arises and have received training for this. Where do you get your info CPS Parent?

  • 175. @169  |  January 5, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    @169 love your post because I could have written it. My experience with the top RGC is they won’t suggest a diagnosis (adhd/asd/dyslexia). I suspect it is difficult to accommodate and most don’t want to if the kid is getting by. Finally had him evaluated…off chart adhd, mild asd, mild dyslexia. I took son out and now he is performing better. I do agree with ‘real world’ and am going to see how he fares without meds this year….he is super thin already. I don’t anticipate all As ever, even though all testing indicate exceptional potential.

  • 176. Teacher in Peril  |  January 5, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    We learned how to use epipens…buttttt…its complicated .we are not trained for medical emergencies ….i woulndnt count on my childs health at cps…principals….in my opinion….are more worried about “the show”…..than a childs health……i’ve made emergency buzzs to the office…..and they never came. Or i took kid myself….

  • 177. Teacher in Peril  |  January 5, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    If you dont believe ….me…why is cps open in -40 degrees…its rahms education show

  • 178. Mom and Teacher  |  January 5, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    @173 our school nurse had “practice” epi pens that she used to teach the staff. We reviewed procedures, practiced on each other, etc. Your information is incorrect. I have seen teachers respond in emergencies. When the welfare of a child is on the line, teachers are ready to respond to the best of their abilities.

  • 179. cpsmommy  |  January 5, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Rahm’s kids won’t be going to school.

    Lab closed Monday

    In keeping with a University-wide decision, due to extreme weather forecasts and related safety concerns, the Laboratory Schools will be closed on Monday. Regular classes are expected to resume on Tuesday.
    .

  • 180. Hyde park mom  |  January 5, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Cps really is putting on a show for Monday, so if Lab is closed, and Rahm kids are staying home, then its good enough for us Cps pawns.

  • 181. Jack Frost  |  January 5, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    “then its good enough for us Cps pawns.”

    Boo hoo. If your kids can’t handle the cold keep them home. Or move to a warmer climate. No wonder we are raising a generation of whiners…they are learning from their parents.

  • 182. cpsmommy  |  January 5, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    I don’t see this as an issue about whining or being wimps. Many other schools and daycare facilities are closed. So this is not just the students who will miss because of the cold (some catch multiple busses to get to school) but teachers and staff may be left with no childcare for their own children because EVERYTHING seems to be closing. I have gotten two emails today about activities for my kids that won’t happen tomorrow, and the usual policy of both is to be open if CPS is open. I would rather CPS close for tomorrow and announce that they will have school instead on Feb 12 – Lincoln’s birthday.

    BTW – my kids will go to school if it is open. I am just trying to be practical in all of this.

  • 183. WorkingMommyof2  |  January 5, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    I had been thinking I’d tough it out and take my kids to school tomorrow, but I’m leaning against it right now. It’s hard to even drive around our unplowed side streets right now. Going to be chunks of ice tomorrow. Not worth risking getting stuck out there. And while we usually walk (a little over a half-mile) I’m not going to try that either with my kindergartener in those conditions.

  • 184. Questioner  |  January 5, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Is anyone keeping their kids home tomorrow? I am taking mine to school. Just wondering.

  • 185. teflonmom  |  January 5, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    @181jackfrost–Please don’t be too quick to judge–my friend is keeping her child home because she has a newborn who she also has to take when she drops off and picks up her older son (who is 6). Her husband has to be at work, so there is nobody to look after the infant–and no, she will not subject a 3 week old child to sub-freezing temps. Since they walk to school, there is no option of jumping from a warm car into the school. Please people, be kind and realize that you do not always know the whole story!

  • 186. Hyde park mom  |  January 5, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    @jacfrost, your obnoxious comment was not necessary and didnt add anything meaningful to the concerns posed relating to the weather.Need flash for you:some kids, esp those who attend rice, rely on the school bus to get to school. Even in mild weather these buses often show up very late, so in these conditions tomorrow, It would be foolish to expect a smooth cps bus commute.For sime the commute is already long, and I expect it to be worse tomorrow.Sounds to me like it is you doing the whining actually by referring to legit concerns as boo boo.

  • 187. Don't get it  |  January 5, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    Isn’t it good enough that CPS has announced that you can stay home if you want to absences will be excused Monday and Tuesday? Everything has got to have a subliminal plot or “Rahm agenda”? As it is, half the people here think you should go to school no matter what and the other half are outraged that schools are not completely shut down so that we lose federal funds or need to extend school in the summer. Obviously, no one is happy with any decision even a compromise decision. We need to pattern our broke a$$$ system after lab school. unbelievable.

  • 188. cpsobsessed  |  January 5, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    I’m trying to decide whether I’d feel better being a weather wimp or a weather martyr. The only advantage I can think of to being a weather martyr is that you get to make fun of the weather wimps.
    The advantages of being a weather wimp seem vast, less chance of mishaps and painful cold.
    I’m leaning toward keeping my kid home tomorrow but I need to really fee that cold to understand it. Looking outside my window is adding points to the weather wimp side.

  • 189. CarolA  |  January 5, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Keep in mind that an excused absence is still an absence. Not sure if anyone cares about that, but wanted to be clear. I think everyone must address their own situation and make the decision that’s best for them. Don’t worry about the others. If you have a baby to take out in this mess…not such a good idea. If your child has to wait by a school to be picked up and can’t go inside where it is warm….not such a good idea. If you can get your child to school just before it starts and you can drop them off close to the door, then why not go? If you have to work yourself….send them to school. Someone told me and I don’t know if this is true, but it said that schools will be open 1 1/2 hours prior to the start of the school day. Did anyone hear that?

  • 190. Mom and Teacher  |  January 5, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    From the suntimes: “For those who still attend class, school doors will open 90 minutes early, and remain unlocked for an extended amount of time after class lets out. Officials for the district, who were also not in attendance, will make schools are properly heated, Schenkel said.”

    Barring the food/heat situation, why would someone want to send their child to school if instruction is not taking place?

  • 191. CPS parent  |  January 5, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    I get that this website is primarily frequented by “obsessed” parents, so maybe a little dose of reality is worth injecting. CPS is operating 681 schools for over 400,000 students, 86% of whom are from low-income families. They have a calendar published of the dates the school will be open, which most of those families count on and plan around. They are keeping their commitment to the students and parents, ensuring that the schools are safe and warm (just received an email from our Principal saying that she’s there today), giving us the option to keep the kids home if we prefer (and are lucky enough to have that option), and can even have our kids go to the nearest CPS school as an option if we feel the commute is too far. What exactly would you do differently considering that many of these kids will not have access to a safe environment and meals if the schools are closed?

  • 192. anonymouse teacher  |  January 5, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Talked to all of my grade level colleagues today-who I’ve missed and it was so nice to . One lives close to school and plans on going. The other is far and will try. I’m mid-way between and will try. It appears as if at my school we are planning on large scale absences based on what my principal emailed, so we’ll just let them play all day. If I only have 25% of my class, I’m going to use the day to start doing running records. My colleagues and I can take turns watching the entire grade level in one room and the others can pull the kids who show up for testing. Its a lot easier to do that than during reading groups with 30 other kids in the room at the same time. I also plan on getting my entire room cleaned up. Guess there’s a silver lining in crazy weather. My students and I can wear our coats and mittens and its not like we’ll die. We can all pretend we are in the zombie apocalypse. It might be fun! I think I remember a Little House chapter where Laura tells all her students to get close to the stove to stay warm. We can pretend that too.

  • 193. HS Mom  |  January 5, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    @166 Teflon mom – a 504 is not right for your situation. Your child should absolutely get an IEP if anything to get access to get resource periods or pull-out services. I was lucky in that my school was proactive and they took the initiative. Sounds like yours is holding you back. I would start with the hierarchy at the school then if necessary go over their heads. 169 – great post! Enjoyed reading.

    @182 – It is not possible to take Lincolns b-day as a make-up.

    @189 – Yes, unexcused absence is still an absence. I guess if you are on line for perfect attendance and it’s important then something to consider. All I ask is please don’t send your kid in if they get sick because others are trying to avoid illness by staying in.

  • 194. Esmom  |  January 5, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    @171, I’m afraid without an IEP it is definitely not so easy to switch schools or to get the accommodations your child needs. With his IEP, my son qualified for numerous options for schools/special ed programs, it was just a matter of finding the right one. He was essentially exempt from any lottery. In the end we didn’t even end up at one of CPS’ recommended schools, we took a chance on a fledging TBPK near our house that I just knew would be perfect for him after talking to the principal at an open house I’d heard about. The program grew after the first year but we stayed there through K, then switched to our neighborhood school, all very smoothy I might add, thanks to the IEP.

    I would try to push for an IEP again, perhaps even hire an advocate to help the process (very pricey, I know). It sounds as if it’s much more difficult to qualify for services now than it was for us, which is a crying shame. Every child, regardless of how “mild” his or her challenges might be, deserves every chance to reach his or her potential.

  • 195. anonymouse teacher  |  January 5, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    I wonder who is going to be at my school 90 minutes before school starts? That’s 6:30 a.m. people. I can see having the building open 30 minutes early, but 90? My poor principal is going to have to leave her home at 4:30 or 5 a.m. to make it to school in terrible weather by 6:30. WE ARE NOT BABYSITTERS FOR CHICAGO! I’m sorry, but if parents need to leave early to make it to their workplace on time, they need to figure it out their own selves and hire their own sitters with their own resources. For real.

  • 196. just another mom  |  January 5, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    @187 and @191 Thanks for the dose of sanity. : ) Our principal sent out a robocall with the CPS information about any absences being excused and also stated that our school won’t hold an absence on Monday/Tuesday against a student for purposes of perfect attendance either. We live very close to school and I have a seventh grader, so we are planning to attend…In this case, I think CPS is making the best decision they can with all factors taken into account. Parents can make the best choice for their student/family situation.

  • 197. Kate  |  January 5, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Jack Frost snide comment misses an important feature of the weather problem tomorrow–this is Not typical and many people will have cars failing to start or stalling on the road (dangerous), many students do not have warm boots or clothing that is appropriate–there are many poor kids in this city so it doesn’t help to mock people and call them wimps. It is financially STUPID to open the schools tomorrow.

    Well it just makes me think he and others forgot what the late 1970 early 80s was like.

    We will have burst pipes, windows breaking, roofs leaking, buses and other forms of transport failing. We also are likely to have fires and power outages.

    Tuesday it will be above Zero…but tomorrow it is crazy to open the schools with all of the knock on effects of -11F …short memories or maybe those accusing others of being wimpy weren’t here or weren’t on mid to low income in late 70s early 80s.

    My car is in a heated garage and I am working from home tomorrow–I can drive my son to school, and will if it is open, but I am in a luxury situation compared to likely 90% of CPS parents.

  • 198. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 5, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    184. Questioner | January 5, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Mine aren’t going to school and I don’t know anyone in my area who will be sending their kids.

    191. CPS parent | January 5, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    You’ve just proved the point that CPS is too big of a district and should be divided into small districts.

  • 199. Less Obsessed, I Guess  |  January 5, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    198. Your logic is stretching things a bit. You could have 681 separate districts and you’d still have to roll up to the City level at some point. The point was that CPS (like every major city’s school system) has to serve the needs of the majority. This forum does not, and is not frequented by the average CPS parent. I would like to see more folks on this board being thankful for what CPS does to try to meet the needs of the outliers (be they gifted or challenged), while meeting the needs of the core; rather than trying to find fault (or worse, conspiracy) in every action.

  • 200. HS Mom  |  January 5, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    @199 We have both kinds here. Country and Western.

  • 201. CarolA  |  January 5, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    Good point Less Obsessed. Nobody is being made fun of or mocking people here Kate, just expressing opinions. Ease up. Friend just said schools are closed.

  • 202. CarolA  |  January 5, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Tribune just reported and so did channel 5 NO SCHOOL

  • 203. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 5, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    No school http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local/chicago_news&id=9382245

  • 204. anonymouse teacher  |  January 5, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    Thank god, someone made a sensible choice!

  • 205. Hyde park mom  |  January 5, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    So glad the closing is official.I was feeling like a slacker parent for keeping son home. ..lol.Wonder if the powers that be read this blog, curious to know what caused the sudden shift.

  • 206. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 5, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    199. Less Obsessed, I Guess | January 5, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    ‘I would like to see more folks on this board being thankful’

    I’m thankful CPS came to their senses and did what is right for all the kids~CLOSED!

  • 207. HS Mom  |  January 5, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    So anyone know what the deal is for Tuesday? Still optional?

  • 208. CarolA  |  January 5, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Just got another call from CPS that said they will make a decision on Tuesday sometime tomorrow

  • 209. Kate  |  January 5, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    Yay, finally seeing sense CPS

  • 210. HS Mom  |  January 5, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    CarolA – thanks!

  • 211. Prof 15  |  January 5, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    I love it! Some folks can’t trust their government overloads to call a snow day, but they have no problem trusting them to run the health care system. LOL!! Weeeeeeee! No school tomortow! Our kids are smarter with one less union day!!!

  • 212. anonymouse teacher  |  January 5, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    @173, baloney. Union or not, I do all kinds of things far outside the scope of my job description, including cleaning up puke, cleaning up blood, ensuring my room is clean (basics that the custodial staff should be doing but doesn’t), doing all my own tech support, etc.

    We get “training”, but it is hit or miss. Sometimes it happens, sometimes not, sometimes CPS says it happens and they lie. Sometimes they require us to watch webinars, like the month before break, all about food allergies and protecting kids. Except, the webinar is inaccessible. My colleagues and I kept hitting “log in”. We kept hitting that button 2-3 dozen times. Guess what happened? After about 10 minutes of that, suddenly the system that keeps track of all the trainings we attend (live or computer based) showed this on the screen: “Training Completed”. Yet we had not been able to access the training. So our admin sent a 2 paragraph email with the gist of the training. Done. That was the extent of it.

    Seriously, if you are a parent of a child with a life threatening illness, you need to assume that you and you alone will be responsible for ensuring each and every staff member you depend on to keep your child safe has been trained. Do you really want to rely on CPS for that? As a teacher, when I’ve had kids with these kinds of issues, I go directly to the parent, find out exactly what I need to do and do it. I wouldn’t count on CPS to take care of my pet fish, let alone a child. You cannot count on them.

    Here’s another little story. My school was supposed to offer epi-pen training at the start of the year. Only 50% or so of the staff was in attendance (the others were at another mandatory meeting). The training lasted all of 5 minutes. Later that week, a colleague came to me and asked ME to train her on the epi-pen. I did my best, but really, I am not a medical professional and don’t think I should be teaching anyone else how to use one. (oh, and the misinformation was going around of “call the office first, then call 911, then administer the epi-pen, which had me irate beyond belief!) This is the kind of “training” that happens. Not in all schools, no, but do you want to risk your child’s life that the principal you speak with is being honest? That the CPS official is honest?
    I mean, damn, I read that lie in the Sun Times where the Operations manager from CPS said he had gotten NO feedback from principals saying that there were any unresolved heat issues. I know first hand this is false. I don’t trust CPS under any circumstance ever.

  • 213. Veteran  |  January 5, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    # 212 You are so right.

    When I started in CPS the janitors were unionized not ten dollar an hour fly by night people hired by private companies. The schools where I worked on the south and west sides were clean, the floors sparkled and safety was stressed. There was no soft furniture, (bugs) no curtains and no mobiles hanging format the lights (fire hazard) and no eating in the classrooms. The janitors treated the school like their home and took pride in keeping it clean-not any more. We now have janitors who don’t even know how to clean a toilet, use the same mop to clean the lunchroom floor that they just cleaned up vomit with and refuse to clean out a classroom sink because “it’s a personal item.”

    Ask at your child’s school when was the last time the windows were washed, the air vents cleaned or ledges etc dusted and washed. If your child is getting sick with respiratory illnesses during the school year look for sources of mold in the classroom, school or under the classroom if it’s a demountable.

    I don’t trust CPS because they lie constantly and the sad part is that they get away with it.

    Teachers have filed grievances with CTU regarding school cleanliness and mold from leaking roofs AFTER getting no help from CPS. Principals who get no help from CPS have asked the school delegates to file grievances to get issues resolved because they get no help from CPS.

    If you are an employee of CPS you need CTU to ensure safe working conditions.

  • 214. WesLooMom  |  January 5, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    Glad schools are closed, although our two-block drive from door to door would have been okay. I know that not everyone has an easy commute.

    CPS and allergies: I’d educate my child as much as possible on her allergies. I would not rely on the school system. That’s how my parents handled my allergies.

  • 215. almostdonewithIEP  |  January 5, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    @teflonmom
    It is hard when your kid hates school like that. You get stuck between wanting them happy and wanting them to learn what they can learn best with a group of kids.
    I’d suggest a lawyer if you can get one to get the school to follow the IEP. Sometimes if you bring one to one meeting, the school will think twice about breaking the IEP. Otherwise, I bought one of the NOLO self help law books about IEP law and used it. I frequently had to write letters to the principal pointing out that the school was violating the law. Unfortunately, you probably won’t get what you need without making it clear you know what the law is.

    And yes, it does really concern me that the kids whose parents don’t have the resources we do probably aren’t getting what they need. I know I saw kids like that in my kid’s elementary school.

  • 216. teflonmom  |  January 6, 2014 at 12:10 am

    @Kate#172 and HSmom#193 and almostdonewithiep#215–thanks all for your helpful comments. It comes down to the fact that I don’t think I am suited to go to war with a system that just isn’t working for my kid. It saddens me so much because I attended public school and am a huge advocate of public schools in general. I love the energy, diversity, community and “buzz” of the school. But my child just cannot seem to function in a group of more than a few kids at a time. I keep feeling like I am trying to pound a square peg into a round hole. I am torn because I love the idea of my kid mastering a tough situation, but I don’t see any glimmers of hope that will happen. In fact, I just see that he thrives in the summer when we spends all day doing natural hands-on learning–he seems like a typical, happy smart kid and as soon as school starts he beings to revert back to “autistic” behaviors like licking, spinning, barking and hiding under his desk. People who know him outside of the school setting are SHOCKED when they learn that he does these things. I have come to accept that at this time, school is most likely not the right place for him.

  • 217. Way Outta There  |  January 6, 2014 at 12:13 am

    To OT Dad #136 — thanks for the apology. You seem like a thoughtful guy who just doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Educating children in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) has been part of special education law since 1975. Simply put, removal of a child with disabilities from the general education class may occur only if the child cannot be satisfactorily educated in the regular educational environment with the use of supplementary aids and services. What are supplementary aids and services? They can be simple, as you suggest, such as seating in the front of the room or extra time on tests. Or they can be more complex, such as having tests read, more frequent instruction, receiving slower-paced instruction. This is all supposed to be provided in the general ed classroom as much as possible as there are very good reasons for the hierarchy of services provided for in an IEP: general ed / gen ed with supplemental aids and services / gen ed with pull out / self contained classroom in gen ed building / separate school (“tuitioned out”). After all, this has been Federal law for nearly 40 years. Please Google LRE and read up on it.

    I think your problem might be that CPS often refuses to provide sufficient classroom aides to provide a LRE and somehow the “regular kid” (your words….grrrr….) gets shortchanged. However, that’s certainly not the fault of the student who needs the services or that student’s family for fighting for their students’ legal rights.

