Friday, May 23, 2008

Talking to a Brick Wall

Because I'm still so upset over this same old continuous bullshit that we keep getting from the school, and I'm just too muddled to put the words down to explain what's going on again, I'm just going to post the letter I wrote to the school Principal yesterday about the matter. It explains it all.

Dear Mr. xxxxx,

At the beginning of the school year I included all relevant information I felt Zach's teachers would need in regard to his ADHD diagnosis when I filled out his paperwork, and I also sent an email to each of his teachers to inform them of the problems he might have. His ADHD effects his working memory, organizational skills, causes poor self-control, causes him to be over-responsive in many situations. He's easily frustrated which leads to him acting out and lying just so he'll be left alone for awhile, has poor use of self-talk, poor recall of the past, and poor future planning skills. It also takes him much (sometimes hours) longer to complete a task properly that it should under normal circumstances. But he can, and does, complete the tasks when I can stay informed and on top of what's going on in his classes. Many of these problems are controlled somewhat by the medications he is currently taking.

Last week( around May 14th) I received a note from Zach's spelling teacher telling me that, because he had not be completing and turning in his homework, he had an F in her class. Upon receipt of his 5 week report, which was supposed to have been prepared and issued a few days after April 18th, but was not actually sent out until April 30th, I knew he had a 69-D in this class, which came from an average of only 4 grades (2 A's and 1 B) but one grade was a zero because he had not completed his homework on one occasion.

He got in trouble for the D, I told him he had 5 weeks to make it up and that he'd better get busy. I stressed to him that there is no excuse for having a bad grade because he didn't do his homework, homework is like getting a good grade for free in each of his subjects when he completes it. He thought, still does to some degree, that all he had to do was make another 100 on a test and he'd have an A, he does not understand the grading process even though I've tried to explain it to him.

I am upset that I wasn't notified prior to last week that he was continuing to not turn in his homework in spelling. I sent each of his teachers an email on Jan. 24, 2008 asking them if he was turning in his homework because he wasn't bringing much home and when I asked him, he'd tell me he'd done it in class. His homeroom teacher is the only one who replied. I am also upset because Spelling is one of his best subjects and I feel this teacher, any teacher, should feel concern when an A/B student suddenly falls to a D or an F and I have to wonder why she wouldn't feel compelled to notify me earlier than she did.

I really feel as though the school is bound and determined not to aid us in any way to help Zachary do his very best in school due to the information I've received from you during conferences. There is nothing wrong with his intelligence but he does have a disability that makes it much more difficult for him to process the information and have the organizational skills to complete all needed tasks and educational skills needed without help and understanding. I do not feel that your administration and staff have been properly educated about what to expect and how to cope with children who have ADD/ADHD and that there are other students, and parents, in this district who are trying to cope with this disability who are being labeled as problems, or bad parents, unfairly because of this lack of education and understanding.

I do not intend to stop asking for help or doing whatever I can to see that Zach excels at the best of his ability. I will be working on resolution to what I feel is a big problem all summer.

Sincerely,

Brenda




Zach's other 3 teachers have helped a lot this year by keeping me up with what's going on with him. Because I told them I have to try to stay ahead of what he's doing, they've let me know as soon as they can when he's not keeping up with his work, or becoming too distracted (this led to an increase in his meds in December). They post homework assignments on their websites and pretty much keep the grades posted on the online pinnacle site (they do get behind with this a lot) that I check at least once or twice a week. His Math teacher and his homeroom/Science/Social Studies teacher both sit him in front, close to their desks and do all they can to keep him focused during class. One of his teachers even loaned me additional text books when she'd found out that I purchase his Math text every year so I can bone up on what he's doing in Math. This was a TREMENDOUS help because even when he remembers that he has homework, or bothers to tell me he does, there are times when he forgets the book he needs in order to do it.

