Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A leap of faith

The world of New York City Schools used to be organized geographically. A school was located physically and administratively in a district with neighboring schools.

No more.

For reasons only Bloomberg could begin to explain, the current organization of schools revolves around networks. The workshop leader today asked what network each of us belonged to - I could give the network leader's name but not the number. I wrote it down when she told me.

I have forgotten it already.

But because the network we belong to is based in the Bronx, I got to take two buses, through today's monsoon (presenter's word-not mine) to a workshop in the Bronx.. The good news- ride too long to return to school for the afternoon.

And I got to eat lunch at the Arthur Avenue Market.

I took the picture of the market while perched on the narrow stairway, hesitating to make the final step after shooting the photo. The man waiting to enter encouraged me to, "take a leap of faith."

So what was so important that I had to brave the torrential rains, cross the river and check the Hop Stop directions on the phone, 50 times?

Information on how to write an IEP that meets the state requirements for transition.

Now I wouldn't doubt for a second that that transition for a student with special needs is of the upmost importance. And I wouldn't doubt that a genuinely appropriate IEP for a student with a third grade reading level would address the real vocational as well as academic needs of such student.

And that is why all the exemplars we looked at had programs that offered specific courses for specific interests and training, courses like keyboarding and real math for the real world, cooking and welding.

But this is New York City. Almost everyone at the workshop was from the small high schools- where everyone is "college bound."

Can't subtract without a calculator? No problem, we have high expectations for you so take Algebra II (yeah, yeah so you didn't pass Algebra I - get over it). Want to be beautician, take college bound chemistry- why? See above.

So three hours of transition IEP writing later - I was back into the storm, literally and figuratively.

Will I write IEPs that are genuine and appropriate and meet the transition needs of Kenya and Elma and the like?

I'm gonna have to try. The state might audit us.

I need to take a leap of faith!

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