    Your remark about your daughter in kindergarten who seems to know exactly who is struggling in school is a bit chilling to me. The last thread on this topic (which CPSO pulled down after a few days) was about a particular teacher in a particular school who was resigning mid year because of some kind of special ed situation and parents had hired a lawyer to ensure their student received an appropriate education. One of the first people who posted remarked something like: Shun that family. Make sure that kid doesn’t have any play dates. You think that hyperbole? It’s not. I have personally seen this go on and it’s pretty devastating to the shunned student and the family. Thanks for letting me know I’m not crazy and that, in fact, shunning begins in kindergarten.

  • 218. CarolA  |  January 6, 2014 at 7:17 am

    Way Outta There: You posted some great information that makes us reflect on our own ideas. I think, however, you are misled thinking that shunning begins in kindergarten. Shunning is quite different than children knowing that certain kids need more help than others. In fact, I’d be worried if children didn’t know what was going on in their own classroom. Young children nowadays don’t notice differences in a negative way unless they’ve been taught that by someone else.

  • 219. Veteran  |  January 6, 2014 at 9:18 am

    #217 “I think your problem might be that CPS often refuses to provide sufficient classroom aides to provide a LRE and somehow the “regular kid” (your words….grrrr….) gets shortchanged. However, that’s certainly not the fault of the student who needs the services or that student’s family for fighting for their students’ legal rights.”

    This is the crux of the matter. CPS will flat out tell its employees-no aides due to no money. The other excuse they give is that the child will become too dependent on the aide or that it makes the child feel different. Well, nothing makes a child feel different than not being able to do what the rest of the students are doing. As far as dependence on the aide-the IEP is not being monitored if the child is too dependent on the aide. A competent aide in a gen ed classroom can make the difference between success and failure for a child with disabilities. CPS would rather place the child in a self-contained sped room with sixteen students and one aide as opposed to placing the child in a gen ed room with an aide even when the aide is there to support two -three sped students.

    The suburban schools with gen ed class sizes of about 22 have aides in the classroom for the students with disabilities.

    I am assuming that the majority of parents on this blog would demand an aide if their child needed it but many parents are unaware of the difference an aide can make and CPS does not tell them.

  • 220. CarolA  |  January 6, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Veteran makes some very valid points. Even though the aide is for a particular child or two, a competent aide will meander the classroom to help all with special attention to some (per IEP) and more time with others (per IEP). When that happens, it’s a smooth sailing day. When an aide sits next to one child and never moves and/or is placed in the back of the room, it DOES stand out and makes everyone uncomfortable, especially the child.

  • 221. anonymouse teacher  |  January 6, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    I attended a webinar last year where the woman speaking outright said that they were denying aides unless there was dire need and the teacher had copious amounts of data and documentation. When asked for a sample or explanation of what would constitute appropriate kinds or amounts of data, the speaker refused to provide this. There is no
    standard available, which makes it much easier for the system to deny aides. Essentially, unless the child is a danger to themselves or others, or there is some medical diagnosis, no aide.

  • 222. CarolA  |  January 6, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Even when the child is a danger to self or others, it takes awhile. We have that going on in our school right now and I had a similar situation a couple of years ago. CPS is not SPED friendly.

  • 223. CPS KG mom  |  January 6, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    I just got an e-mail stating that CPS is closed for Tuesday 1/7 as well.

  • 224. CarolA  |  January 6, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    On TV, it’s confirmed. No school Tuesday.

  • 225. cpsobsessed  |  January 6, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Omg, I am going stir crazy!
    My son is singing some llama song from the internet over and over.
    Please mother nature, send warmth!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 226. teflonmom  |  January 6, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    @225 Here are some ideas to keep your kids interested: throw a cup of boiling water into the wind (away from you) and watch it turn to powder, blow bubbles and watch them freeze, hang a wet t-shirt or pair of light pants on a hanger outside and watch it freeze solid in about 3 minutes, crack an egg on the sidewalk (check back in 10 minutes for complete frozen solid egg), freeze a banana oustide and use it as a hammer. These activities have kept us busy today….now to look for ideas for tomorrow!

  • 227. Fun  |  January 6, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    #226 teflonmom – o.k .that took 15 minutes. What else you got? :)

    And thanks! Loved seeing the powder.

  • 228. anonymouse teacher  |  January 6, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    If you have small round balloons, you can put water and food coloring in them. Leave them outside to freeze all the way through (not sure how long in this weather), then cut off balloon and you have these pretty cool, frozen colored ball ice cubes.
    -make paper snowflakes and talk about symmetry
    -bake chocolate chip cookies and eat them-yum!
    -play hide and seek with your kids-its just as fun as you remember it
    -drink hot chocolate or coffee with whip cream

    @226, I like your ideas!

  • 229. local  |  January 6, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    @ 221. anonymouse teacher | January 6, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    “I attended a webinar last year where the woman speaking outright said that they were denying aides unless there was dire need and the teacher had copious amounts of data and documentation. When asked for a sample or explanation of what would constitute appropriate kinds or amounts of data, the speaker refused to provide this. There is no standard available, which makes it much easier for the system to deny aides. Essentially, unless the child is a danger to themselves or others, or there is some medical diagnosis, no aide.”

    > Ugh. I hate CPS.

  • 230. Family Friend  |  January 6, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    This discussion is frustrating. On the one hand, it makes it clear that it’s very difficult, because of the expense, to ensure that every child with a medical issue gets the necessary accommodations. On the other, there is a tremendous push to document everything, without allowing informal solutions. When my daughter was in first grade, she was having trouble concentrating, because she was just an active kid. Her teacher suggested she stand while doing her work. She couldn’t disturb the class, or run around, but I observed her once standing on one foot, leaning over her desk, chewing on the end of her pencil, and swinging the other foot madly, from a bent knee. She was completely focused on her work, and at the same time able to burn off the energy that had been keeping her from focusing. I can’t imagine this memorialized in a 504 plan, and it saddens me that teachers are not supposed to suggest these simple fixes without going through the bureaucracy.

  • 231. anonymouse teacher  |  January 6, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    @230, we do suggest and implement these kinds of simple fixes. Its when we’ve exhausted every single possibility known to man and still can’t seem to get the help we need (and the student needs) that, to me, is frustrating. RTI is sort of the go-between from regular ed to sped, where the informal solutions are implemented. I’d say though that they aren’t that informal when even then the documentation is daunting.
    I’ve had kids who need to roll around on the floor, stand up, jump, play with something in their hands, etc. To me, those are easy things and I’m happy to do them. Presently, I have one student who literally will run through the hall like a linebacker and purposely knock every kid over he can, just for fun. He knows it hurts other kids but either can’t or won’t stop. I can no longer allow him to ever be out of my sight or in the hall without my supervision. Ever. Its problematic and even with that kind of supervision, the negative behaviors continue. This child gets at least half of my total attention. I need help and I am never going to get it unless he injures someone very badly. This is where my frustration lies. I have 20+ weeks of documentation on him and still, all I can do is RTI (which, you probably know, means “all responsibility on the teacher all the time”). I hate that I think this way, but honestly, I’ve sort of written this year off and just hope to get through it. I’m lucky to have a few colleagues who have been helpful, but what I really need is an aide. I will be shocked if this child is not diagnosed with something in the next two to three years.

  • 232. cpsobsessed  |  January 6, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    @famfriend, I’ve heard too of teachers who come up with solutions. Perhaps that’s part of teacher frustration for some -they’d rather figure out what works in the classroom for that kid rather than be handed a prescribed list.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 233. Veteran  |  January 6, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    #230 Your daughter had a teacher with common sense-a simple solution to a simple problem in that not all children can sit still.
    Good teachers do these kinds of things without even thinking.

    We in CPS, have much more serious issues with children, and receive very little help from the support staff. I am talking about issues that we cannot address with 32 other students in a classroom. Some children need speech, counseling or social work services in order to be able to be successful in school yet we are told that the team is in the building only once a week and not to refer unless the problem is serious as in cutting, inappropriate drawings or inability to converse.

  • 234. CarolA  |  January 6, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    The majority of teachers will do those “simple fixes” without giving it a second thought. Another simple fix is using two folders as a “cubbie” during a time when the student needs to concentrate without distractions. They can easily be placed up or taken down at the student’s discretion. Of course, the list goes on. I currently have two children who love to stand. They aren’t quite as “antsy” as you describe, but still don’t like sitting. To solve this problem without them feeling removed from the class (put in the back), I have placed their desks (within their table group) so they face the middle of the room (still close to the front) and when they stand, their back is to the windows. They don’t block anyone’s view and no one cares they are standing. Glad your child’s teacher solved this quickly for you.

  • 235. CarolA  |  January 6, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    I think the point that the teachers posting here are trying to make is that before we refer a child for SPED testing, we have tried and documented a huge variety of techniques without success. We would love nothing more than to solve problems with simple fixes. We ask the other teachers in our school for advice. We research and see if there are other solutions out there. When we have exhausted (and documented) all of these things, we encourage the parent to move forward. That is why this frustration surfaces. Once we get to these meetings (after months/years of trying), share our documentation, etc. we are often told to try this or try that. We then say…..can’t you see we have done all that already? To which we are told…..let’s give it a little longer…they are still so young. Give them time. Since we see 30 children a year….year after year…..we can pretty much tell the difference between someone who just needs some extra help or simple fixes and someone who needs more help than we can give.

  • 236. Veteran  |  January 6, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Well said! This is the reason I went back to school to get a masters’
    in sped. I got so disgusted with the team telling me that they would out grow it I decided I would figure out how to help the children without them. I also wanted to know exactly what these mysterious tests were that the children always did better on than the classroom assessments.The counselor/case manager would not allow anyone to be referred until they hit fourth grade because “they are already handicapped by their race and to add another label would just not be right”. My co-worker screamed and called central office to get a child tested who had been at the school for two years in preschool, kindergarten, first and was now in second grade. He tested out at TMH/cognitively delayed. She went on maternity leave and never returned. I did give the phone number to central office to two parents who wanted their children tested and was reprimanded for it. The next year I received no consumables-all gone because I empowered parents.I was given one workbook for each subject and told to write the lesson on the board which I did and my students continued to score high. Finally, I transferred-loved the kids and parents but just could not take the school culture.

  • 237. local  |  January 6, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    “I’d suggest a lawyer if you can get one to get the school to follow the IEP. Sometimes if you bring one to one meeting, the school will think twice about breaking the IEP.”

    You can also request free, state-sponsored mediation with CPS from ISBE. Do it in writing soon, if interested.

  • 238. local  |  January 6, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    http://www.isbe.state.il.us/spec-ed/html/mediation.htm

    There’s the link. Just call the helpful contact at ISBE and start the process, if you’d like.

  • 239. local  |  January 6, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    And, here’s whom to call:

    Parties who would like to request mediation services or would like to learn more about the mediation system may contact Sherry Colegrove by e-mail in the Special Education Services Division of the Illinois State Board of Education or by phone at 217/782-5589. Parents may use the toll-free number (866)262-6663.

  • 240. IEP  |  January 6, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    Most parents need some help and direction to face cps in a dispute. It is not for the faint of heart. There is the family resource center that holds regulAr training sessions in disability rights plus they can meet with you 1:1 if time allows; Equip forcEqyality can provide free legal advice; thee are parent advocates that can help you navigate cps. Lots of resources but you need to talk to people and helps to go to conferences. I wouldn’t do mediation without legal guidance to help frame issue correcyly. Groups meet through out city st libraries etc to provide support to each other. Been out of thick of it for awhile but don’t go it alone. U don’t know what u don’t know.

  • 241. Counterpoint for discussion  |  January 7, 2014 at 2:01 am

    Dear 239 Local via 124 Local:
    How much more debt is the CPS and City going to go into in order to educate children that realistically that will be on Section 8, LINK, SSA Disability, SNAP, and WIC after they get off their mama’s ticket?

    Your positions are great when the cup runneth over, but the last time I checked our financial solvency was weak to borderline Detroitlike. The bond rating of CPS is based on the captive taxation model. ie: People live there, so they’ll have to pay for all financial requirements of the CPS.

    That’s where the rubber meets the road, Chicago has lost out on manufacturing base, producing class (ie: police, fire and teachers salaries don’t count because their salaries are paid by taxpayers and are not organic economic growth), and population flight.

    Summed up, your Nazi remark doesn’t hurt, but your solutions for our Chicago/American modern day disaster hurt our chances of a prosperous Chicago. Oh, by the way, your solutions are actually Socialist/Nazi, nine are just “Tough Love”.

  • 242. CarolA  |  January 7, 2014 at 7:18 am

    Counterpoint to Counterpoint: Why not PROPERLY educate our young with special needs (and without) and we won’t have some of the suggested problems you list? Many recipients of the benefits you mention do not necessarily have SPED needs, but come from households where education is not put not the front burner. Two separate issues.

  • 243. WRP Mom  |  January 7, 2014 at 7:46 am

    Counterpoint, you may want to reread your history. The Nazis were not socialists, they were fascists. Their solution for their disabled citizens was at first, forced sterilization and later euthanization, as a form of “culling the herd” since they were a drain on society. Look it up.

  • 244. michele  |  January 7, 2014 at 10:21 am

    @241 so what’s your solution to educating special needs kids? I am sure you did not intend to imply special needs and poor children should not be educated. That solution is already is in practice in many other countries. Have you had a chance to travel to countries like Guatemala or India and see children and families picking through the garbage dumps for food or hear the stories of aid workers finding disabled children on the side of the road because parents can’t care for them. There are less developed countries where crime is rampant and police carry serious automatic weapons – there is barb wire around hotels outside of the downtown zone. I am quite sure there are very few people who have viewed or been touched by disability or extreme poverty that would say we should abandon kids and families in need. Chicagoan’s spirits and purse strings are not that strapped. Your perspective is different, so we all look forward to seeing your solutions to making CPS a better place for all.

  • 245. CarolA  |  January 7, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Sometimes people like to give opposing viewpoints just to make the discussions more lively. Maybe that’s what is happening here. Otherwise, if that is how he/she feels, I look forward to the solutions that are offered just like michele. I will say, however, I strongly feel that there should be a limit on the “handouts” regarding low income. Particularly when children are involved. I’m not opposed to free healthcare for the children. They have no control over their situation. There should be a limit to how many years any given person can receive help. It would push them to actually look for employment. I’m not sure all of them do. I realize jobs might be slim right now, but this has been going on for years. What about families moving in together to join incomes so that housing is more affordable? Rooms might be cramped, but they would be paying their own way. When someone signs up for “handouts” and has 3 children, those handouts would be reduced if number 4 comes along or something like that. Just as CPS employees have gone from free health insurance to increasing deductions (not complaining), things change. Everyone has to chip in more (and get less). Has that happened with the “handouts”? Not sure. Maybe someone has more information on it. I know they’ve lowered how many months a person can collect unemployment. What else has changed or what can be changed to empower people to advocate for their own well-being instead of relying on others?

  • 246. Counterpoint for discussion  |  January 7, 2014 at 11:55 am

    To 242: The two issues are joined at the hip. The perents with money move to Naperville and Deerfield, thus no longer living in Chicago.

    To 243: Listen to less WPR and read more from from authors with different perspectives. I do. that’s why I’m on this blog. Wikipedia says: Nazism, or National Socialism in full (German: Nationalsozialismus), is the ideology and practice associated with the 20th-century German Nazi Party. It’s a form of Fascism. Don’t insult, just get educated.

    To 244: All kids cannot receive a wonderful education. Parent’s have to supplement within thier own abilities. That’s why public libraries have the resources to read to a child. It’s about involved parents, not how much money is spent on a child. Your questions are not complex, they just take too much effort to construct and this blog is for short bites of information.
    FYI: The Chicago Police already carry serious automatic weapons so that a Munbai style attack does not happen in Chicago.

    To 245: You nailed it. CarolA, that’s the point of my posts. This blog attracts people interested in Education. That’s great, and that’s why I also like this blog. However, because of that this blog becomes a venue for progressive liberal social change. It’s important that a vastly different perspective is represented . Progressive Social Liberals need to hear a strong vocal force that opposes their social re-engineering.

  • 247. Chris  |  January 7, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    124 Local: “What’s that internet thingy where a blog comments thread get to a certain point? You know that point”

    Godwin’s Law: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.”

    In the context here, I think that it is the length of the involvement of “counterpoint for discussion”, rather than the length of any thread, or the life of the blog as a whole.

  • 248. WRP Mom  |  January 7, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    246 Counterpoint, I have no idea what WPR is.. I am going by my own high school and college education and believe myself reasonably educated on the subject. Even though the NSDAP (Nazional Socialistische Deutsches Arbeiter Partei) loosely translates to “National Socialist German Workers Party”, they were hardly socialists. The Nazis were an ultra RIGHT wing group. Socialists were on the LEFT and were persecuted under the Nazi regime. The name/translation is confusing to many people.

  • 249. CarolA  |  January 7, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    We are WAY off topic now. Maybe it’s time to put the lights out or get back to the actual issues of this blog?????? I’m always up for some interesting discussions, but we are not moving in the right direction (IMO).

  • 250. Chris  |  January 7, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Jiminy Cricket!! Troll sez ‘nomnomnom’, while eating up the attention.

  • 251. Counterpoint for discussion  |  January 7, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    To 249: WPR is Wisconsin Public Radio. Prestty much every intellectual has heard and listens to WPR stories. Bank on it. I used WPR because your screen name was WRP Mom. It’s a joke, sorry you don’t listen to Public Radio, because they produce many stories shows carried by public radio all around America. Also, WRP Mom, thanks for looking up the actual translation, it shows your interested in dialogue.

    Also is politics Left is Right and Up is Down. Obama’s policy of freely available contraception and abortion is regarded as Left but in another context freely available contraception and abortion in regarded as population control of certain social/national/ethnic groups (Thus Right).

    I’m just attempting to keep people minds active and not follow what is being thrown at them from every angle as the truth and salvation.

  • 252. cpsobsessed  |  January 7, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    As a researcher, I’d also be curious what percent of the population makes the “nazi” reference and what percent of the nazi comments they make. ie, is it like 10/90 – 10 percent make 90 percent of the comments?

    I am on another message board where a group of people claim everything is misogynist. People like to fit things into the theme they’re looking for.

    But I agree….back to the topic at hand (or anything else interesting we can think of.)

    I saw a DNA post today that there is trouble with the older kids at the merged Courtenay/Stockton school. The schools wants 3 security guards in an elem school. Were promised 3, have 2.
    Agh, it’s so hard for me to imagine the culture of hardass middle school kids.

    I like that rule of thumb about the
    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 253. cpsobsessed  |  January 7, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    @counterpoint – if you know of a blog or message board where these topics are being discussed and people can learn more, perhaps you can direct the conversation there?
    Many thanks.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 254. OTdad  |  January 7, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Wow, 600 students need 3 security guards. Who are those “students”? Criminals?

  • 255. anonymouse teacher  |  January 7, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    @254, I take it you haven’t been in a middle school lately, have you? I remember years ago, subbing at Arai Middle school in Uptown and being on lockdown in one of the rooms due to violence in the school. I was grateful that day that I was subbing in a bilingual pull out room with immigrant kids who just wanted to learn, not the gen ed population from the area, which was overrun with bangers and kids with mental health issues. 13 and 14 year olds are often bigger (sometimes significantly bigger) than I am and when you get a group of them with true badness in mind, its hard to stop them.
    The 6th-8th graders at my school don’t act like that, but I’ve been in schools where they do and its pretty frightening. Yes, 3 security guards are absolutely necessary. Until CPS starts allowing principals to follow and enforce the behavior code and starts paying for the students who do not belong in a general ed setting to permanently attend an alternative school that will truly help them, yes, yes, and yes, 3 guards are needed.

