Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Kindergarten Update! - August 28, 2013

As some families are slowly starting to realize summer is ending, our school year is now in full swing and we're nearly through the first six weeks! We actually have our first weeklong break just around the corner.

Things have been interesting as the school finds its footing with my kid and she with the school. There have been multiple staff changes - nobody's fault, but one person apparently gave notice early on in the year and there was a scramble to replace her. So my kid has had three different parapros helping her - and while she's a very resilient girl, it still has been a bit disruptive to her and to her classmates (the parapros are supporting the entire class, but my kid has been getting extra help when they go from room to room). The first was lovely but a bit hovery. The second tried really hard but I think she was in over her head.

Now we have someone in place who seems great - she's been in the school since day one and has been assigned to spend more time with my kid. I really hope that the consistency going forward will bring some sort of calmness. So far, my kid has been pushing boundaries and pushing buttons, acting out and bringing back some of her old behaviors, but this parapro has handled it calmly and with understanding. Here's hoping.

Standardized testing has begun - in fact, as of this writing, I think she might already be done. Yes. Standardized testing in kindergarten. It's just to find a baseline for her, and she will retake the test twice more to ensure that progress is being made. All of the kids in the entire school system do this. And while I see the data as being very useful, I still wish it could be collected in a more organic way. But I am not stressing too much over it - she will do whatever she does and get whatever scores and we'll use those numbers as a starting point. I know she can read - she even willingly demonstrated her letter recognition to her teacher during an assessment, so that's good. I know she absorbs everything around her. So...standardized testing? Eh. We do what we have to do. They did set her up for success, allowing her to use her talker and a touch screen during the testing. But if she has low scores, it's up to the teachers and staff to bring them up next time, right?

And we've already had one awesome IEP update - in a meeting with the special education teacher and the speech therapist, the SLP announced that my kid needed more speech therapy and added more time to her IEP right then and there. Yes, you're hearing me right - I didn't say anything, I didn't have to fight or argue, I just sat there and thanked the therapist. Also I really liked the therapist's approach - in part, she noted how even if my kid can't make certain sounds in the middle of words (yet), she needs to know she should for literacy purposes. She needs to know that there's a "p" sound in the middle of "apple," for example, because the letter "P" is there. It was a great look at speech in context. I loved it.

So the first six weeks have been bumpy but not terrible. And what do I hear over and over? "She's so sweet, so smart, so lovely." She has friends who love her. The teachers do seem to get her. The inclusion teacher still needs to figure out what inclusion means to her, and I feel like she needs to stop saying "This is new to me" over and over - yes, it's new, it's new to all of us (which is how I respond). But she has a lot of love and I'm trying to stay positive.

So that's our first update. It will be interesting to see the test scores, to see how my kid does on the first days back from break, how the year progresses. Stay tuned!

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