Making Sure Our Plan Is Put Into Action

In prior posts I shared 2 essential understandings I employ when advocating for my children, specifically…

  1. I am my child’s most valuable Child Study Team member, and the “expert” when it comes to each of them.
  2. I must dream the biggest of dreams for my children and help establish each of their “master” or “forever” plans which are to be used to identify key benchmarks/mile markers that then drive the construction of their IEPs.

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It took me years to recognize the power that can be achieved when this two understandings exist in a synergistic state. Initially my husband and I set out to put our “master” plan to work for our daughter Jordynn we did so through discussion with her Child Study Team the summer before she started middle school.  It was a positive experience and set the stage for programming that garnered significant gains for Jordynn. We really felt things were on the right path.

Unfortunately the next school year brought with it personnel changes and transfers within the district which resulted in a deterioration of the plans integrity as all of the faces of Jordynn’s Child Study Team changed and failed to accept their role in supporting the plan.  As it stands my husband and I are still working to reset things on their proper path for Jordynn. We are hopeful that we will be able to do so, even with the set-backs she experienced last school year.

Learning from this experience my husband came up with the idea of memorializing the plan in writing within the girls’ IEP. He posit by doing so everyone involved with implementing Jordynn and Jocelynn’s programming would be introduced to the overarching goals we have for each of them with fidelity and to help them recognize the role they play in achieving it.

Recently I shared the statement my husband and I authored with another parent who encouraged me to share it with others.  As a result I have included the overarching goals we put together for Jocelynn below, as well as the 3 year action plan designed to accomplish those goals during her tenure in middle school. From these overarching goals and the action plan Jocelynn’s IEP goals and objectives were designed to bring about those ends.

About three weeks before the new school year was to start I sat down with Jocelynn and reviewed the plan with her interjecting terminology she could understand. The plan made for a great spring-board for our discussion and lead into her thinking about her future plans and what take-aways we had established from middle school. From this exercise Jocelynn really began to take ownership of the plan’s content and eagerly looked for parts of the plan she could facilitate on her own which made me very proud.

While I wish we had thought to do this earlier for the girls’ I find reassurance in a quote from Arnold Bennett I listed in my previous blog about new beginnings. According to my interpretation of the quote…because you can’t waste time in advance make use of the fresh start you have in front of you, there is always opportunity to do it better and that is what is of greatest importance. I hope you find what I have shared with you informative and encouraging. I welcome your feedback as well.

At the conclusion of 8th grade it is the expectation that Jocelynn will be completely mainstream for all of her classes, and accepted into one or more of the high school district’s learning centers/academies and/or the county vocation school district programs. During her tenure at middle Jocelynn will capitalize on the wide range of resources and opportunities to be successful and well-rounded. This includes Jocelynn’s participation in clubs and sports, as well as volunteering to the school community.

Jocelynn will appropriately interact with her peers, teachers and the school administrators forming meaningful relationships. She will successfully navigate conflict independently and appropriately advocate for herself.

Jocelynn will be a “self-starter” able to set goals for herself, identify what is needed to accomplish them (i.e. benchmarks), and self-evaluate where she is at along the process.

Each goal in Jocelynn’s IEP should keep in mind these desired outcomes and represent a continuum of growth to achieve these ends.

Action Plan:

Grade 6:

  • Course Selection (Note: GE = General Education/Mainstream class, and ICRS = In-class Support/Team-Taught class):
    • ICRS Language Arts
    • GE Mathematics – Accelerated (with the assistance of Teacher Assistant)
    • GE Social Studies and Science
    • GE Art
  • Research high school learning center and academy offerings, as well as county vocational programming, including expectations for admission to each program
  • Audit specialized district and county vocational program eligibility alignment at the time of grade 7 course registration
  • Participate in a travel sport
  • Participate in at least 1 full year club (or 2 semester clubs) as a member, perhaps running for office
  • Volunteer at a minimum of 1 activity or community event

Grade 7:

  • Course Selection (Note: GE = General Education/Mainstream class):
    • GE Language Arts
    • GE Mathematics – Accelerated (independently or with the assistance of Teacher Assistant)
    • GE Social Studies and Science
    • GE Art
  • Explore specific high school learning centers and academies and/or county vocational programs of interest
  • Audit specialized district and county vocational program eligibility alignment at the time of grade 8 course registration
  • Participate in a travel sport
  • Participate in at least 2 full year clubs, or 2 semester clubs and a school sport/drama production running/holding office in at least 1 organization
  • Volunteer at a minimum of 2 activities or community events

Grade 8:

  • Course Selection (Note: GE = General Education/Mainstream class):
    • GE Language Arts
    • GE Mathematics – Algebra I
    • GE Social Studies and Science
    • GE Art
  • Apply to high school learning centers and academies and/or county vocational programs gaining admission in at least 2.
  • Participate in at least 2 full year clubs, or 2 semester clubs and a school sport/drama production running/holding office in at least 1
  • Participate in a travel sport
  • Volunteer at a minimum of 2 activities or community events

 

Also of important note, I’d like to share that we built into Jocelynn’s IEP benchmark review periods.  Given the significant transition from elementary school to middle school we have the markers set at 6-8 week intervals throughout the school year. In fact we requested the meeting dates and times at the very start of the school year so that all parties could build the meetings into their calendars (another lesson from our past experiences). Some of our meetings are held in person, while others are held via phone conference.  During these meetings the vision plan will serve as a central element to discussion held, progress reviewed, and future plans set.

I am happy to share that the plan is well underway. Jocelynn is currently on a travel team for soccer, she will be performing in a community production of The Wiz in January, and she is scheduled to volunteer at a local senior center and area soup kitchen for the holiday season. In addition she is gaining her bearings as a middle school student and becoming more self-confident and independent with each passing day.

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About ShaeBrie Dow

Life-long learner, mother, wife, educator. Dedicated to leaving the world a better place than I found it.
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2 Responses to Making Sure Our Plan Is Put Into Action

  1. Lisa Hall says:

    Thank you for posting this Shae-Brie! I wanted to take notes when we were speaking the other night! This helps. As you mentioned this information could be used for all children!!!

    Like

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