  • 256. anonymouse teacher  |  January 7, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    I just read that article. The school did not call police, which apparently they can decide on, when a pregnant teacher was knocked in the head by two 8th graders. What happened to the 8th graders? They were suspended for 6 days. I’m sorry, but imo, if you are older than 6 and you hit a teacher, you are done forever with regular school. A 6 day suspension is a slap on the wrist for that kind of criminal assault. What should have happened is those “students” should have gone to jail/juvie for that and been expelled permanently.

  • 257. HS Mom  |  January 7, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    I think it would be beneficial to talk about the 504/iep success stories. Instead of hating CPS or looking for lawyers what can be done given the flaws in the system. What is it about some schools or particular teachers that makes them effective for students with issues? Love hearing about the little things a teacher can do. What are some of the big things that are do-able?

  • 258. Family Friend  |  January 7, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Remember that federal law (“IDEA”) mandates all of this: If a parent makes a written request for evaluation, the school district must comply within a limited time. The schools I know about are tripping over themselves to comply with these requests. The downsides to ignoring the law are too great. Schools that care about compliance include the charter school where I am on the board, the charter school my protege attends (which suggested that he be evaluated, by the way), and the neighborhood elementary school where my daughter is the counselor. Having someone conscientious and knowledgeable in charge of IDEA compliance makes it easier for everyone. Kudos to my daughter, in only her second year as a counselor, for consistently amazing me with her knowledge and dedication. When I hear the teachers here talk about the poor support they receive, I wish they could all have my daughter (and her principal) in their corner.

  • 259. Counterpoint for discussion  |  January 7, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    254 and 256 …..Amen. If the public aid was cut off for the parents if this type of issue was performed by their little future doctors the amount of disfunction would decrease instantly.

  • 260. Chris  |  January 7, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    “I’m sorry, but imo, if you are older than 6 and you hit a teacher, you are done forever with regular school”

    Mouse, I *totally* understand where you’re coming from, but that’s absurd.

    First, how do you define “hit”? Ok, ‘intent’–how do you determine the intent? What standard of proof? Second, does a teacher (who is obviously over 6) who “hits” a kid (barring 100% self-defense) get fired (or banned from ‘regular’ school) on the spot? If not, why not? Third, ‘zero tolerance’ “rules” like that lead to all sorts of unjust results (the aspirin and swiss army knife suspensions that get publicity a few times a year in various place), and we really, really should avoid them, especially when dealing with kids. Fourth, how would we pay for all the litigation that would surround that, nevermind the extra irregular school seats.

    Now, the kids who clearly intentionally try to injure a teacher–regardless of whether or not they succeed–sure, ban ‘em. But that’s a squishy line, open to all sorts of interpretation.

  • 261. Chris  |  January 7, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Mouse: ps, look who is ‘agreeing’ with you!

  • 262. Veteran  |  January 7, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    #255 agree with you. The general public does not realize that we have students in the upper grades who are far more dangerous than any high schoolers. If a child is really bad he or she usually drops out in high school or is in the pre-prison system.

    As far as a teacher getting hit by a student the teacher should always file police report-sends a message to the rest of the students. If a teacher was standing at the bus stop and someone came up and hit the teacher, the police would be called-we do not have less rights because we are teachers. As far as students with disabilities the law does not differentiate and no one should be expected to be hit to bitten by students with disabilities-the placement is wrong if this is happening.

    In my teaching career I had a student arrested for threatening to rape me when I was 26 and had another student arrested for threatening to beat me up when I was 56 because I told him to stay in his seat.
    Both students who were gang members who went on to more serious crimes. Both had mothers who always blamed the school. One had just moved back from Indiana after hitting a teacher (ankle bracelet) because his mom said the judges were nicer in Chicago than Indiana.

    Both times I had support from the administration-actaully encouraged and thanked for following through….

    #258 A parent can make a written request for an evaluation and the school personnel must respond as to whether an evaluation is warranted-if the evaluation is warranted then the parent will sign the consent and the school district has 60 school days to comply.

  • 263. teflonmom  |  January 7, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    I see a connection between the violence issue and the lack of support for kids with IEPs/sped/504s etc. As a parent of a kid with ASD, I worry that if my child doesn’t get the support he needs, he could potentially lash out at a teacher. He is a very gentle child, not violent…BUT when he becomes overwhelmed with sensory stuff he will hide or curl into a ball…and if someone tries to get him up off the floor before he is ready he will defensively hit. I worry about the ability of teachers to actually implement all of the strategies of the ieps/504 plans. My child’s teacher says that the social worker and OT have NEVER done a classroom eval of any of the kids in her class who have ieps or 504s. So how can anyone know if she is really implementing all of the zillions of strategies she is expected to employ with 26 kids in her classroom? And if the day comes when my overwhelmed child (god forbid) acts out physically–especially when he is no longer a tiny cute 1st grader–what could happen then? I know there are those who will suggest it is the parent’s job to instill these lesson in their kids and I AGREE. We do all day, every day in our house. But when a child has autism or another neurological disorder, you also need the full-support of the school system so that there is continuity between the home and the school. It’s with such a heavy heart that I am madly researching homeschooling and all other possible options. But I am one of the lucky ones…I am a middle class married mom who works part time, and my husband has a flexible schedule. We are suited to homeschooling where others are not. Okay…I’ve lost focus here. Sorry, I hope this somehow adds to the discussion.

  • 264. CarolA  |  January 7, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Chris: I would have to think (and I could be wrong), that if a teacher “hit” a student and it wasn’t self-defense, that teacher would be removed from the classroom immediately. I seem to remember a teacher putting a child in a locker or closet or something and that’s what happened. The part that is questionable to some is that they are still getting full pay (innocent until proven guilty kind of thing).

    Teachers get hit all the time, but it doesn’t make the news. Most that I have heard about are in severe SPED rooms. The police can be called, but what gets done would be up to the teacher placing charges because I don’t think a principal would put themselves on the line for that (even though they should).

    Keep in mind, there are some schools where the parents actually tell the teacher it’s OK to hit their child if need be….still can’t do it and shouldn’t. That would be like teaching kids not to hit by hitting them. I’ve had parents tell me that if their kid continues to hit other kids that I should let him know and he’ll “take care of it” when he gets home. So I said…What do you mean take care of it? Response: I’ll make him see what it feels like. I almost fell off my chair. I found another way to handle it without telling the father. Telling the father would be the last thing I’d do in that case. I wanted to thank him for the “heads up”, but didn’t. This was another “small fix” for me. When this child would get ready to hit another child, you could see his face turning red. I talked to him and got him to notice the change happening to him. When that happened, he could go to a special spot behind my desk where I had old newspaper and a small trash basket. He would go there on his own and start tearing paper up to get rid of the frustration. When he was done and calmed down, he had the option to talk to me about it or let it go and get back to his work. It was about 50/50 with discussing it, but he appreciated the option.

    Family Friend: I’d LOVE to have your daughter in my school! Those teachers are lucky!

  • 265. PatientCPSMom  |  January 7, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Just as a point of reference, I went to a Catholic grade school (in Lincoln Square) in the early 70′s as a 6-8th grader there were issues of students (boys mostly) picking up desks throwing them at teachers, picking out books and throwing them at teachers, punching other kids in the halls, spraying mace etc.. Even at a time when there was little diagnosis for behavioral disorders the nuns and teachers knew there was something not average about this behavior and addressed it with intervention and suspension. So while much may have changed much stays the same.

  • 266. CarolA  |  January 7, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Just got the official call….school is OPEN tomorrow.

  • 267. local  |  January 7, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    CPS sped today (from a comment left at District 299 blog):

    “Ms Byrd-Bennet needs to address the sub shortage and the fact that sped teachers’ programs are closed down so that they can sub…..this has gotten worse since last year due to per pupil budgeting….sped teachers and other anxiliary staff are told not to enter their absences in AESOP…..saves the school money……this is a terrible thing to do to the children with disabilities, ELL students and any other children who get pulled out for support.”

  • 268. HS Mom  |  January 7, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    @262 and others – Some of these situations are clear and dangerous. I don’t condone hitting by anyone but situations occur that are not clear cut and don’t always warrant “calling the police no matter what”. WBEZ recently ran an article about how teachers calling the police result in real arrests that follow a kid in college admission, job applications and admission into the military. I agree, with all the bizarre crime in the news regarding students/teachers – both ways – it is better to err on the safe side. But I also agree with Chris that zero tolerance is too extreme of an approach.

    And yes anon teacher – middle school kids are as big as adults without the judgement. Three security guards does not sound extreme to me.

  • 269. local  |  January 7, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    Re: In the context here, I think that it is the length of the involvement of “counterpoint for discussion”, rather than the length of any thread, or the life of the blog as a whole.

    Yes, I was completely focused on his point of view. Although, it’s always good to hear all opinions. Keeps it real.

  • 270. Chris  |  January 7, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    “Teachers get hit all the time, but it doesn’t make the news. Most that I have heard about are in severe SPED rooms.”

    Do you think that there should be a zero tolerance rule for all of those kids (over 6 yo) that says they should never be allowed in a regular classroom again? A “Scarlet Fist”, that follows them until they age out of CPS or move? (while recognizing that, from an administrative perspective, getting a possibly emotionally disturbed kid to move out of district isn’t a bad thing)

    “The part that is questionable to some is that they are still getting full pay”

    Right–that’s my point–how can we (as a society–ignore any employment contract issues) defend a zero tolerance rule for the kids that isn’t *also* a zero tolerance rule for the adults? At least when it relates to violence.

    btw, teacher put a kid in a closet? Maybe that was my 1st grade teacher! Her primary MO was psychological abuse of all sorts, but she did but kids in the (quite large, so not too scary) closet fairly frequently.

  • 271. local  |  January 7, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Family Friend: The law requires a written request for evaluation, and the request can come from family or staff. However, the law does NOT require that an evaluation be done, but rather, that the school district REPLY to the request in writing to grant or not grant the request. This reply is supposed to include the district’s rationale for declining the eval. What’s the law and what really happens in CPS are different things. Anyway, the impression that evaluations are to be had with a simple written request is incorrect.

  • 272. another cps parent  |  January 7, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    @267 – since the strike, there has been an increase in teacher absence. How do you fund subs when the work ethics have shifted? Is it no wonder which group gets the short end of the stick?

  • 273. Chris  |  January 7, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    “Although, it’s always good to hear all opinions”

    Not quite always, and not quite all. But *honestly held* opinions are near enough to always.

  • 274. local  |  January 7, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Chris: This is what’s recommended…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Therapeutic_Crisis_Intervention

  • 275. local  |  January 7, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    273. Chris | January 7, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Yes. I figure it’s better to “know the enemy” (harsh word, I know) so I keep in mind that others don’t believe or value exactly what I do.

  • 276. local  |  January 7, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    272. another cps parent | January 7, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    I’m not so sure it’s a change in work ethic (teachers, chime in). The school district changed how paid time off is banked/used. There used to be an incentive to not use paid time off. Now, teachers are using it for doc appts and such, because it can’t be banked in the same way. I could be misremembering. That’s my impression.

  • 277. local  |  January 7, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    “It’s with such a heavy heart that I am madly researching homeschooling and all other possible options.” There are some schools that might be more supportive to a child on the spectrum. Have you looked into any of the day or residential schools?

  • 278. local  |  January 7, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    “the placement is wrong if this is happening.”

    That’s the rub.

  • 279. Chris  |  January 7, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    “Yes. I figure it’s better to “know the enemy” (harsh word, I know) so I keep in mind that others don’t believe or value exactly what I do.”

    Yep, but on the internet, not every ‘enemy’ is actually an ‘enemy’ of anything other than rational discourse. Many (most??) ‘enemies’ are simply trolling for attention and reaction. Hence my ‘honestly held’ modifier. And then there’s sarcasm.

    And even the most rational, ‘friendly’ folks fly off the handle and say something extreme that isn’t their real opinion from time to time.

  • 280. teflonmom  |  January 7, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    @local–nope. His autism is mild and right now we’re working on changing his 504 plan to an IEP, which is what he has needed all along. If his issues were more severe (and I am glad they are not) I would have more options.

  • 281. local  |  January 7, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    @ 257. HS Mom | January 7, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    “I think it would be beneficial to talk about the 504/iep success stories. Instead of hating CPS or looking for lawyers what can be done given the flaws in the system. What is it about some schools or particular teachers that makes them effective for students with issues? Love hearing about the little things a teacher can do. What are some of the big things that are do-able?”

    Big things? Basically, follow the law (IDEA & ADA). They’re good laws. And, due process is part of the law so that intransigent “flaws” can be addressed.

  • 282. local  |  January 7, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    @ 280. teflonmom | January 7, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    That’s a tough one. With enough creatively and time, such students can find a good path and thrive. Homeschooling is so attractive. I’ve heard that the CPL Sulzer regional library has good homeschooling resources.

  • 283. Veteran  |  January 7, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    #278 Look at CPS’ placement of children with severe disabilities
    (usually CPS will say moderate) CPS will place 10-12 children in a self-contained room, some may be children with autism and some with cognitive disabilities and some with emotional disorders. The room is a a regular sized classroom-no space for the children to move around or to find a quiet spot. If you have an all day screamer the other children are agitated. It is frowned upon to open the door (runners), walk the children out in the hallway or to even take them to a quiet place because the rest of the school is learning/testing. It is really cruel. Then when the children transfer to the suburbs the services are increased and they are placed into a setting with 5-6 children and each child will have an aide.

    I have yet to have a child transfer to another system and have reduced services yet when they transfer into CPS from another system it is the norm to have services reduced without justification.

  • 284. Chris  |  January 7, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    Local: “The school district changed how paid time off is banked/used.”

    Yep (year refers to year contract signed):

    Sick Leave

    2003: Sick days continued to be paid out.
    2007: Unused sick leave banks increased. Employees can accumulate up to 325 days for payout and pension service credit after 20 years of service.
    2012: Eliminate sick leave payout going forward without penalizing existing banks. Permit banking of up to 40 days for use as sick days, FMLA leaves, and pension service credit, but not for payout purposes. Adds short-term disability policy that provides for paid maternity leave, other illness leaves, and may add paternity leave policy of 2 to 3 weeks.

    Personal Days

    2003: Unused personal days are paid out to employees.
    2007: Unused personal days are paid out to employees.
    2012: Unused personal days are no longer compensated.

    Especially w/r/t the Personal Days (3 per year), the change makes it almost foolish for a given teacher to not take them.

  • 285. Chris  |  January 7, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    ” it is the norm to have services reduced without justification”

    …aside from “there’s no money”–whether true or not.

  • 286. local  |  January 7, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/01/extreme-homework/282871/

    Interesting visuals, info.

  • 288. CarolA  |  January 7, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    There’s a time for nagging and a time to make the list…..the list gets done, you get the video game, keys, etc. The list doesn’t get done….well, you don’t get those things. No yelling. No arguing. Simple. I used to have a problem with my daughter cleaning her room in high school. Rather than go back and forth with long conversations, I just told her that if her room wasn’t cleaned up by Friday, she couldn’t go out that weekend. She waited until the deadline and cleaned like crazy, but she got it done!

    Chris: I do not believe in zero tolerance. That has resulted in some very silly situations. I believe each situation is unique (as are children) and needs to be addressed in and of its own.

  • 289. cpsobsessed  |  January 7, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Thanks, local. Good article about nagging!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • […] There are also some new faces in CPS classrooms right around now, some of them due to parent complaints.  Check out CPS Obsessed for a discussion over what happened to one 5th grade teacher who was entangled with parents over 504 plans. The original post was taken down (though I have a copy) because it got too specific and inflammatory.  The current post and comments show that parents are asking a lot more of teachers around meeting kids' specific needs than they used to (or that they do in other parts of the city). Read all about it here: Parent Requests and accomodating IEP/504 plans. […]

  • 291. HS Mom  |  January 7, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    @281 – Yes, agreed, following the law a good thing. The way I see it, CPS is in a win situation where calling them out with a law suit etc is time consuming (for all but particularly the kid who has an immediate need) and costly (for the sake of the budget for all kids) and still not a guaranteed fix. It may even be cheaper for CPS to battle individual cases than give everyone legitimate services. A win may help some kids and certainly not all. A win may grant you tuition to a specialized school that has the needed program. All well and good unless the desire is to educate your child in a gen ed population able to accommodate the particular need.

    My own experience has been that it’s better to work within the system than to go to war with it. That’s just me and particular to my situation which is a 504 – by default, no benefits of an IEP. In many ways, I feel that I was able to get those benefits thanks to some of the forward thinking teachers.

    There are people here suggesting that they too have been successful with managing LD/ASD/ADHD within their schools. It would be good to hear about any specific hurdles they were able to get over in order to get there.

  • 292. local  |  January 7, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    I think wars comes after long efforts to work within the system.

  • 293. local  |  January 7, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    “It may even be cheaper for CPS to battle individual cases than give everyone legitimate services.”

    Yep. CPS counts on that.

  • 294. almostdonewithIEP  |  January 7, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Our sucesses were due to individual teachers with a lot of talent. I learned a lot to help my child from them, things I would never have thought of on my own.
    On the other hand, we’ve had some teachers refuse to follow the IEP, make us show them the IEP to prove something’s in it over and over, and lie that goals have been met that have not. Teachers have threatened my child with suspension/expulsion for not hearing where to sit in the classroom. Administration has lied (can’t have any goals in the IEP because there’s no minutes in it?) and held IEP meetings without the special ed teacher.
    Raising a child who needs an IEP can be a lot of work outside of school as it is. Trying to battle CPS as well can be too much.
    I don’t even know what can be done overall. It sounds like one of those things that only gets fixed when it shows up in the paper, but we’d need a lot of parents willing to put their kid’s names in the news, and I certainly wouldn’t want to do that.

  • 295. Esmom  |  January 7, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    “Our sucesses were due to individual teachers with a lot of talent.” Ours, too, and I would also include my son’s support team of OT, speech therapist, social worker, case manager and special ed resource teacher. Our school where we spent the majority of our years in CPS was proactive about making sure kids’ needs were being met.

    I can’t say the same for the few schools we cycled through and left, however. I actually have a few horror stories but someone asked for the positive…good choice. But I can honestly say the positives outweighed the negatives overall.

    Another key, I think, was my being a very visible presence around school. I was able to communicate with teachers and therapists regularly. The school administration welcomed that, unlike some of the other schools we left. Then when things started to get rough on occasion, it wasn’t like starting at square one and trying to get someone’s attention. The relationships were already in place and I found everyone on the team wanted to solve the issues together and constructively. On occasion some of the therapists we saw privately were consulted and even allowed to come in and observe. It was really all vey collaborative.

    That’s not to say that we didn’t have stressful moments thanks to CPS things like shuffling paraprofessionals and therapists around and creating general disarray. Often teachers struggled to get basic resources, especially in the special ed resource room. But overall it was a very positive experience for my son. He found his niche at this very big school and made continuous progress.

