My daughter has been in Special Ed since third grade. Well technically, since second grade when she was in the Resource Specialist Program at our local elementary school in Southern California. Since needing more supports, first in a Special Day Class on a General Education campus and eventually at a special school for students who need even more supports, I have never been made to feel welcome in her classroom. Never once have parent volunteer slips been sent home. I've always accepted this at face value.
Recently, it's started to become more of a problem. My daughter's school is having an Open House/ BBQ that parents are invited to attend. Unfortunately, it falls on a day when my daughter will be at a very important doctor's appointment that we have been waiting for months for. It cannot be rescheduled. I thought I had the perfect solution, attend the class party celebrating the class's completion of a virtual trip around the world. Parents were asked to contribute potluck dishes from countries that were visited. The email invitation did not specify whether or not parents could attend, so I asked the classroom teacher. I actually had to ask twice. Eventually, I was told that because the party fell during school hours, parents were not to attend. Makes no sense to me. Especially, since the Open House/ BBQ is during regular school hours. My daughter's school even holds an annual Thanksgiving Feast during school hours. Parents are invited to both of these events.
So why is it that parents of gen ed students are welcome in their child's classroom, but not if that same child is in an SDC class or at a special education school? I've heard that schools/ districts do this for privacy reasons (FERPA/HIPPA), however as a former classroom teacher, I know that even General Education teachers are not allowed to divulge private information yet parents are welcome to volunteer in the classroom.
I've also heard the excuse that students do better when their parents are not in the classroom. Here's the thing though. Shouldn't I be given the opportunity to at least volunteer? Then I can decide for myself if I want to continue doing so. I haven't even been asked to volunteer in the office. Heck, I'd be happy to make copies occasionally. However, when it is convenient for the school i.e. they need my support with a field trip, then all of a sudden the volunteer gates are open. I call that a double standard.
Honestly, when things are kept under a veil of secrecy one can't help but to wonder what the big secret is. I'm all for transparency. Thankfully, our school district has scheduled one more IEP, on the last day no less. When they ask for parent input, I'm going to ask to see a copy of the school's policy regarding parent observations. It will be interesting to see what the school and district's response is. Stay tuned.
What are your thoughts on this? Experiences? Any insights would be appreciated.
I'd love to know what this little cutie is up to during the school day.
Wouldn't you, if she were your child?