Friday, June 21, 2013

School District Frustration: Please Help

Hello Fellow Educators,

I find myself in a bit of a predicament for the upcoming school year and I am putting myself out here to see if others have gone through similar situations and have any advice.

As we all know, not every school fits every child. My son is an amazing high school boy. He happens to be a very high functioning, mildly Asperger child who has never had to have an IEP, 504 plan, or any type of accommodations made for his school career. 

 I have almost always been extremely choosy about what type of school he attended. In his 8th grade year, he attended an amazing middle school that was mostly a parent-participation charter school. He loved it, had friends, and did well overall. The following year, people from that charter school opened a charter high school with 9th and 10th grade students. Only 44 families participated and the school did not grow. 

I attended the first board meeting and asked about whether or not the school would be going through the WASC accreditation. I was assured that our school which lies in the San Jose Unified School District was going to be given something called "preliminary accreditation" and have the three years to finalize their accreditation.

In March of the same school year, parents were told that the school would no longer be viable, due to lack of enrollment and attrition. Parents were furious that it wasn't made more obvious sooner that the school was in trouble and they formed a task force to raise funds and awareness about what the school had to offer and the board voted to extend the time period in which they decided to close the school. In fact, based on how hard the parents worked, they actually did this twice. It was decided in May that the school would close.

Now, in the thick of summer, we find ourselves caught in a game. We are told that the San Jose Unified School District will accept the credits by our students. However, because we don't live in their district, we are put on the 3rd wait list for those schools. Our own home district refuses to accept even 1 credit because the charter school was not yet accredited. We are forced to put our students into "credit recovery" summer classes in our own school district now in case those wait lists don't pan out and we have to attend our own school. We are being reminded by those people that are "helping" us that they did not plan on having to help us this summer and that they are having to put themselves out to even come up with any type of plan because we made "a bad choice". I have even gone as far as asking if I can just have my child repeat the freshman year in the district and was told that he can not. He has to spend the next three years doing summer credit recovery and will probably have to also do some evening classes as well just to make up enough credits. How is he supposed to have time to study for his day classes?

I contacted the Santa Clara County Office of Education who told me they have absolutely no jurisdiction to help us because the Campbell Union High School District policy states as such: Transfers from Non-Accredited Schools: "When a student transfers from any non-accredited private, public, alternative, home or charter school, academic credit shall be subject to approval by the principal or designee at the enrolling school. Credits transferred from non-accredited schools shall not be accepted." I told them that this paragraph contradicts itself within itself and basically allows both the district and the department to not have to do anything for us.

I am now attempting to contact the district Superintendent...which I fear will give me the same run-around.

If anyone out there has any constructive ideas (please no derogatory rants), I would so appreciate any help with advice.

Sincerely,
Christina

Monday, June 10, 2013

Father's Day Card Freebie



Students shared reasons they love their father with me. They were then encouraged to write those reasons out on "sloppy copy" (kindergarten writing paper). Some of them felt they couldn't do this. I just encouraged them to do their best to sound things out, ask peers for help, and remember to use finger spacing and punctuation. The results were even better than I expected. By giving them the freedom of the sloppy copy paper, they felt they could take risks, knowing it wasn't the final copy yet. I then had them have a peer edit their paper to see if they could get closer to the way the words were supposed to spell. This gave the peers a way to exercise what they have learned about spelling and phonics mechanics. The final edit was done in a one-on-one conference with me at my desk. In instances where I felt the children really could spell some of the words they missed, I asked them open-ended questions about their writing and they were able to self-correct some of their own mistakes. I then did a final edit in a thick, pink marker so that they could differentiate it from their original writing. They then rewrote the final draft onto their tie and shirt template . I then cut out 9 inch circles and had the students design their father's face. They were encouraged to think about what color eyes and hair their father has. They then glued the head to the shirt and the resulting replication of their father to a folder 12x9 paper. Inside the card, they wrote a nice Happy Father's Day message to their father. It was wonderful to see what each of them wrote for reasons they love their father on the front of his tie. They loved making this project and I know the fathers will love receiving these. The template does have a blank and another option for children who do not have a father or live with their father. 

Enjoy!


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