    All that being said, however, we moved to the suburbs when my son was entering fifth grade. I just knew my son, with his ASD and anxiety issues, couldn’t handle the uncertainty of the whole high school process. The move was with a very heavy heart because we were so happy and had invested so much time and energy in CPS. And as happy as I was in CPS, I really had no idea how much better things would be for my son in his new school district. Smaller classes, considerably more resources, a lot less stress without the black cloud of uncertainty that often goes along with CPS in general. He didn’t just progress, he blossomed in a way I could never have imagined. This of course was after his initial objections to moving. I do think all the work he put in for so many years was a big factor — it finally came together just about as soon as we moved. There was a lot to be said for a clean slate, I think, for him, where people had no preconceived notions about what he could or couldn’t do and he just soared.

    Please note that I’m not encouraging anyone to leave CPS. This was just our personal experience. I’d say my biggest piece of advice, no matter where you are, is to be constantly vigilant. Never take your eye off the ball, so to speak.

  • 296. CarolA  |  January 7, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Great advice Esmom!

  • 297. anonymouse teacher  |  January 7, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    Yeah, okay, zero tolerance is probably not a good idea. I overstated. At the same time, what was described by both teachers and students at Stockton was a “war zone” on the 3rd floor. (their words, not mine) This was not an isolated incident, rather an every day kind of occurrence. Would you allow your child to attend a school like this? I wouldn’t. Not for a day.
    Would you want your pregnant wife or daughter or sister or partner to have to teach in this situation where someone could carelessly hurt her and those involved only got 6 days worth of suspension?

    I also doubt that the students who injured the pregnant teacher were first time trouble makers. My guess based on 20 years experience is these are the same kids who have been trouble since day one. With tons of remediation, other interventions and disciplinary actions in their files. Maybe not, but my bet is on consistency.

    So maybe I should say this instead of removal from school permanently. In schools where teachers are assaulted, or other kids are being assaulted, and those who are there on a daily basis call it a war zone? Each classroom needs a security guard at the door.

    Fwiw, I know of a school first hand where a primary student threw scissors at the teacher. If that were me, I’d have filed a police report. I cannot teach without safety and unfortunately, CPS often does not provide it.

  • 298. Patty  |  January 8, 2014 at 11:20 am

    The problem with this thread is that the OP framed it in a way that equated kids with formal 504 plans (i.e., documented disabilities) with “kids who need help staying organized” (which sounds like every kid, to me). There is a lot of gray area between these two extremes and 99% of the comments are seizing on it. Everyone’s right and everyone’s wrong.

  • 299. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  January 8, 2014 at 11:41 am

    @139, @142, @165: Re disabilities and higher ed: there are pros and cons to small school v. large school re sped. Some large universities have excellent LD/SpEd offices that set up a tutoring/writing/testing center for students with broad range of accommodations. Faculty can fax or email an exam or test to the office and the student can go there to take it if they need extra time or distraction-free environs. By contrast, a smaller college might not have the resources to do this, and so more of the burden may fall upon the student — a legal adult usually — to make arrangements.

    Universities are like airlines — almost none of the front-line people have the ability to solve your problem. If a professor’s classroom is on the 2nd floor and the elevator doesn’t work, there is little the professor can do but cancel class until the registrar’s office can find another space. Need a distraction free room? A department in a small college or large university in an urban area probably lacks an unused office. Need a student note-taker? Someone has to pay the person, and that’s not the instructor’s job. Some school’s bursars or treasuries cannot easily handle fee-based payments v. wage-based employment. In these cases, a competent and dedicated disability office is crucial.

  • 300. cpsobsessed  |  January 8, 2014 at 11:43 am

    @298, very good point, Patty. When I started this thread, I never dreamed that some of this stuff that some people consider “sounds like every kid” (well, not every, but a sizable minority of kids) are eligible for a 504 plan.

    Much of what I consider my son to still be learning to do, his sorta inability to listen to directions in class. Now I ponder if I should pursue getting special efforts to help him with this.

    There is a sense that the ideal permits every child to have their learning situation maximize. I agree it makes sense conceptually. I am also certain it’s impossible given the current state of CPS’s budget. The question then becomes how can we do more to help kids without unrealistically spending a ton of $ and resources to make this happen.

  • 301. mom2  |  January 8, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Esmom – where did you move? Curious about what suburbs are good for LD.

  • 302. Chris  |  January 8, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    “There is a sense that the ideal permits every child to have their learning situation maximize. I agree it makes sense conceptually. I am also certain it’s impossible given the current state of CPS’s budget.”

    It’s not ‘given the current state of CPS’s budget’: it *is* impossible in public schools, and has *nothing* to do with CPS’s budget–if CPS magically had 100% funded pensions, all brand new (maintenance free!!) buildings, free teleport devices to eliminate busing expenses, and per pupil revenue equal to the top-funded school district in the country etc, etc, etc,, all without raising taxes above what they are now, that *still* wouldn’t be enough money (unless teachers suddenly could work and live with *huge* pay cuts) to maximize the learning situation for 400,000 kids–the vast majority of whom would have their education ‘maximized’ by a combination of regular classroom, small group, and individual instruction, depending on the subject and the day.

    And, given that some kids would learn a given subject best in a class with a group of friendly faces, and some of those friends would learn the same subject best individually, you have a situation that no amount of money can ‘maximize’.

    That said, the budget situation makes it challenging for CPS to provide even an adequate (nevermind maximal) situation for thousands.

  • 303. HS Mom  |  January 8, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    @299 CB – good point. Some large universities video tape the big lecture hall presentations which would alleviate the problem some kids have with note taking. The small class size with the ability to work closely with the professor is still very desirable. I guess it would depend on the need. Having a dedicated resource area would definitely be important. These are all things to consider and you bring it up just in time…..thanks.

  • 304. HS Mom  |  January 8, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    294/295 – Likewise on the good and bad depending on the teacher. I wish there was a more defined standard for teachers to follow. Possibly have more uniform accommodations so that teachers aren’t bogged down with all the variables that exist. I also discovered that it’s not possible to anticipate every problem situation and that the plan itself could be lacking. I think this is the area that you’ll find teachers who recognize a need and address it or those who go “by the book” and almost resent having to give a child latitude.

    I wholeheartedly agree that being involved and building relationships are the best ways to help your child succeed. After our “year from hell” that I won’t go into, I was told to bring up issues right away when they occur not to wait until the end of the year. So I did after an incident in writing with photocopies of his work and teacher comments. That’s all it took and only had to do it once.

  • 305. HS Mom  |  January 8, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    @300 CPSO

    “When I started this thread, I never dreamed that some of this stuff that some people consider “sounds like every kid” (well, not every, but a sizable minority of kids) are eligible for a 504 plan.”

    That does sum up a problem inherent with this issue and something that people – even some teachers – have a misconception about.

    Lots of kids are forgetful (especially when it comes to homework), easily distracted, or can’t sit still. It’s when these issues are ongoing and interfere with the ability to learn that they become a problem. If a kid struggles to keep up while his/her classmates are moving forward, it’s a problem. If 30 minutes of math takes one or two hours every night, that’s a major issue in the quality of life. If a simple fix like doing every other problem enables the child to be successful while still learning to the best of their ability, then OK, why not. Some teachers will look at that as an “advantage” given to one child and not another. They should take the F or 0 or incomplete and that will teach them to work faster or maybe they just deserve to be graded down (as a prior post indicated).

  • 306. Counterpoint for discussion  |  January 9, 2014 at 9:29 am

    To 305: Thanks for developing the thought. That’s the whole point of this board. It’s a free discussion, void of fear of political correctness. My #27 post (F+) caused people that love their 504/IEP programs to defend a program that hurts as many as it helps. Your middle ground approach may win more people over to the fact that the 504/IEP causes a classroom to be dumbed down and slower. A teacher must teach the lesson plan so that the slowest can understand, rather than teach to the middle skill set. That’s socialism, all must be given the same.

  • 307. cpsobsessed  |  January 9, 2014 at 9:32 am

    @counter: I don’t think these plans require anything for any other kids in a room to be changed, do they? Cps teachers still teach to the grade appropriate curriculum and as we’ve seen here, some differentiate in smaller groups.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 308. HS Mom  |  January 9, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    @307 CPSO, right. I think the whole idea behind a 504/IEP is that they child is empowered to learn at the level of his/her classmates, not the other way around.

  • 309. cpsobsessed  |  January 9, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    I’m not saying some schools aren’t teaching to a low common denominator – they may be. But I don’t know that these plans are what drives that.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 310. teflonmom  |  January 9, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    @counter My son has a 504 plan but he is not special ed. he is just below grade level in reading (common for 1st grade boys) and above grade level in math. but he has high functioning autism that causes him to crawl under his desk or “zone out” when things are too chaotic for him. His 504 plan states that he is allowed to chew gum (helps him drown out distraction so he con concentrate). He is also allowed to use a tablet for independent reading (20 mins a day) and to sit with a weighted pillow on his lap, which helps him to regulate his sensory system. His desk is apart from the other kids because his “stims” can be annoying (hand flapping when he is stressed out). The other kids with special ed needs are pulled out of the classroom for one on one with a special ed teacher. The classroom has peer reading groups where kids work with others at their level, which is exactly what we had when I was in school 40 years ago (I am 48). My opinion is that the sheer volume of kids in the classroom is the problem. Even typical kids have various learning challenges, and teachers need to be able to take time to help them all.

  • 311. local  |  January 9, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    @ 306. Counterpoint for discussion | January 9, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Ha! That’s a hoot!

  • 312. Frustrated  |  January 9, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    307 – Our experience this year is that change IS required from other non-IEP/504 students. My child has served as an unofficial aide to struggling students who I’ve been told should be getting extra help from a teacher or aide. However, since so many students in the room have IEPs/504s, the teacher and aide cannot address all of the unique needs. My child has always been the type to offer help. I certainly see the benefit to both students of the extension/offer of help where needed. However, expecting it to the degree that it has occurred this year is frustrating for all. One particular child reads a couple of years below grade level and is constantly asking for help (read this to me, spell this for me, what is the answer to this, etc.). The constant requests for help from one child are so distracting to the child offering assistance that he/she is not allowed to focus adequately on the standard instruction. I’m dealing with a frustrated child whose love for school is diminished due to the ripple effect of the various individual needs of others.

  • 313. teflonmom  |  January 9, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    @counter Do you see why people like me end up moving to the suburbs? MORE help is available for children there instead of less. A friend recently moved to Glenview, where her child has regular pull-out sessions with a reading specialist. He is thriving and almost all caught up with his classmates. In your world, children who have learning struggles get no help, they just get F’s and fail. As a parent of a bright but difficult child, that is not acceptable to me. I will find the resources to help my child succeed, although it might mean teaching him myself or sending him outside of CPS. Other less well-off parents do not have these options, so children who might be able to succeed are left behind, creating an underclass of people who will become poor and dependent. I often hear your kind of rhetoric, but what do you DO with the children who fail when there is no help for them? Bring back the workhouses? Euthanize them? Please tell me your ideas for solutions. I will fight for my child. You might call it “socialism” (huh?). I call it parenting.

    Okay, clearly I am riled up. I decided today to take my child out of school. I am sad about it. No more need for me to troll around on this site. I wish all of you the best of luck. And for the record, if I had a typical kid I would stay at our school. My kid has a great teacher.

  • 314. chimeragirl2010  |  January 9, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    oops–I meant to say “lurk around” instead of “troll around.” I have no interest in trolling.

  • 315. Counterpoint for discussion  |  January 9, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    To 313: Your question is “what to do with a special needs child so that they don’t become poor and dependent?”

    Ans: Everyone is different, you know his skill set. It may be art, it may be photography, it may be gardening, heck it might even be bike riding (Tour de’ France). Whatever it is, encourage him to be the best at it. Bringing together my former posts, it pretty much won’t be medical, legal, or the like. The position I take is that CPS needs to stop directing most kids to college to become doctors, lawyers, or architects. It’s a poor motivational tool, that leads to too many CPS students eventually out of work but with thousands of dollars of unpaid student loans. It’s hurting overall society. It’s hurting the 99%.

  • 316. OutsideLookingIn  |  January 9, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    Counterpoint, you are right. As Judge Smails said, “the world needs ditch diggers too.” And I am shocked that CPS is so recklessly “directing most kids to go to college to become doctors, lawyers and architects”. They should be directing most kids to become the next Michael Jordan or Kate Middleton. Follow the money, kids!

  • 317. anonymouse teacher  |  January 9, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    I don’t like the connection that is being made between special needs kids and kids who may become poor and or dependent. I am not sure we can say that the two are causally connected.

    Counterpoint, you stated, “Your middle ground approach may win more people over to the fact that the 504/IEP causes a classroom to be dumbed down and slower. A teacher must teach the lesson plan so that the slowest can understand, rather than teach to the middle skill set. ”

    An IEP has never once caused me to dumb down my curriculum or teach so the slowest can understand. Never. In fact, an IEP has nearly always helped me to keep the lessons on track or even speed them up, because an IEP means that child gets more help. (I can’t really speak to 504′s since I’ve never experienced a 504 for anything other than allergy or asthma issues) My experience has been that when kids don’t get the help they need, don’t get the IEP, or have to deal with large classes when the population desperately needs smaller ones, is when things have to slow down. And that is not because of one or two kids with special needs. Its because of an entire class full of gaps and lack of background.

    I’m an early primary teacher, but one year I had to teach an upper grade. Besides the fact that I really wasn’t suited for that grade, out of 31 kids, 26-27 were 1-4 grade levels below where they should have been. The other 4-5 were just on level, though in the school I was at people viewed them as superstars. They truly were not, but that’s another story. I had a group of kids reading at a 1st grade level, most at high 2nd/low 3rd and a few at 4th. With quite literally ZERO materials, a principal who wouldn’t allow me to use texts at the kids’ levels despite all the research to support it, there wasn’t much I could do. I was the wrong teacher for that grade, it was kind of too late at that point anyways, there were too many of them with too many needs and my admin was totally against what would have actually helped. Yes, I had sped kids, diagnosed and undiagnosed, but that didn’t drag down the class. But an entire class full of low language level, high poverty, no support at home, etc, etc, kept us low. (as well as the admin issues)
    I think this is part of why I love the little ones. I feel I get them before its too late. I differentiate so much, I don’t think I teach much to one particular skill level, but if I do, I teach to the higher end. And then we work like hell to catch everyone else up as much as possible. But, I have an admin who is supportive of what I do and they let me do it (with the exception of network nonsense).

    So, I don’t know what teachers you are talking about, but I think that whole “teach to the slowest” thing is part urban legend/part old school ways. Counterpoint, I think you would benefit from sitting in a classroom for a few weeks to see what is really going on, because I don’t think you really have any idea of reality.

  • 318. local  |  January 9, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    @ 313. teflonmom | January 9, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Good luck, teflonmom. Best wishes!

  • 319. local  |  January 9, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    I guess if one says it frequently enough — that people with disabilities can’t achieve much socio-econmically, it’ll just become “true.” No?

  • 320. Counterpoint for discussion  |  January 9, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    To: 317
    Great testimonial. I’ve lived through the same issues. The other side of the coin is that I and other teachers have simplified a lesson plan (dumbed it down) in order to teach to the class ability. If the class is full of IEP’s the plan gets really basic. Thoughts and issues are not developed because of the problems that result. But you did give a great testimonial.

  • 321. HS Mom  |  January 10, 2014 at 9:28 am

    @313 – Teflonmom – take heart. I have a good friend with a similar situation. They have made it through CPS with enough success to get their son into an excellent college. There were many struggles and grading that did not reflect the intelligence level of the student but some of the things they found out along the way were: their child did best when the teacher understood that he knew the material even though his behaviors were outside the box and he was allowed to quietly indulge in obsessive behaviors (having something in his hands, reading while the teacher was teaching, carry around an object that he obsessed over) etc. I understood their anguish wondering if the phone was going to ring about some impulsive behavior. Fortunately due to good, contentious teaching the phone did not ring much. There was an incident where he ran out of school and locked himself out and he was also suspended once for fighting. On the plus side, over time he developed and blossomed in certain ways, like any other child. At some point they discovered he had a natural talent for foreign languages. His English/writing skills were way under grade level but at some point on his own he became an obsessive reader. He will be focusing on math/science majors, which he is brilliant at, in college. As poster points out, there are several colleges that have the support and programs he needs to be successful

  • 322. HS Mom  |  January 10, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Regarding the world needing ditch diggers and too many people in college:

    The world needs more people who can design and build the equipment to dig ditches. We need more trained technicians, people with computer skills to run, diagnose problems and fix equipment. Manual labor is abundant even something supplied by college students on break! The day that necessary manual labor becomes a scarce commodity and demands a high salary is the day that people will chose to become ditch diggers. More likely to become a dying art like hand made furniture. I can see those stories now “Back in the day, we used to dig those ditches by hand like my father and my fathers father…..” LOL

    The world is progressive and changes rapidly. All kids should be encouraged to better their skills, be their best and explore paths that compliment their skills and desires. College is a good place to start. If all else fails, make sure that ditch digging job has a union LOL again.

  • 323. OTdad  |  January 10, 2014 at 9:51 am

    The neighborhood model of CPS is the main culprit for most of the problems discussed in this thread. By forcing students with vastly different abilities and needs to share the same classroom, CPS creates hopelessness for some and a sense of entitlement for others. “dumbing down” seems a sure thing.

    What do you think about the following? Merge every 5 neighborhood schools, 1 principal, 5 “campuses”. With 3000+ students, each grade can be grouped into classes of different academic levels (such as level 1, level 2, level 3). Each teacher only teaches 1 topic with minimized differentiation. Every year the students are reorganized into different classes according to their performances. This way, students are held accountable for their performances. Teachers can also be fairly evaluated: if you teach level 1 math, you are compared against other teachers teaching the same level class.

    I think this will have more impact in poor neighborhoods because it separates kids who want to learn from those trouble makers, more effective than a few Tier based seats and charters.

  • 324. teflonmom  |  January 10, 2014 at 9:56 am

    @HSmom Thanks for your supportive comments. After a very long conversation with my son’s teacher yesterday, we made the decision to withdraw. Today is his last day at CPS. I would still highly recommend my son’s school and his teacher to anyone with a typically developing child. His teacher mentioned that part of the difficulty with my son is that he does not need special education or a modification in the difficulty of material–he needs an entirely different learning environment–one that is free from distraction, lots of one on one instruction and hands-on experiential learning. That’s is something I can do for him. I have no bitterness and I don’t feel I am owed anything, but I do think that this is an area where charters or non-traditional schools could be developed within CPS. I am so glad to hear your son is doing so well. I can absolutely see a day where my son will become an obsessive reader. And he is a science nut! We currently have a dinosaur dig, a weather station, a terrarium with Venus flytraps and a circuit board all in use for his many “experiments.” I can definitely see him getting involved in the sciences in the future, especially in an area like research. he has already declared that when he grows up he will be a paleontologist who raises cactus and bamboo, lives in a glass skyscraper and chases tornadoes on the weekends. We will do a lot of research in the coming months and perhaps re-enroll in CPS i the future if we are able to find the right place for him. Take care!

  • 325. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 10, 2014 at 10:20 am

    324. teflonmom | January 10, 2014 at 9:56 am

    I hope it all goes well for you and your son. I trust you will find the right place for him. Good luck.

  • 326. CPS Appalled  |  January 10, 2014 at 11:28 am

    @OTdad:
    Leaving aside the issue of special education supports for kids to help them achieve at their ability levels, how would your model accomodate “typical” kids who excel in one subject over another? Would they traipse about through the neighborhood all day long, taking reading at “school 1″, math at “school 2″, etc.? How about actually providing the sevices to students and teachers that are actually required for adequate learning? It’s not like CPS schools are tiny–there should be necessary resources at every school, all the time. Just a radical thought.

  • 327. OTdad  |  January 10, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    “there should be necessary resources at every school, all the time.”
    Yeah, if we have unlimited resources, that sounds a no brainer. Before we have that, we still achieve a lot by improve efficiency.

    An elementary school teacher needs to teach math, reading to students varies at several grade levels on each topic, plus IEP. That’s a lot of multitasking. If we group students by combined scores (the percent of student with drastically different ability in reading and math probably is quite small), and teach to the middle, teachers’ life will be much easier = improved quality. Student don’t need to move around schools, until next school year if necessary.

    We can also put IEP in the highest performing class, because the teachers might have more time to deal with them.

  • 328. neighborhood parent  |  January 10, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    OT dad, not sure if I agree with your suggestion.
    I thought the current progressive educational pedagogy shied away from tracking (‘level’s’ in your description) students. That’s why there’s a focus on ‘differentiation’, ‘small group instruction’, ‘centers’….

    We currently attend a neighborhood school on the northside (well north of OT) of the city… enrollment is 1,030… there are 145 2nd graders with my kid…. she ‘switches’ teachers for Science, International Studies (current events/history) & Learning Communities (small group literacy work)… in addion to having 6 ‘specials’ (enrichment) teachers (eg. Spanish, Art, Gym….).
    Including her Homeroom Classroom (math, reading, writing,….) she has 9 different teachers that contribute to her report card. She is taught by a combination of 3-4 teachers each day. Not every kid can handle such a challenging ‘schedule’. If your post is reacting to @137, then I don’t think ‘tracking’ is necessarily the solution…it seems like resources, materials, appropriate class sizes are more the key when a capable, dedicated teaching staff is on point.

    Also, be sure to flesh out the method for ‘leveling’ these kids… it seems like you’ve just suggested that SEHS application process (testing, grades) be applied earlier. The test prep companies would eagerly provide test prep begining in Kinder so that the ‘right’ level could be achieved.

    I think your suggestion is based on outdated/old/incorrect assumptions about environments in our neighborhood schools.

  • 329. HS Mom  |  January 10, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Counter: “Great testimonial”

    yes – that was a great testimonial. What many say here is that some teachers really get it.

    “I and other teachers have simplified a lesson plan (dumbed it down) in order to teach to the class ability. If the class is full of IEP’s the plan gets really basic.”

    Hmm…Funny, that has not been our experience. I haven’t ever felt that my son’s education has been “dumbed down” because of all the average typical kids in his class.

  • 330. Mom and Teacher  |  January 10, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    As a math teacher at an SE school, I love teaching classes that have students “grouped.” It allows me to really differentiate, not just make things “harder” or “easier.” With homogeneous groupings, we narrow the scope of needs we are trying to fulfill. Never do we (at least I hope not) dumb down any curriculum. If anything, we are learning to be more patient and encourage students to see the positives in struggling, challenge and not always finding the answer right away.

  • 331. Veteran  |  January 10, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    This was posted on Fred Klonsky’s education blog….

    Please, please email the address on this posting and stop the elimination of class size caps-the parents on this blog are so articulate and maybe if ISBE receives enough feedback we can stop this travesty.

    Bev Johns. Another attempt at raising Special Education class size.
    by Fred Klonsky
    Bev Johns is a long-time Special Education activist and advocate.

    From: Beverley Holden Johns
    Date: Fri, Jan 10, 2014 at 12:41 PM
    Subject: new ISBE plan to eliminate special ed class size

    The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) staff has a new proposal to ELIMINATE State special ed class size limits, and ELIMINATE the State 70/30 rule – the 30 percent limit on the percentage of students with an IEP that can be in a regular general ed class.

    The plan will be presented to the ISBE Board at its meeting on January 22 and 23, 2014, for FINAL approval.

    There will be NO hearings and NO ability to evaluate the proposal before it is presented for FINAL ISBE Board action.

    The proposal would let each LOCAL school district decide on a STAFFING PLAN.

    You can send your objections NO LATER THAN Monday, January 13, to rules@isbe.net

    Be sure to say how having your local school district decide on a special ed STAFFING PLAN would affect you, your child, the
    children in your classroom, or the children you serve.

    - Bev Johns

  • 332. Counterpoint for discussion  |  January 11, 2014 at 2:34 am

    Re 331 70/30 IEP.
    To 329: That’s the whole point/ We’ve reached the tipping point. There are too many students with IEP/504 plans in “average student” classrooms. Everyone else is being pushed to the side in order that the IEP’s/504 can learn to not pick their noses and eat it.

  • 333. CarolA  |  January 11, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Let’s hear it for all the CPS (and other) nurses out there! According to the news, a school nurse saved the life of a parent on Friday. The man was unresponsive in his car. The nurse was called. She used a defibrillator until the paramedics got there. She saved his life! All the more reason to have a full time nurse at each school. THANKS to all the nurses!

  • 334. teflonmom  |  January 11, 2014 at 9:28 am

    @Counter, Okay, now you have lost all rights to respect. As the mother of a child with ASD, THIS is what I fear. Ignorant, uneducated people who misunderstand my child’s problems. He has an IQ of 118 and he is more insightful, intelligent and compassionate than you can ever hope to be. He has a neurological issue that causes him to act “strangely.” You clearly have no idea how to engage in a civilized discussion. You have a very hard time making logical connections and when you lose a point on an issue, you resort to name-calling. It’s extremely childish. And I’m mad at myself for taking the bait.

  • 335. cpsobsessed  |  January 11, 2014 at 10:08 am

    @Teflon, its clearly a provocative statement meant for that purpose and clearly isn’t true. That’s what happens on the internet, I’ve learned.

    @Counter, can I request that you make your points without being inflammatory? You could have easily worded the sentence differently or left that part off. Thank you.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 336. HS Mom  |  January 11, 2014 at 11:33 am

    @334 – you are absolutely correct. counter is either grossly overlooking or purposely misrepresenting the point in order to fuel an argument or incite parents into believing that education is being “dumbed down”.

  • 337. Family Friend  |  January 11, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    I don’t agree that tracking or leveling is the way to address the academic differences in a class. That sounds to me like dumbing down the teacher’s job. I believe teachers, like students, can excel if they are given the right training and resources. Movement among levels can be accomplished easily, and not just once a year, if the classroom teacher is trained and supported in differentiation. “Here, take this level x lesson plan and implement it,” is practically guaranteed to send the creative teachers who seek excellence right out of the profession. School is not an assembly line, and it shouldn’t feel like one.

  • 338. local  |  January 11, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    @ 331. Veteran | January 10, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Thanks for the alert! I will definitely fight this stupid proposal.

  • 339. OTdad  |  January 11, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    @328. neighborhood parent:
    I’m not sure you looked at the bigger picture of CPS: by 11th grade, only 1 (or less) in 5 are considered collage ready. 2 in 5 will drop out high school. Among the 600+ CPS schools, dozens of them are actually doing ok, but vast majority are not ok. Whatever the pedagogy is, it’s failing the majority of the kids.

    Why do you think people move to the suburbs or to certain neighborhoods? School is often no small part of the decision, because they fear that their kids cannot get proper education. Current CPS neighborhood school model contributes to the racial/social-economical divide among city neighborhoods.

    With merger like I suggested, we can have enough students to split into classes of different abilities and needs, kind of selective enrollment at neighborhood level. Regardless where you live, your kids will share classroom with students of similar ability and needs, not likely to be dumbed down. Teachers will be better prepared to teach to everyone’s ability. If that’s the case, people live in some not so good neighborhoods may not feel the urgency to move out, at least not because of their kids’ education.

    No “tracking” is actually done or needed. At the end of every school year, students will be re-grouped into different classes based on their performance. The kids don’t have to know which class is at which level. With grouping, class size will not be as critical an issue.

    Let’s think of neighborhood schools as restaurants. Right now they are serving Italian, French, Chinese, Mexican, Japanese…. to a small population. Due to resource limitations, a chef (teacher) has to prepare all the different flavor at the same time. Can the foods be any good? With merger and grouping, we can set up specialized restaurants with specialized chefs, customers (students) will have better quality foods (education).

    “I think your suggestion is based on outdated/old/incorrect assumptions about environments in our neighborhood schools.”

    I’m not sure who is more out of touch with reality of CPS. Probably 6-7 years olds are still not old enough to be gangbangers. Wait until some pop up, you will appreciate the value of grouping.

  • 340. Veteran  |  January 11, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Fred Klonsky has this on his blog from Wendy Katten who is asking all parents to call Gery Chico’s office to stop this travesty of removing class size caps-please do this as this will affect all students not just the students with disabilities.

    http://preaprez.wordpress.com/2014/01/11/wendy-katten-stop-the-isbes-attempts-to-end-class-size-limits-for-special-education-call-isbe-president-gery-chico/

  • 341. Counterpoint for discussion  |  January 12, 2014 at 2:13 am

    To 334 via 324:
    I though you said goodbye/ take care. I didn’t realize you were still here. You actually wrote “No more need for me to troll around on this site.” in post 313. All of these posts present closure.

    I know at least 20 students with an IEP’s that literally “pick their noses and eat it all day.” Yes it’s sad, but it’s also the truth. Two are allowed to hide under a blanket when they get stressed out and grunt. TALK ABOUT DISTRACTING to the other students. The normal students have given up due to the system catering to the bizarre.

    Society needs to understand how a great educational system is being dismantled in order to cater to the weakest links. I need to do my part, because the Progressives will yell as loud as they can for their causes.

    Again 334. I respect you however, I will not allow society and an educational system to be changed for the worse due to your perception vs. reality.

  • 342. Veteran  |  January 12, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    HELP!

    I called Gery Chico’s office number which is on the posting above and left a voice mail message that I am adamantly opposed to lifting the cap on sped class sizes. If this happens the sped teachers and gen ed teachers will have so many IEP/504 students that it will be impossible to follow the plans regarding accommodations and modifications. I believe they have had 6,000 emails but now it is advised by advocates to leave a message on Gery Chico’s voice mail. Please do this because your voice carries much more weight than the teachers.
    I am really suspicious about why this is being brought up AGAIN in such a short time frame-voting Monday-no public input at the meeting just emails or voice messages.

  • 343. Veteran  |  January 12, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    What the class size cap means to a first grade teacher….

    http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2014/01/chicago.html

  • 344. AvilleMom  |  January 12, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    @339 OTdad
    I’m not sure I can agree with your concept either. I disagree with your opinion that the number of children who excel in one basic area while lagging behind or struggling in another, even to the point of needing an IEP, is quite small. It is actually quite common for a child to excel at reading and just not get math, or vice versa. I believe there is great value to having one classroom teacher, particularly for younger children, say 5th grade and under. Intellectual and academic development is not linear, and I don’t think you can address the problem in such a black and white fashion as your “grouping” suggests. I also believe that while not labeled, children know exactly what group they are in at a very early age.

    I certainly credit you with creative thinking on this problem, I just think it is far more complex than grouping. Differentiated instruction is the goal, and most teachers can handle it if they have class sizes 25 or under and the necessary supports such as social workers, nurses and resource teachers. The kind of supports needed by a system where a large number of the demographic are at or below the poverty line.

    What we need is well funded neighborhood schools……actually less choice rather than more. Neighborhood schools that are desirable, walkable, with the necessary resources and small class sizes. Another parent commented that her 2nd grade had 9 different teachers…….I think that is just ridiculous. Kids that young are not ready for that much specialization, not to mention that key social and emotional learning takes place in a class of young children with a main teacher who gets to know them well throughout the year.

    CPS needs to stop throwing money at Charter schools, stop giving lottery magnet schools additional funding (the magnet system has outlived its purpose and needs to be critically examined). Think of the money that CPS could put back into neighborhood schools if it just did away with the schools busses that traverse the City with 12 children every day to deliver them to various magnet schools. Chicago has always been a city of neighborhoods and we need to put resources back into our neighborhood schools……all of them.

  • 345. Way Outta There  |  January 12, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    @324 — Dear Teflonmom — you sound like a wonderful person and mom to a terrific boy. I was so sorry to read that you decided to pull your son out of CPS last week. I am very troubled by one remark you made: “His teacher mentioned that part of the difficulty with my son is that he does not need special education or a modification in the difficulty of material–he needs an entirely different learning environment–one that is free from distraction, lots of one on one instruction and hands-on experiential learning.” If his teacher truly believed what she told you and she was as caring as you think she is, she would have informed you of your legal rights, that, under Federal law, CPS has to educate your son in an appropriate setting. IMO, you just got rolled. CPS got rid of you and they aren’t paying one dime to educate your child. That is just wrong wrong wrong. I urge you to contact a special ed attorney (just Google to find one) and at least meet with them once to review your case. No downside to that. You have some rights here that you need to urgently protect and time is not your friend. Pulling him out may very well have been the right call; now you just need to get CPS to continue to do their job educating your son. BTW, love your post @334. It was eloquent and passionate. Your child will go far with you in his corner. All my best to you on your journey.

  • 346. IEP  |  January 13, 2014 at 12:29 am

    #324 Teflonmom – I agree with 344. I’ve been there, done that. I know how frustrating it all is,but you might as well learn to really fight now. By doing so you will learn what you need to learn when the stakes are higher and your child’s issues may not be so easily served by having you homeschool him. Even if you decide to pull him from CPS, you can still have him registered at your local school as a non-attending student and you can still continue the IEP process; if you keep him at home and he has an IEP, he can still get services. I wonder if your son ever had a full evaluation privately – how did he come to have an autism diagnosis?

    Bottom line, write CPS a letter requesting an evaluation. Look under High School Applications Fall 2013 #566 for a sample letter.

    Doing this now will also throw you into a world of resources that may help you figure out what he needs. Definitely need to talk to more parents who have been there. Check your local library for sp ed parent forums or just do a search on-line.

    Also, don’t forget, there are special schools that can help kids if the local school can not meet his needs. I heard from one Sp Ed teacher that CPS wants to close cluster programs and in the process is tuitioning kids out to private schools more. How this makes sense financially, I don’t know, but CPS has paid for kids with autism to go to private schools as well as to other school districts that have stronger autism programs.

    This is all a lot of work and can be frustrating, but again, better to start learning what is out there now.

    A free lawyer is Michael O’Connor if you end up needing to go to due process (CPS pays his legal fees if you win; if you lose, no one gets paid). Sarah Mauk is also an attorney with the same arrangement. Both are great!

    Good luck to you!

  • 347. Counterpoint for discussion  |  January 13, 2014 at 1:53 am

    Fascinating that the comments are that CPS “needs” to pay for this or that type of special education. CPS is us friends….We are paying for it… So when the tax bills, water bills, and on and on bills keep going up, blame the people that write that CPS “needs” to provide that costly program. By demanding more your damning yourself into having to work more hours and spending less time with loved ones.

  • 348. IEP  |  January 13, 2014 at 10:52 am

    #346. CPS could continue to provide Cluster programs but CPS is choosing to shut down these programs and ship people out at taxpayer expense. Makes no financial sense to do so when the services can be provided within CPS at less expense.

    Most sp ed teachers and parents I talk to are against the shuttering of cluster programs, but yet that is the direction CPS is headed.

    Who is driving this shift and why?

  • 349. lurking former CPS teacher  |  January 13, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Money is driving this shift as it drives everything else. It is cheaper to tuition out special need kids than to pay for all the staff that is needed to meet the needs of these kids. My experiences with CPS as a SPED teacher with a self contained class (kids with severe learning disabilities, mild and moderate cognitive disabilities, students on the spectrum for autism, ED/BD students, the current climate of “push in” and inclusion, which can be suitable for kids diagnosed with mild learning disabilities and minor issues, is a disaster for children with bigger issues. In most instances, the gen ed teachers do not have the experience, knowledge, or time to deal with these kids and their issues. When this push first started, as a SPED teacher, I could use my teacher aide to be with the students who were pushed in to a gen ed class as support. With the cut back on aides, that became pretty much impossible. Without the aide, my students were either put on the computer, or basically sat there for 50 minutes doing pretty much nothing. CPS doesn’t seem to realize that “push in” and “inclusion” does not work without a lot of support, which they do not provide. I finally had enough of seeing students with special needs get screwed and left.
    @324 Teflon mom, sorry I have to agree, you got played. Take the suggestions of others and get yourself some legal help. CPS will do the minimum it can and get away with, but when there is a lawyer involved, there usually is a very different outcome. They are afraid of lawsuits (as well they should be) and will be much more willing to provide needed services. Then it falls on you to make sure they are actually providing those services, which can be a whole other story. Good luck to you.

  • 350. Chris  |  January 13, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    “either grossly overlooking or purposely misrepresenting the point in order to fuel an argument or incite ”

    That’s a *great* definition for trolling. It’s probably what you were thinking, but didn’t want to say.

  • 351. Chris  |  January 13, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    “class size cap”

    Honest question: what’s the current (approx) %age of CPS students with a 504 or IEP? I know some numbers were tossed around in the thread, but does anyone have a cite to current/recent numbers?

    I ask bc, while I agree that the cap is important, if we were (hypothetically) in a situation where 25% of all students count under the cap, then having 30% be the cap would (likely) present significant logistical problems, as it is unlikely that the 25% would be sufficiently evenly distributed to fit within the cap number everywhere.

  • 352. Veteran  |  January 13, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    #348 What you say is so true. It is cheaper to tuition out because very few parents know their rights and pursue due process so the majority of children who need more services, an aide or placement in an appropriate program(less children-more adults) do not get it.
    CPS relies on parental lack of knowledge-teachera are actually reprimanded for discussing “better programs” for children with low incidence disabilities.

    I believe the state percentage is 14% and CPS hovers around that point regardless of the many environmental factors which should push the percentage up.

  • 353. Veteran  |  January 13, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    My school which is a Level 1 has 19% special education so it is imperative that this proposed rule change fizzles. Two years ago I had 12 sixth graders on my provider list which had 24 students with direct services. The self-contained sped teacher had 4 sixth graders so now we have 16 sixth graders to “include” in the gen ed room-so
    being that I could not be in two room at once and the self-contained sped teacher still had 10 students in her room so she could not be in the gen ed room this was the only solution-my 12 in one room so I could be in there when they had math/ reading and then go to two other grades to service my other 12 which were split 8 and 4.
    We were over the limit but the gen ed teacher realized the understaffing issue. We passed our CPS audit even though this situation did not allow me or the other sped teachers to meet the minutes. The four children from the self-contained room were in the gen ed without any support-very sad as some of them could not even read the text let alone understand the material. This is the norm in CPS so parents please call/email ISBE/Gery Chico to stop this rule change.

  • 354. HS Mom  |  January 13, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    349 Chris – Yep!

    350 Chris – I believe our SEHS has around 15%. Keep in mind that all kids in the SE program tested and scored to get in just like any other kid. Maybe few exceptions for PD.

    Veteran/lurking teacher

    Just so that I understand, by “tuitioning out” you mean kids are sent to a special school?

    What is or was a “cluster” program?

  • 355. Veteran  |  January 13, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Tuitioning out can be to a special private school OR to a suburban public school. This was as shock to me when I found out that CPS will pay for a bus, a bus aide and the tuition at a suburban school for ONE CHILD because they don’t want to offer the same type of program in Chicago. This is usually a scenario with children with emotional disabilities or autism.

    Cluster programs are for those students with low incidence disabilities such as deaf/hard of hearing etc. ( I don’t know why we don’t have these programs so that no one is tuitioned out)
    One school in an area will be set up to service all of the children in that part of the city who cannot hear. The teachers and the aides sign, Braille is used and the school is physically set up to meet the needs of the child who cannot hear. This is supposed to minimize cost.

    In my 22 years at my school I know of only one child who was tuitioned out and it was only after years of documentation of violent acts and after he continued to tell the teacher that he would kill her that it was done.

  • 356. HS Mom  |  January 13, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    OK, I see what you are saying. I know all cases are different but a kid with mild ASD who gets along well in the class other than needing IEP accommodations should still be able to be educated in the general classroom along with other children. Who wants to bus their kid out to the suburbs?

  • 357. IEP  |  January 13, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    #355. CPS buses many kids out and some kids travel over 1.5 hours to get to school. Even Wisconsin buses kids to Northbrook. Used to be that they would fight you tooth and nail, but now they are tuitioning kids out and moving to get rid of cluster programs. There area good number of parents who also go to due process to get out at CPS expense – sometimes they win and sometimes they lose. CPS has to prove the program they are providing is appropriate. As you can see from the comments above, that is often a laugh.

    Many neighborhood schools don’t want the cluster in the school – especially those that are overcrowded or where parents are not welcoming, especially if for kids with BD.

    Suburbs aren’t perfect. They more easily tuition kids out to private schools, sometimes pushing parents out so they don’t have to deal with it. Works both ways.

  • 358. almostdonewithIEP  |  January 13, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Lincoln Park High School:
    The LDA College, Career, and Resource Fair for Students with IEPS and 504 Plans is February 6, 2014 5:00-8:00 in the main building cafeteria.
    I don’t know if it’s open to all CPS students, but you could call them if you’re interested.

  • 359. Chris  |  January 13, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    HS Mom: “I believe our SEHS has around 15%”

    Sure, but I’m curious if there’s an actual number for the city as a whole, and also a trendline. Lots of estimated numbers tossed around, mainly in the 15% area, but no linky. Obv (to me) even at 15-18%, once you select out some percentage of kids going to magnets, etc, you will wind up with one or more lumpy neighborhood schools where over 30% of the remaining kids at least qualify for 504/IEP. But that would/should be a case by case waiver situation, rather than undoing the rule entirely. Different if the citywide pop is more like 25%–then you’d end up with waivers being the default.

    Veteran: ” I don’t know why we don’t have (deaf, etc) programs so that no one is tuitioned out”

    Well, in some circumstances, it would be ‘less restrictive’ to send the kid to a nearer private or suburban option than to send the kid 15 miles across Chicago. And some parents would prefer that, even if there were a CPS option, and it’s easier to give them what they ask for than argue the point. Etc, etc.

    I don’t think that it is likely that CPS could reduce ‘outplacement’ to zero, even with an adequate funding scenario.

  • 360. Veteran  |  January 13, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    http://webrpt1.isbe.net/WebReports/WebReportsCR.aspx

    The latest data is from 2011 on ISBE states that CPS has 11% sped while the state has 14%-the three percent must be the success of our RtI Program-sarcasm.

  • 361. IEP  |  January 13, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    IEP – About 12% of CPS has an IEP (varies by year, so 11% not far off).

    SEHS – Only about 7 to 8% of SEHS have students who have an IEP.

    Also, most of the SEHS also have students who DO NOT test into the school (there numbers are included in the 7 to 8%). Instead they are placed into the program by CPS with support of IEP team. They are part of a cluster program and this helps the SEHS reach their 7 to 8% numbers. There are programs for students with autism, blindness, hearing impairment, mild and profound disabilities, and more at the SEHS (each serves a different population).

  • 362. IEP  |  January 13, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    SEHS – Meant only 7 to 8% of students at SEHS have an IEP.

  • 363. HS Mom  |  January 13, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    @360 – The number of IEP/504 students will vary between SEHS’s because students are admitted through the regular admission process. Our school had 15% last year, not sure about the current year. The self contained classroom “low incidence program” is completely separate from the selective enrollment process. Placement is through CPS Cluster offices.

    My understanding was that the reason placement of IEP into SE is minimal (if any) is because there are usually enough IEP students qualifying on their own. 504 students are not placed. Do you have information or guidelines about placement of IEP students?

  • 364. IEP  |  January 13, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    #362. Wow! 15%! What SEHS is that? I have never heard of such a high number. That is very, very unbelieably high. Sounds like 504s are being counted in that number. In Chicago tons of kids have 504s due asthma and allergies.

    Lane has less than 200 kids with IEPs and that is out of a total of like 4000 students (this does not include AC kids). It is like a little under 5%. My 7-8% numbers were on the high end, but actual is probably anywhere from 4-8% as I think about it more. Vast majority came in thru the cluster program and did not test in. Instead 8th grade IEP team and CPS agree on placement – no testing is involved for those attending cluster program; some mainstreaming occurs as possible.

    If you go to the Open Houses, a couple of the schools provide the data. Figures on Lane came directly form Lane.

    Only information is what I heard at open houses and asking questions of the staff on hand at the open houses.

  • 365. IEP  |  January 13, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    Also, I think having the cluster programs at a SEHS is part of CPS strategy – can count those IEP students in cluster program to help avoid getting sued for low number of IEPs at a SEHS (whereas neighborhood H.S. have IEP students naturally).

    Because there is absolutely NO WAY CPS will get 5% of SEHS students with IEPs testing in. Just doesn’t happen. More like maybe 1% or possibly 2% but that is it.

  • 366. HS Mom  |  January 13, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    @363 – yes, 15% includes 504.

    “Because there is absolutely NO WAY CPS will get 5% of SEHS students with IEPs testing in.”

    Jones has 9% IEP. Northside and Payton 5% large schools Young and Lane under 4%. These students are in the SE program and test in.

    “Vast majority came in thru the cluster program and did not test in”

    The cluster or low incidence programs are self contained classrooms completely separate from the SE program along with separate admissions that are not test based There are no students in the SE program who do not test in including IEP, NCLB or Principles discretion.

    “Instead 8th grade IEP team and CPS agree on placement”

    I assume this reference is to the self contained program for kids with disabilities. I have never heard of IEP students in the regular SE program being placed by 8th grade IEP team. What would be the basis of one kid getting in over another?

  • 367. HS Mom  |  January 13, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    @350 Chris – this link will give you IEP% (without 504) by school. Under tab for student characteristics then students with disabilities.

    http://iirc.niu.edu/Default.aspx

  • 369. CPS Appalled  |  January 14, 2014 at 10:12 am

    Tuitioning-out is not only for children who exhibit violence or are on the autism spectrum. With a good lawyer, special needs children whose educational needs are not being met by CPS can get tuitioned out to a private school. I know one child with multiple disabilities who got tuitioned out recently, because CPS had failed over many years to adequately address this child’s special needs. The parents were very patient and tried for several years to stay in CPS, but CPS was not interested in providing the necessary special education services. It seems that CPS would rather pay $35,000+ per year for a private program, plus legal costs, than to educate children like this within the city. Clearly CPS does a cost-benefit analysis and figures out that most parents don’t have the resources to sue, so it is cheaper just to deny these children their (federal) rights to a “free and appropriate public education”. If they have to pay every now and again to tuition out a child to a private program, it is cheaper for CPS in the long run. So wrong, and so morally corrupt. Not news to anyone reading this blog!

  • 370. OTdad  |  January 14, 2014 at 10:21 am

    @367:
    What that child needs is a full-time care facility. Public education system will do him little good, regardless what they asked CPS to do.

    The child is 10 years old with ability of a 2yr old, blind, autism, need toilet training. How come this child belongs to a regular classroom? No wonder the whole education system is so screwed up.

  • 371. CPS Appalled  |  January 14, 2014 at 10:35 am

    OTdad: Wow. It is amazing that you assume every child who needs to be tuitioned out is very low functioning. I realize your comment is directed at a low-functioning child, who, by the way, has a federally-mandated legal right to be eductated at his or her level. The child I mentioned has a normal IQ and several medical issues which negatively impact learning. This child is functioning at grade level for most subjects, but needed a carefully crafted education plan to address legitimate special needs. I can only assume you have never met anyone, child or adult, who has special needs and requires some modifications to function fully in the world. Most of these special needs children can walk, talk, and use the bathroom. They are fully “educatable”. I don’t know where you get your stereotyped views, but I beg you to educate yourself and come join us in the 21st century.

  • 372. CPS Appalled  |  January 14, 2014 at 10:50 am

    @Veteran: If this was my child, I would be overwhelmed. I amazed at the fortitude of these parents. This is an example of extreme neglect on the part of CPS. Did I read this correctly that the hearing officer in part blamed the parents for not filing due process sooner than they did? For goodness sake, they were trying to take care of a child with special needs, fighting for services with CPS, and trying to avoid bankruptcy.

    BTW, OTdad, this child was never placed in a regular classroom, with an IEP. A child like this would always have been placed in a self-contained classroom with full-time special education services.

  • 373. OTdad  |  January 14, 2014 at 10:59 am

    @343. AvilleMom:
    Low performing and segregated neighborhood schools are exactly the justification of charters and magnets. Funding is really not the main issue, it’s the inefficiency. Naperville spends less per student than CPS, but they get more than 7 out of 10 college ready. CPS is less than 2 out of 10.

    Neighborhood school model is better suited for a small town, not a big city like Chicago. If we have 300+ students per grade and do grouping, I doubt many could not fit into 1 of the 10 classes. Anyway, any kind of change will face resistance from all sides. Parents have to do “grouping” by themselves. For example, our neighborhood school (Lincoln Elementary) only has 20% black+hispanic, 13% low-income. While just south of boundary, Manierre has 100% black and 100% low-income. “grouping” probably won’t do as much good in good neighborhood schools than poor ones. The ability of separating students of different types could be a game changer for underprivileged kids who are willing to learn.

  • 374. IEP  |  January 14, 2014 at 11:44 am

    oFFICE OF DIVERSE LEARNERS
    SAVE THE DATE
    Saturday, March 29, 2014
    EDUCATIONAL CONFERENCE FOR PARENTS OF DIVERSE LEARNERS
    Museum of Science and Industry
    Hosted by the ODLSS’ Parent Mentor Project and STARNET
    Workshops on Transition, Advocacy, Parental Rights and Resource Fair
    Registration Details will be provided soon

  • 375. IEP  |  January 14, 2014 at 11:47 am

    TRANSITION FAIRS – AFTER H.S.
    2/27, 3-5 P.M. Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences

    4/3, 5-7 P.M Lane Tech High School

  • 376. IEP  |  January 14, 2014 at 11:51 am

    NOTE: ABOVE POST FOR TRANSITIONS AFTER H.S THAT MAY NOT INCLUDE COLLEGE. BELOW IS A COLLEGE FAIR.

    OPEN TO ALL
    COLLEGE AND CAREER FAIR FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES LDA Chicago North Chapter of The Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) hosts a FREE event for students with IEPs and 504 Plans, Parents and Educators.
    When: Thursday, February 6, 2014, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
    Where: Lincoln Park High School, 2001 North Orchard Street, Chicago, IL 60614
    No registration required.

  • 377. IEP  |  January 14, 2014 at 11:52 am

    NPN 3RD ANNUAL DEVELOPMENTAL DIFFERENCES RESOURCE FAIR
    Neighborhood Parents Network hosts a Developmental Differences Resource Fair
    When: Sunday, February 9, 2014, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    Where: Gordon Tech High School Gymnasium. 3633 N. California Ave., Chicago, IL

  • 378. IEP  |  January 14, 2014 at 11:53 am

    CHICAGOLAND AUTISM CONNECTION
    CAC will hold its monthly meeting this Saturday, January 18, 2014, from 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., at Easter Seals School and Center for Autism Research, 1939 West 13th Street, Chicago.
    CAC is hosting 2 presenters, one of whom is a high school student w/ASD whose school assignment is to speak to a group about autism. The second presenter is Shirley Perez, the Executive Director of the Family Support Network of Illinois.
    To register and for more information about the program, parking and respite care, please contact pebutler@chicagoautism.org.

  • 379. IEP  |  January 14, 2014 at 11:54 am

    STARNET PARENT WORKSHOPS
    Do you have child with special needs ages 1 – 5?
    Do you want to learn more, get useful information to help your child and meet other parents?
    STARNET Chicago hosts:
    Let’s Start Cooking! Early Learning in the Kitchen
    When: Friday, January 17, 2014, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    Where: Chicago Lighthouse, 1850 W Roosevelt Road
    When Families Are Special: Understanding the Dynamics of Special Needs Parenting

    When: Friday, February, 14, 2014, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
    Where: St Vincent DePaul Center, 2145 N. Halsted
    Parents Mentoring Parents

    When: Monday, March 10, 2014, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
    Where: City of Chicago, 10 S. Kedzie, Room 205, Chicago, IL 60624
    Sensory Processing: A Parent’s Perspective

    When: Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
    Where: Metropolitan Family Services , 6422 S. Kedzie
    To register for any of these FREE workshops, call 773-553-5596 or register online at http://www.StarnetChicago.org. See attachment for full calendar.

  • 380. IEP  |  January 14, 2014 at 11:56 am

    PARENT & EDUCATOR PARTNERSHIP
    Mission Statement:
    To facilitate partnerships equipping parents and educators to be equal partners in the success of each child.
    The Role of Parent Mentors Includes:
    • Sharing Information about special education laws, policies and procedures.
    • Increasing the number of and improving the quality of parent and professional partnerships.
    • Providing training, workshops, and ongoing technical assistance for parents, school district personnel, and community members.
    • Attending IEP meetings, if requested by parents.
    • Obtaining and distributing materials and resources to parents of children with disabilities and district personnel.
    • Promoting parent mentor services within the school district and community.
    • Establishing and sustaining parent networking and support groups, as needed.
    • Helping parents find and access community resources.
    • Establishing and/or supporting collaboration among child service agencies and related organizations.
    Please contact Tricia Luzadder, CPS Lead Mentor, at pmluzadder@cps.edu or 773-553-2258, for IEP support and/or guidance through the special education process or if you have any questions or concerns about how to better communicate with your child’s school. For more information about PEP and the role of parent mentors, please visit http://www.pepartnership.org

  • 381. IEP  |  January 14, 2014 at 11:59 am

    LEKOTEK
    Lekotek is a place where families of children with disabilities play, grow and learn. Lekotek is a family based program and we encourage the entire family to participate in the family play sessions. The National Lekotek Center is located at 2001 N Clybourn Ave Chicago, IL and we have a remote site in Skokie.

    The “Refer a Family” Program – rewards professionals, in the Chicagoland area, who refer a family to the Lekotek therapeutic play program. For each referral you will receive: 1 toy raffle entry and 1 continuing education/training webinar. Our Therapeutic Play Sessions are conducted by Family Play Specialists using toys and play as a way to help children with special needs reach their full potential. The unique thing about Lekotek is that we provide the toys/tools for families to continue working on their everyday goals and their therapy goals including the entire family!

    Professional Toy Lending Library – Many professionals are joining up to take advantage of the new Professional Toy Library membership the National Lekotek Center is offering. If offers a wide range of toys including; off the shelf, adaptive and switch operated toys as well as continuing education trainings. These toys will allow you to enrich your services to the children you serve. Membership includes; 60 toys per year, 12 training webinars (CEU’s may apply to your profession) and benefits for the families that you currently serve.

    For more information contact Hayley Anderson | Manager of Family Services and Partnerships @773-528-5766×407

    PLANT AND PLAY LEKOTEK
    Children with special needs or disabilities are invited to discover the sights, smells, and fun at the Garden. Lekotek is offering an all-inclusive, nature-inspired Plant ‘n’ Play day camp designed for children ages 3 to 8 years old and siblings. Parents and a sibling are welcome to join in our camp activities that foster social interactions, motor skills, and outdoor education. Plant the seeds that will grow in your backyard and in your child’s development!

    For questions specific to program activities, please call Lekotek at (773) 528-5766, extension 407. For more detailed information, please visit http://www.chicagobotanic.org/camp/plantplay

  • 382. IEP  |  January 14, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    CPSOBSESSED – I have 2 comments awaiting moderation. Thanks!

  • 383. Veteran  |  January 14, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    #368 Well said-CPS is not an advocate for children with disabilities

  • 384. Chris  |  January 14, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    “this link will give you IEP% (without 504) by school. Under tab for student characteristics then students with disabilities.”

    Aha. Thanks. Adding the trend stats on the site, you get that CPS as a whole is 13% IEP, and the state as a whole is 14% (which likely means 15% ex CPS). So, yeah, no need to change the cap.

  • 385. Veteran  |  January 14, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    #373

    http://schools.chicagotribune.com/district/naperville-cusd-203

    I am not seeing that Naperville spends less to educate a student than CPS. Would you mind sending me your information?

  • 386. OTdad  |  January 14, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    probably I remembered the number from the following article:

    http://www.chicagonow.com/windy-city-young-republicans/2012/04/chicago-public-schools-by-the-numbers/

  • 387. Rod Estvan  |  January 14, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    The evolution of this discussion from Jan 1 to Jan 14 really is very amazing and somewhat comprehensive. The depth of the problems CPS has in relation to special education is very deep, and as very many of you have commented it is often related to money.

    Since I have been a professional special education policy analyst and advocate for 20 years really there was not much in this discussion that surprised me after reading every post. But I do think CPS parents, particularly those who are middle class and are considering leaving Chicago for greener pastures need to be just a little cautious. Currently all districts are looking for ways, theoretically legal ways, to reduce special education expenditures. Lawyers I work with have cases from many of the best financed districts in Illinois and these are not cases where families are not asking for everything, just enough for their child to have a reasonable chance to survive educationally.

    I would say this – there is the text of the law be it Federal or State related to special education and section 504 of the Rehab Act – and then there is the case law in the 7th Cir. To be honest I have to depend on very skilled special education attorneys to provide me with reasonable interpretation of how our courts understand the text of law in this circuit for the many cases I deal with each month. I am so fortunate to be able to have these colleagues and lawyers here at Access Living to advise me of these more complex issues.

    Some times parents of students with disabilities have to fight for their children’s rights and sometimes they have to compromise with schools not exerting every possible inch of the law. Those parents that figure out how to balance those two factors will be more successful than the parent that fights every inch or the parent who gives into the school that argues they are doing the best they can with the resources they have.

    At age 60 and having raised both a disabled and a very high performing non-disabled child that attended CPS I have learned raising a disabled child is far more stressful. Many marriages and relationships have been destroyed by this stress. So for all of you who are parenting children with disabilities take time for your self, seek out what ever supports you can. In order to effectively support your disabled student you must first have your own life under control to the extent possible. Good luck to you all and feel free to contact me at Restvan@accessliving.org. We do not charge families for advocacy services, and we do not do due process cases. But we can provide referrals for those services if needed.

    Rod Estvan
    Access Living of Chicago

  • 388. HS Mom  |  January 14, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Rod – Thank you for some sanity!

  • 389. local  |  January 14, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Thanks for all those notices about sped events. What can people park around Lincoln Park HS on Thursday, February 6, 2014, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.? Road trip!

  • 390. local  |  January 14, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    “Where” can people park?

  • 391. Counterpoint for Discussion  |  January 14, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    I like the original “what” can people park. The answer is they can park their 82′ Dodge Dart, because that’s about all they will be able to afford after paying all the taxes to support these programs.

    Socialism at it’s finest

  • 392. E.D.  |  January 14, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    I, personally, do not mind paying my share for others’ education. Everybody has a right to learn how to spell ‘at its finest’.

  • 393. LP IB  |  January 14, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    #390. local – I was just at LP for the IB meeting last week in the evening and there was plenty of parking in the lot for guests. There is also paid parking on the street. I was able to get a paid spot right in front of the school (missed the lot since I was late). The Metra and train are not far away either.

  • 394. no clowns  |  January 15, 2014 at 5:13 am

    “I, personally, do not mind paying my share for others’ education. Everybody has a right to learn how to spell ‘at its finest’.”

    hey special ED, don’t quit your day job (if you had one). Just becuase you have nothing intellgent to say doesn’t mean you should try to “burn” someone by calling an auto-correct typo a spelling issue. Especially when it wouldn’t even be classified as a spelling issue. Better to keep your mouth shut and let people just think you are a fool than open it and prove it.

  • 395. E.D.  |  January 15, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    I apologize for feeding the troll, but reading his/her response was very satisfying.

    To @cpsobsessed, if you are looking for a new topic, I would like to suggest one, spurred by @counter mentioning earlier that s/he is a teacher. I hope it is not true, but it made me very uneasy just thinking that a person like that could become my child’s teacher.

    I certainly welcome diversity in opinions in college and even in high school, but can a person of authority with a cruel heart and a jingoistic attitude actually damage my 2nd grader? How much of teachers’ personal convictions manifest themselves in the classroom? Can one even teach social science and civics in elementary or middle school in a politically neutral way? When is the age that it is appropriate to tell your young child that his teacher’s political/social beliefs are wrong?

    As a parent, how much do you want to know about your child’s teacher’s political beliefs? If you find out that you are on opposite sides of the spectrum, do you think it will change your attitude toward his/her pure academic issues, and thus will it seep into your child’s attitude?

    My questions are meant to be fairly abstract, not tied to a particular commenter.

  • 396. Veteran  |  January 15, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    #395 He/she can say he/she is a teacher or …..

    I taught upper grades for many years and if you interview any of my students they would not even know my political party ( I never put a bumper sticker on my car for that reason) let alone my opinions on social issues. If you interview the parents they would not know either. My job is to teach, not to indoctrinate-hopefully I gave children the tools to think so they can form their own opinions.

  • 397. Counterpoint for discussion  |  January 15, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    To: 395
    I really like your jingoistic remark. I had to look that one up. (Coined from Disraeli, a Jewish man that was raised Christian, that had gonorrhoea. A writer and politician in England.) Very high brow, I’m impressed. Your request for a thread on teachers political bent is awesome. CPS Obsessed, Please also include a comment in setting up the thread about teachers with tats and piercings all over the exposed body. It’s really lovely and I really want my 2nd grader to be looking up to that teacher as a role model.

    For the record, I’m Libertarian. I’m for the family being financially responsible for the choice of their child to have sex. The family cannot in turn dump the cost of raising a difficult child onto society. Sorta like, if someone is going 100 miles an hour on a motorcycle while DUI and crashes. I don’t think society should have to support that person forever while they are bedridden.

    To: 396 Your comment about bumper stickers is awesome. How many teachers have Obama stickers on their cars? I count 30-40 daily.

  • 398. Chris  |  January 15, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    “Coined from Disraeli”

    Are you salting your dreck with inaccuracies in an attempt to get a response? Guess it worked this time:

    Coined well before Disraeli’s birth, tho the true origin is hazy (at best), *jingo* (jingoism/jingoist) gained its current meaning by virtue of a song written during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, and the application of term in the papers (and, presumably, conversation) to the supporters of Disraeli’s naval efforts to help the Ottomans counter the Russians (calling them ‘jingoes’, and thus their actions jingoism).

    The use herein seems to be a bit of a modern American revision of the original British usage.

  • 399. cpsobsessed  |  January 15, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    If I post that thread (yes, interesting topic) it will be unmoderated.
    Just be forewarned….

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 400. Counterpoint for discussion  |  January 15, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    To: 398
    I love it. Using Yiddish (drek). I got one back at ya’…. it’s called loshen hora. I anticipate you’ll always take the wrong side of the issue on all future posts.:)

  • 401. Chris  |  January 15, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    It’s straight up German.

    And, I’m *done*. Sorry everyone.

  • 402. Counterpoint for discussion  |  January 15, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    Please Chris and please teflonmon come back. The only way to solve CPS current crisis in education is for both sides to bang away at the issues. I’m a big boy, I can take the slams from both of you on these posts. We the city of Chicago need you both to rise to the task in order for the Socialist side to be displayed in it’s finest. Please again, remember in the words of our current mayor that you support, “it’s for the children.”

  • 403. Chris  |  January 21, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Off topic:

    Anyone know anything about the environment at Lorca Elem?

  • 404. Chicago School GPS  |  February 8, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Come out and brave the cold for tomorrow’s NPN Developmental Differences Resource Fair!

    What: 80+ exhibitors plus FREE workshops helping families of children with developmental differences.

    When: Sunday, February 9th, 10:00 am -2:00 pm.

    Who: Open to the public. FREE admission. This event is geared toward families with children ages infant through 8th grade.

    Where: Gordon Tech High School Gymnasium, 3633 N. California Ave, Chicago.

    More Info & Register: http://www.npnparents.org/expos/1186

  • 405. IEP  |  February 14, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    OODLSS just sent me an update from their recent meetings. Nice change to see follow-up and that our concerns were not swept away. We’ll see what happens. One key point that many parents were upset about appears to be one of the 5 themes they plan to address: SCHOOL CHOICE – How do we share school information – including cluster programs, specialty schools, assignment, etc.?

    This information is like a deep secret that you have to work at find out and then sometimes just inadvertently stumble upon. So hope they will include these H.S. and programs in this years H.S. Guide.

    Office of DIVERSE LEARNER SUPPORTS AND SERVICES’ FAMILY SCHOOL PARTNERSHIP FORUMS
    ODLSS heard loud and clear from over 350 parents who attended our three Family Forums in November and from over 400 CPS teachers – General Education and Learning Behavior Specialists – who completed our START STOP CONTINUE survey.
    As a follow-up to these forums, ODLSS hosted a day-long Round-Table Discussion for all stakeholders at Kendall College on Friday, January 31, 2014. All participants were asked to transform the themes from the START STOP CONTINUE exercises from the forums into ACTION STEPS.
    The stakeholders worked on five overarching themes:
    • ACADEMIC SUPPORT – How do we encourage academic achievement with appropriate intensity for diverse learners?
    • COMMUNICATION – How do we keep stakeholders informed?
    • IEPs – How do we better support stakeholders during the process, implementation, review, etc.?
    • SCHOOL CHOICE – How do we share school information – including cluster programs, specialty schools, assignment, etc.?
    • TRAINING – How do we ensure caring and informed adults in front of students?
    ODLSS’ goal is to review the stakeholders’ ACTION STEPS and rankings with CPS’ senior leadership. The progress made during this Round-Table will help ODLSS develop goals and budgets for next year.
    To add your comments and suggestions, please contact Dr. Markay Winston at chiefofodl@cps.edu.

  • 406. IEP  |  February 14, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Saturday, March 29, 2014
    EDUCATIONAL CONFERENCE FOR PARENTS OF DIVERSE LEARNERS

    Museum of Science and Industry
    Hosted by the ODLSS’ Parent Mentor Project and STARNET
    Workshops on Transition, Advocacy, Parental Rights and Resource Fair
    Registration Details will be provided soon

  • 407. IEP  |  February 14, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Transition Fairs

    Thursday, February 27, 3-5: Chicago HS for Agricultural Science
    Questions? jmgilson@cps.edu

    Thursday, April 3, 2014, 5-7: Lane Tech
    Questions? jtklunk@cps.edu

    This is an event for the parents and teachers of students enrolled in severe-profound and low incidence high school programs.These fairs will have representatives from agencies providing case management, advocacy, recreational, vocational, and residential services. Light refreshments provided. Please let us know if you require a translator.

  • 408. IEP  |  February 14, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    cpso – message that my comment is awaiting moderation

  • 409. Veteran  |  February 14, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    Training is a big issue in CPS. There simply hasn’t been any worthwhile training for at least twenty years. We are reduced to relying on Rod Estvan (former employee of CPS who now runs Access Living) for information on special education issues. Thank God he is knowledgeable!

    CPS has not met with the CTU regarding the J-CAR ruling-the only district in the state not to follow the law. This is why we have self-contained classrooms in excess of 15 students, no paras and the suburbs have class sizes of eight with paras. If CPS is truly sincere about giving children with disabilities the appropriate education they deserve, why haven’t they addressed the J-Car ruling like every other school district in Illinois?

    The most recent training I received was the training on the electronic IEP which was useless.

    Years ago, CPS used to have training for teachers of children with disabilities but stopped it because the CO folk did not like the fact that teachers were in a large group and were bringing up illegal situations at their schools. CPS did not want the dirty laundry aired nor did they want it known that some parts of the city have quality special education programs whereas other programs don’t even have a certified teacher. In order to stop large groups of teachers from discussing the real issues CPS stopped the group training and now tells teachers to ask the special education “expert” AKA SSAs who visit the school sporadically and the level of knowledge is sorely lacking at least in the ones I have encountered on the south side.

    I will be very interested to see how this plays out.

  • 410. Mom  |  February 16, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Our pediatrician suggested that my child can have Central Auditory Processing Disorder . Does anybody has experience with CPS audiology testing for CAPD, or can recommend any private audiologist ?

  • 411. IEP  |  February 16, 2014 at 11:32 am

    #410. CAPD – we used Jeanane M. Ferre, PhD in Oak Park, IL: http://www.dr-ferre.com/ around 10 years ago. At the time, she was considered the go-to person; don’t know if she is still considered the best in the area. I think we paid $500 which was not reimbursed by insurance. She will administer several tests including: Low-Pass Filtered Speech Test, Time-Compressed-Speech Test, Dichotic Digits Test, Dichotic Ryhme Test, Ptich Patterns Sequence Test, Competing Sentences Test, Test-Taking Behaviors.

    WHO SHOULD BE REFERRED FOR CAP EVALUATION?

    Patients age 4.5 years and older who display three or more of the following complaints are candidates for a CAP assessment.

    difficulty understanding in noise or trouble hearing in groups
    difficulty following directions and/or needs frequent repetition
    seems to hear but does not understand, needs frequent clarification/repetition
    history of ear infections/other otologic problems, history of neurologic problems
    distractible, does not “listen”, short attention span, poor focus/concentration
    speech and language problems, weak memory skills
    poor localization skills
    problems in phonics, reading, spelling, written language

    Good luck!

  • 412. Mom  |  February 16, 2014 at 11:53 am

    @IEP thank you! Did you try audiology testing through CPS?

  • 413. IEP  |  February 16, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    413. No, we did not – we didn’t even request it. By then we had pulled her from CPS and placed her in a private school for children with severe Learning Disabilities. CPS did the initial speech-language evaluation as well as the educational psych evaluation and the first IEP. We took her to Dr. Ferre after her speech pathologist suggested it.

    I know at the time there was a lot of controversy over the CAPD diagnosis, i.e. is it real. Don’t know how much has changed. Haven’t researched it recently.

    This was one issue in a host of other diagnosis (see previous note on who is recommended for testing – should have 3 or more of the issues listed to test), so not much changed after the CAPD evaluation. Since already had speech-language diagnosis, continued with sitting near teacher, speech-language therapy, Wilson and Lindamood-Bell (for reading but also helps with auditory issues) plus added Earobics (auditory games on CD), Fast ForWord auditory perceptual training program, teacher wearing a microphone in class.

    Did CPS (or other) already complete the educational psych evaluation? If not, ask them to do so. See sample letter from a previous poster under H.S. admissions on this blog. You would edit to meet your child’s situation. Looks like auditory processing is one of the requested evaluations.

    Here is a sample letter to write to the school to start the 60 day time clock. You can edit with the issues you see that are making you request the evaluation.
    I am referring my child for a special education comprehensive evaluation to include Academic Performance, IQ, Social & Emotional Status, Speech & Language/Communication, Automatic Processing, Short-Term Memory, Working Memory, Visual-Perceptual, Visual-Motor Integration, Motor Abilities, Auditory Processing, Vision, Hearing, and Assistive Technology for the following reasons:
    1. Difficulty with math including basic math facts, homework completion.
    2. Difficulty in some areas of speech.
    3. Difficulty in memorizing basic facts / rote information.
    4. Difficulty in attending to verbal instructions.
    Can add data about grades, standardized testing, etc. Or if you do private evaluation first, you could add data here.
    Please consider this letter my consent to conduct the comprehensive case study evaluation. I understand that this letter starts the 60-school-day timeline.
    Finally, I understand that if the school district turns down my request, the district will provide me with a written explanation of the reasons for not conducting a evaluation.
    Please contact me for all testing arrangements and all matters concerning my child.

  • 414. Mom  |  February 16, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    @IEP thank you for very valuable information. Our story is a little different. My child was receiving early intervention services, currently he is in first grade at magnet cluster school and receiving speech therapy at school.English is his second language . His teacher is very responsive and did accommodations so he can focus more at school. His grades are good however he definitely has other characteristics of CAPD. We recently requested bus transportation and was told that he is not eligible because he doesn’t have disability that prevent him moving himself from one place to another. I was thinking I can work with his teacher to accommodate his needs but obviously CPS needs everything on paper. I can’t imagine him crossing streets by himself. Do you think that asking for bus transportation for kid with CAPD is to much?

  • 415. IEP  |  February 16, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    415. No harm in asking, but best to do CAPD evalutaion or any other you think is needed. After your request, CPS will hold a domain meeting to determine what areas need to be assessed. Why not ask for a full-evaluation if you say he has a few of the issues listed above for CAPD? Could be something else at play. Why not just do a complete evaluation to avoid having to come back next year when you may notice some new issue (hopefully not, but best to get a full picture).

    Most 1st graders can not safely walk to school alone, so I would not necessarily consider that as a reason for CPS to provide transportation. But if he does have CAPD or some other issue, you can ask and have your data ready (will need to do some research to build your case based on diagnosis).

    Transportation is one of those things that appears to vary. Sometimes CPS will fight you tooth and nail to avoid providing ($$) transportation and other times they will agree to it. This is one of the areas CPS central office manages very tightly so IEP team (outside of you), won’t readily sign-up for providing transportation without getting central transportation approval.

  • 416. Veteran  |  February 16, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    I absolutely love the knowledge contained in these posts.

    Unfortunately, this is what you have to do to get services for your child.

    I am always saddened by those parents who don’t know enough to fight. The teachers do fight but it becomes a burden and can be stressful especially if the teacher is the only one advocating for the child. Some teachers who advocate are retaliated against by admin and the case manager-there is no support from central office at all for these teachers-it saves CPS money when a child is not referred early or when minimal services are given when it is obvious that the child needs more…..

  • 417. IEP  |  February 16, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    417. True. However, at least CPS is now promoting the Family Resource Center (see below: generally to people who have already signed up for the ODLSS email updates which I had never heard of until I went to the Parent Forum led by the head of ODLSS in November; this population likely already knows the basics). Plus now asking parents to be peer mentors. Not sure how sincere it all is – I volunteered to be a peer mentor and have heard nothing so far, but I haven’t followed up either. FIgure been doing this for 10 years for my own family, silly to let all this hard earned knowledge/experience go to waste!

    You can always recommend the Family Resource Center for people who need to learn their rights. I found them very useful when we first started out. Additionally, Equip for Equality gave us some legal strategy advice. Plus now I’ve learned about Rod Estavan from this website who is a wealth of information. Plus there are a few contingent lawyers out there if you need to go thru due process (Mauk, O’Connor).

    FAMILY RESOURCE CENTER ON DISABILITIES/CENTRO DE RECURSOS PARA FAMILIAS SOBRE DISCAPACIDADES
    FRCD – Providing Parents of Children with Disabilities with Information, Training, Assistance, and Support. Phone: 312-939-3513; Fax: 312-854-8980; info@frcd.org; http://www.frcd.org
    All Workshops are FREE!
    Registration is Required. Please visit http://www.frcd.org or call 312-939-3513 to register for workshops.

    I’d start with Family Resource Center for families just learning the ropes. They do workshops plus you can sign up for a 1:1 meeting as well.

  • 418. IEP  |  February 16, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    cpso – says my comment is awaiting moderation.

  • 419. Sped Mom  |  February 16, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    I second the advice above on using the Family Resource Center on Disabilities in Chicago to get started. Also, tap the website wrightslaw.com and the book “Better IEPs How to Develop Legally Correct and Educationally Useful Programs” by Barbara D. Bateman, et al. — well worth the $50 price.

  • 420. Mom  |  February 16, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    Thank you everyone. It is soo hard to navigate in the system specially if English is a second language . We left few voice messages to our school case manager and were ignored until we sent email and cc to assistant principle . I can’t imagine what is happening with the kids where parents don’t speak any English …

  • 421. anonymouse teacher  |  February 16, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    @420, keep copies of every single thing. Good luck.

  • 422. IEP  |  February 16, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    421. You were smart to cc the assistant principal (or even Principal for future). Case Managers and Sp Ed teachers are overwhelmed sometimes;fyi, don’t make them the enemy, but instead work with them. Overall, they are some dedicated folks in a tight position. Speak confidently to avoid giving the impression you can be a pushover or can be ignored. It is hard, but you will have to be the expert on your child and your child’s needs (trust your gut and follow up with your own research). You probably got their attention with the email! I always use email or letters to communicate requests so that I have evidence of what transpired. I document all calls and all requests as well in a simple log/notebook (never know when you need to have that documentation). Plus doesn’t hurt to bring donuts or muffins to the IEP meeting (food brings people together!).

    I have seen where a Case Manager does not follow the IEP and when it ends up blowing up in their face, Principal is like, why didn’t you come to me sooner parent? Principal is still accountable for what happens in the building. If IEP not followed or services not provided, Principal needs to know. They don’t want the ISBE coming in to do an audit!

    Plus if you want to learn more about a particular diagnosis, parent and professional groups meet all over the city and suburbs in libraries and elsewhere to share information, serve as resources.

  • 423. Mom  |  February 17, 2014 at 7:03 am

    Last question. If my son will be diagnosed with CAPD but has excellent grades and score high in standardize tests, can CPS refuse accommodations for him. I think CAPD is classified as learning disorder … Also do we have a right to refuse CPS audiology evaluation and do it private ? Thanks in advance.

  • 424. IEP  |  February 17, 2014 at 10:09 am

    424. Click on High School Applications Fall 2013 at the top of this page (in green) and then start reading the posts beginning at #557. There is a thread around questions similar to yours. Will give you a flavor for how things can vary from school to school.

    This can go down a number of ways. 1) School can say he is doing fine, no need to do anything, not even test. 2) You can test on your own at anytime, but CPS does NOT have to accept the results of your tests (frankly, I haven’t had them refuse to accept testing). 3) CPS can test and find no issues impacting your child’s education to the extent that is required by law to provide him with anything. 4) After testing, they can decide to give him a 504 with Accommodations in the classroom (sit close to the teacher, teacher wears a microphone, repeat instructions in a clear manner, etc., host of other potential accommodations that may help him). 5) After testing, they can decide to give him an IEP which involves him getting specialized services (he probably already has an IEP since you mentioned he has Speech, so they would just add services to the IEP for the newly diagnosed issues/if an issue – or if he just needs Accommodations for CAPD, they will add these to the IEP).

    It will be a tough sell to get CPS to see an issue. Not impossible, but you have some questions to consider. How is the disability impacting his right to a FAPE – free and appropriate education? His grades and test scores are high. What do you think he needs? What do you see at home? Also, he is still young, so sometimes these issues become bigger as child moves up to more demanding grades, so you are right to be thinking about these things now.

    Just having a disability doesn’t really translate into a 504 or IEP unless it is needed to access a FAPE. However, nothing ventured, nothing gained – no loss in asking, but just build your case and have data.

    Others please weigh in.

  • 425. CPS Appalled  |  February 17, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    I wouldn’t count on CPS recognizing this as an issue. The audiologist I was referred to for auditory processing disorder testing (but didn’t need after all) was Jeanne Ferre (spelling?) in Oak Park. Insurance sometimes covers this, but be persistant, especially if your pediatrician will write a letter to your insurance company stating the medical reason this testing is necessary. Good luck!

  • 426. Mom  |  February 19, 2014 at 11:49 am

    @424, 425 . Thanks !!! I was able to schedule evaluation with dr. Ferre. Thank you for all your help.

  • 427. IEP  |  February 19, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    427. As a follow-up, just remember that a CAPD diagnosis in itself won’t necessarily get you accommodations or services. Since your son is doing well, school may say their is no issue that is interfering with accessing an education. Additionally, without a full evaluation hard to see the big picture. Is his potential much greater than his performance? This in itself also won’t guarantee action on the part of CPS. And unlikely to result in transportation services. Just wanted to give you some perspective since testing is not cheap. Hopefully your insurance company will cover the cost. Good luck!

  • 428. Veteran  |  February 19, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Please make sure to rule out grade inflation which is rampant in CPS. I don’t know how many times I reviewed records on children in SBPS and RtI and found high grades and low standardized scores until they hit teacher “I grade accurately” who referred them for SBPS or RtI These children were from my school and also had transferred in from all over CPS. A lack of grade fidelity needs to be addressed by principals at staff meetings and individually at evaluation time. There is a problem when you have children on the honor roll one year and failing the next year. I really think teachers need to realize that a “C” means meets standards.

  • 429. Mom  |  February 19, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    @IEP Do you think I should request full evaluation before private audiology testing ? My plan was to do audiology evaluation first to see how it goes and then ask for full evaluation .
    @Veteran- is it MAP test compatible any how with grades . This is the only test results that I have. My son was at 95 percentile in math winter test and 90 percentile in reading respectively . Until he was 4.5 years old he wasn’t expose to English language . How is the grade inflation measure by CPS ? I’m trying hard to understand all the procedures and so thankful that you guys are willing to share your experience, otherwise I will be complete lost.

  • 430. HS Mom  |  February 19, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    ” I really think teachers need to realize that a “C” means meets standards.”

    I think parents need to realize that too. I’m sometimes bewildered about some of the complaints at report card pick up.

  • 431. IEP  |  February 20, 2014 at 10:03 am

    429. If you can afford it and it is not a financial hardship, go ahead with the CAPD evaluation now.

  • 432. Mom  |  February 20, 2014 at 11:57 am

    @IEP Thanks !!!

  • 433. Veteran  |  February 20, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    #429 How old is your son?
    I have found that the MAP scores are usually much more valid than ISAT. I am concerned with how the MAP is given-usually the testing situation is not as controlled as the ISAT and the MAP is not timed. I have had students say that the overcrowd lab, right on top of each other physical arrangement and computer issues may make for a lower score.

    I also have a question on whether the MAP was normed on 5 year olds who were exposed to a half-day or full day kindergarten program. I have seen 5 and 6 years old score somewhat high due to exposure to an all day kindergarten program but have lots of issues show up in first and second grade. (over taught is the word I use)

  • 434. Mom  |  February 20, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    @430 my son is currently in first grade – he just turned 7 . Last year he was at full day kindergarten and scored very low in first MAP test I think something like 22 percentile in reading and 50 precentile in math but for spring assessment went up to 92 in math and 88 in reading so definitely he is making progress . But I’m wonder what would his potential if his needs will be accomodated do to his CAPD. Also I’m worry about his progress in older grades when directions are more complex. I think he has good grades bc we spent time on his homework but I want him be more independent with his homework …

  • 435. Mom  |  February 20, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Hello,
    Friend asked me for help. She has medically fragile child with autistic/ seizure/ developmental disorder . Child was at therapeutic school for about 4 months. Mom requested IEP to be change . She wanted her child to be with general ed population. IEP was changed to specials with general ed students 20% and rest 80% in autistic behavioral program. Child was recently transfer to new school. Mom is very unhappy with behavioral program. She thinks that the best will be 100% general ed program with 1:1 help and individual therapies . What she should do next?

  • 436. IEP  |  February 20, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    435. This is a complex situation and not one that can be answered quickly on a blog. Your friend needs to take the long view, but with a sense of urgency. First, she needs to educate herself. Have her go to the Family Resource Center to educate herself. That really is a non-negotiable starting point. She should let them know upfront the language she needs the training to be in. Then she can schedule a 1:1 session with a counselor.

    She really is going to have own her own education and advocate for her child. Not knowing the language – that can be overcome – CPS has translators and so does FRC.

    Then she should see if she could get a peer mentor thru FRC or even CPS to help guide her, brainstorm ideas, give her a sounding board for what she is looking for. I spent many nights talking to people who offered different insights – it all helps.

    She has a whole lot of learning and a whole lot of research ahead of her. Good idea to join different parent groups that deal with special needs. Autism was included in your list and since she has issues with the behavioral program, she may want to start by getting involved with Autism forums.

    She needs a leg to stand on and needs to do her research first to make a stronger case for whatever she ends up thinking is appropriate in the end.

    See below for next posts.

  • 437. IEP  |  February 20, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    AUTISM WORKSHOP SERIES FOR PARENTS & PROFESSIONALS
    The Autism Program of Illinois and UIC’s Department of Disability and Human Development are hosting a workshop series for parents and professionals alike.

    Topics:
    Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders (Please choose one date)
    Dates: 2/19, 3/12

    Using Visual supports (Please choose one date)
    Dates: 2/26, 3/19

    Make & Take (materials to use with your child/client) (Please choose one date)
    Dates: 3/5, 4/2

    Time: 10am-12pm
    Cost: FREE
    Location: Developmental Disabilities Family Clinic, 1640 W. Roosevelt Rd 1st floor, Chicago, IL

    ***Participants are able to attend any of the 3 desired workshop topics, but please indicate which one(s) you will attend, along with the date you will attend, when leaving a voicemail message or sending an email. Registration is required.

    For more information, please contact Jessica Schultz, M.A. @ 312-996-7457 or e-mail: schultzj@uic.edu
    Over 2,000 people received service and training from the Developmental Disabilities Family Clinics in FY2012. This work was made possible by grants from Illinois Department of Human Services, The Autism Program (TAP), The Combatting Autism Act (CAA), and by third party payments from Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance carriers.

  • 438. IEP  |  February 20, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    RESOURCE CENTER FOR AUTISM AND DEVELOPMENTAL DELAYS
    “Tip & Tools for Homes & Schools”
    When: February 19th, April 16th, June 18th, August 20th, October 15th, 2014, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    Where: 10 S. Kedzie, Room 205

    “Understanding Autism: An Overview for Parents & Professionals”
    When: March 19th, May 21st, July 23rd, September 17th, November 19th, 2014, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
    Where: 10 S. Kedzie, Room 205

    “Understanding Autism: An Overview for Parents & Professionals”
    When: Marc 5th May 7th, July 9th, September 3rd, November 5th, 2014, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
    Where: 4314 S. Cottage Grove, Lower Level Canteen Room

    “Tip & Tools for Homes & Schools”
    When: April 2nd, June 4th, August 6th, October 1st, 2014, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    Where: 4314 S. Cottage Grove, Lower Level Canteen Room

    To register online visit rcaddsouth.eventbrite.com
    To register by phone call 312-747-8311
    For more information, please refer to attachment.

    CHICAGOLAND AUTISM CONNECTION
    The next monthly meeting of the Chicagoland Autism Connection’s Family and Professional Support Group will be held on Saturday, February 15 at the same time and location (10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the Easter Seals School and Center for Autism Research). Amanda Stetzer and Christiana Shafer of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) will present on “Natural Environment Training” (what ABA looks like for higher functioning children or adults).
    To register and for more information about the program, parking and respite care, please contact pebutler@chicagoautism.org.

    SAVE THE DATE

    CAC’S 15TH Annual “Spring Fling for Autism Awareness” Conference and Resource Fair is Scheduled for Saturday, April 5th at a new location – the Bogan Computer Tehnical High School (3939 West 79th Street) – from 8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. This year we will be offering six (6) breakout sessions in English and four (4) breakout sessions in Spanish.

    ASI’s 10TH ANNUAL PARENT AND PROFESSIONAL NETWORKING CONFERENCE

    Autism Society of Illinois Presents:
    10th Annual Parent and Professional Networking Conference
    Saturday, March 15, 2014
    LaGrange Highlands Middle School 1850 West Plainfield Road
    LaGrange, Illinois 60525

    The Parent and Professional Networking Conference provides opportunities to network with parents, family members, and professional from across the state and visit exhibits that will pro-vide information about Autism, support groups, service providers and organizations. This net-working conference will help you gain information and support to assist you in the quest to make a difference in your own life or in the lives of those whom you love, teach, and support with Autism.

    For detailed information please see attachment.

  • 439. IEP  |  February 20, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    Send an email to Patricia Luzadder of ODLSS to be sent the monthly newsletter which includes tons of informative meetings and opportunities. Her email is pmluzadder@cps.edu

  • 440. IEP  |  February 20, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    cpso – my comment #438 is awaiting moderation.

  • 441. Mom  |  February 20, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    @IEP – thank you again !!!

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  • 444. IEP  |  March 4, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    DOES YOUR CHILD HAVE AN IEP? ATTEND THE PARENT
    EMPOWERMENT EXPO sponsored by CPS ODLSS
    WHAT:
    Special education and disability
    resource fair for parents, family
    members and caregivers of
    Chicago Public Schools students
    receiving special education
    supports and services

    WHEN:
    Saturday, March 29, 2014
    Registration: 8:00am–9:00am
    Event: 9:00am–4:00pm

    WHERE:
    Museum of Science and Industry
    5700 S. Lake Shore Drive
    Chicago, IL 60637

    The event is FREE and a continental breakfast and lunch will
    be provided. Food is for registered parents only. Parking is
    $20 for non-museum members. This event is geared toward
    families with CPS students, ages 3-21 who are receiving special
    education supports and services.

    NOTE: We recommend, where possible, to make this
    an adult-only event. This convention style event and
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  • 446. IEP  |  May 13, 2014 at 10:36 am

    TRANSITION FORUM: SCHOOL TO ADULT LIFE FOR THOSE WITH AN IEP

    Wednesday, May 14, 2014 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    Mayors Office for People with Disabilities, MOPD, 2102 W. Ogden Avenue, Chicago, IL 60612

    If you are the parent, guardian or representative of a student
    with an IEP or a diagnosed disability in a secondary school in
    Illinois, you should attend this important community
    event to learn about resources available to help
    your child prepare for life after high school.

    Representatives from the Illinois Department
    of Human Services’ Division of Rehabilitation
    Services (DRS), Division of Developmental
    Disabilities (DDD), and the Division of Mental
    Health (DMH) along with the Illinois State Board
    of Education (ISBE) will be available to share
    information, listen to your concerns and help
    answer questions.

    This is an opportunity to engage in a dialogue and
    have your voices heard

  • 447. reevecoleman  |  May 13, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    Reviving this thread! I’m going into our local public school this Friday for “the domain meeting” to discuss getting an IEP or 504 for my son, who suffers from Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). He’s currently in weekly therapy with a private OT that is through my insurance, and is responding well overall, but still has a ways to go to be less fidgety and potentially disruptive in the classroom. Besides bringing his reports and original diagnosis, what else should I bring? What should I expect?

    By the way, all the parents out there who have kids with an ADHD diagnosis: you might want to get your kid screened for SPD, since it is commonly misdiagnosed as ADHD. Your kid may not need medication at all but more OT services.

  • 448. IEP  |  May 13, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    449. See bottom of email for a quick review of the purpose of the domain meeting.

    From my experience, the domain meeting is where you discuss what evaluations need to happen and why (see sample letter in post 414. above) . I have never had a situation where evaluations were not required, but it could happen. So the discussion will likely focus on what evaluations, if any, need to be done. Team could reject request for evaluations as well as services but then must document why.

    Are you concerned there may be other issues other than Sensory issues? If so, what evaluations do you think need to be done? Depending on the team, they may or may not be ready to recommend any additional evaluations. In reading your brief post, you don’t really make a case for what you want or think is needed.

    When you had your son evaluated, did the evaluator provide a report with recommendations for the classroom? And did the provider recommend additional areas of testing to explore?

    Does your son just need accommodations or does he just need pull out OT or other services in school? What do you think he needs? How is this diagnosis impacting his education? How does his behavior impact the schools discipline of him? What should change?

    Some IEP teams will suggest testing; some will reject testing and need for anything and some fall in between. It will help if you know what you want and why and are strong in standing up for what you think is needed. I always ask for everything – testing is expensive privately plus might as well as make sure cover all your bases.

    I always like to bring an extra person with me to help take notes and be moral support. There are lots of “them” and only 1 of you so it can be intimidating. However, send a note letting Case Manager know you are bringing someone.

    Since time is coming up quick, at a minimum, look at report for recommendations for additional testing.

    Good luck!

    The Domain Review Staffing
    This educational conference is the setting where a team of staff members and the parent, an integral part of the team, determine what type of evaluations are necessary to get a full view of the student, educationally.At the meeting the following areas, “domains”, are discussed: Hearing; Vision; Social Emotional Status; Academics; General Intelligence; Communication; Motor Skills;.

    At the meeting, a parent can expect to meet a variety of school personnel, possibly to include: The School Psychologist; The School Social Worker; General Education Teacher;Special Education Teacher; and representation from school administration.

    The School Nurse will discuss whether a hearing or vision screening needs to be completed, or other health related evaluations for the Case Study.
    The School Psychologist will discuss any general intelligence or achievement testing needing to be completed.
    The School Social Worker will discuss whether a social developmental history is a necessary component of the case study.
    The General Education Teacher will discuss performance in the classroom , as will the special education teacher, as warranted.

    AS THE PARENT…You are an integral part of this team. If at any time, you do not understand what is being discussed, please ask staff members for clarification. The school staff are aware that your child is the most important aspect of your life and their education is something you take very seriously.

    Following the discussion of the domains, it will be determined whether or not addtional information is needed, by way of evaluation, to determine eligiblity for Special Education Services, in alignment with the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

    Consent: Parents will be asked to sign either agreeing that no further information is necessary, or giving consent to perform the evaluations as stated in the Domain Review Paperwork.

    Your signature of consent to evaluate, or agreement that no further evaluation is necessary, begins the sixty day timeline staff members have to complete the case study evaluation. Please note that sixty days is in reference to sixty school days.

    You will receive copies of all paperwork completed at the domain review meeting. If you do not understand information in the paperwork following the meeting, please feel free to contact any member of the team.

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  • 451. Chi School GPS  |  June 16, 2014 at 11:59 am

    For Chicago private school families, please note the procedure for making a referral for an IEP or 504 has recently changed – AGAIN. Referrals no longer go to your CPS neighborhood school. I was told neighborhood schools can no longer keep up with the demand so all referrals go to one of 5 private school affiliates. Anyone else get this information that CPS/ODLSS is no longer taking the requests for evals and turning it over to private schools?

  • 452. RJ Greene  |  June 22, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Is there a list or link available of which elementary schools on the Northside have “resource rooms” for kids with IEPs? My local school does not have one, and I have an IEP evaluation coming up for 3rd grade for next year. Just trying to envision ahead of time which schools they might refer us to, if it’s determined that a school with a resource room is what’s needed. Is there a link/list of Northside elementary schools have rooms for kids with ED?

  • 453. IEP  |  June 23, 2014 at 2:48 am

    RJ Greene – most schools, likely ALL schools have a resource room to provide services to students with an IEP. Are you really asking “which schools have self contained classrooms where kids receive all academic instruction, I.e. Spend just about the whole day in a separate classroom with kids who also have IEPS?” And which schools have a specialized Cluster Program for students with an ED diagnosis?

  • 454. IEP  |  June 23, 2014 at 2:55 am

    Cps does not provide a list of cluster programs. You’ll have to network and inquire to get this data. They don’t want parents asking for programs that will cots them money to provide to more students.

    You may want to call rod Estavan at access living to see if he is aware of the programs. He is a wealth of information. Also attend the parent forums cps holds and learn from other parents.

    Plus keep asking on this site but know that you won’t get too many responses over the summer.

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  • 458. PE Requirement for IEP H.S. Students?  |  August 18, 2014 at 1:50 pm

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    Did your High School Child get an exemption from the PE requirement for 2013-14 or for 2014-15 via his/her IEP so that child could receive Special Education Support Services (Resource Room)?

    Please respond if you have any knowledge on this topic. Seems like there is some confusion as to whether the exemption means the child can be exempt from taking Health / PE Freshman year if they are getting specialized services and the parent requests that the child be exempt. The CPS policy seems to state so. BUT…

    The accompanying question is: Does exempt mean they don’t have to take it today, but need to complete Health at some point before graduating since it is a State law requirement? For sophomore year, I believe Driver’s ed is a State law requirement. Does the exemption free you from having to ever take Health/Driver’s ed?

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  • 462. PE Requirement for IEP H.S. Students?  |  September 16, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    458. PE Requirement for IEP H.S. Students? | August 18, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    I am answering my own question for those who may be interested.

    Apparently, Luis Rodriguez, the head of the CPS Legal Department, has advised the H.S. Case Managers that basically no one should get a waiver from PE within CPS. So even though the state clearly states that students with an IEP may request a waiver (and that it is pretty much a done deal if PARENT approves a PE waiver), CPS via Luis Rodriguez has taken a stance that only in the rarest (and even then…) would a PE waiver be granted by CPS. Basically, that it won’t be happening.

    This mainly impacts students who need Resource Room and therefore can’t take an elective of their choice that may be in line with their interests, possible job/career, or be the only shining light that makes school bearable.

    Doesn’t make sense, especially in light of how the state wrote up its policy with regards to students with IEPs and the PE waiver. If this is really important to a family, of course you could fight the good fight. I can’t see how they have a leg to stand on when state clearly indicates Parent can drive this decision for students with an IEP.

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