This summer, after the 6'5" troll of a Superintendent that we have retires, I'm going to send a letter and all relevant diagnosis reports to request that the school give him an evaluation for Section 504 which is part of the Americans with Disabilities Act. There is no guarantee that the school will do this but perhaps it will get their attention (at the very least take up some of their valuable time) and there are always appeals and higher authorities if they don't.

10 comments:

Sally said...

I can sure see what got your dander up. That teacher was withholding important information from you, and I can't help but wonder "does she not CARE about her students?" I fear this is happening more and more these days. However, it is GOOD the other teachers are keeping in touch with you.

School has changed so much over the years, as you've come to learn with the math for one example. I wish you the best Ms. Brenda in getting that precious Zach the help he needs so that he doesn't fall through the cracks.

I hope you'll let us know when (if) you get a reply to that letter you sent. Good luck. Try and have a nice weekend, 'kay? (HUGS)

Donna said...

Oh Girl!! You're doing everything you possibly can to help Zach!! Don't beat yourself up over all this...I see Wonderful things in store for him!!! You're Wonderful!! Go to one of the schools Board meetings, or scream for the Administrator of schools!! Nothing? Threaten them with contacting your local congressman!! That Always brings results here!! Wish I could help sweetie!!!!!!hughugs

Phyllis said...

God Bless you sweet friend!!
There are so many kids that have been pushed aside and forgotten, called dummies, yelled at by moms & dads, teachers and others.
God Bless you! In my adult life I recognize that I have had a form of adhd all my life. I'll tell you what though, I made a damned good bartender!
I remember the frustrations sitting in class and not "getting" it. Whew, I don't know how I passed, but I did.
A good site is http://www.imtyler.org/
What a difference a person can make in a disabled kids life!!
You go, girl!!

bichonpawz said...

Thank God for grandparents like you who really CARE about their kids and pay attention to what they are going through in the schools today. I hope that your letter will have some effect on Zach's teachers and the administration at the school. I think sometimes they think it's just easier to just blame the kids and label them as troublemakers. Good for you Brenda!!! Hang in there...it will be worth it in the end. Try to have a good holiday weekend!!!

jazzi said...

Brenda, when you start talking 504, they should start listening if they have any sense at all. I looked to see if there was a C.H.A.D.D. group (CHildren and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivy Disorder) in your area that might give you some information, but there isn't. Here's the CHADD website, they might have info that would be useful: http://www.chadd.org/. I helped start a CHADD group a long time ago, when Mitch was diagnosed.
If you can find an advocate, that would be a great help to you.
Does Zach have an I.E.P.? If you have IEP meetings, you can make audio tapes of those meetings. They won't like it one bit, but that's tough. Tell them you want to make sure you remember all the information, and you can't write it all down.
Can you tell this pisses me off? I actually took an advocacy training class so I could deal with the all the shenanigans we had to go through when Mitch was going through school.
I'm sorry you have to deal with this crap. I had hoped the school system would have gotten better with time. I see it hasn't.

Cindra said...

In most school systems you would not have to be the one with the burden of keeping all his records. They should have all of that plus a plan of action of how the teacher is supposed to be working with the student. They usually pull those students out for a little extra help. Zach should be one of those students getting the extra help. It is ridiculous to be failing with only three grades when one is an A and another a B. I am pulling out my hair right beside you!!!

Anonymous said...

Brenda,

There is a law called "No Child left Behind" that the school is not following. There is a group of people who will help you make the school follow that law if need be. If the school cannot do what they are suppose to do to help Zack learn, you can put him into a private school that can and Barton will have to foot the bill. If you let the school know that you are aware of this, they will bend over backwards to do what they should have in the first place. If you have anymore problems, call me and I'll get you the information you need. It is a fed law, not a state too.

Love you,
Paula Sue

AndiePandie said...

Oh wow Brenda. I'm so sorry. I understand your frustration. Email is easy, there's no reason why you are not kept in the loop.

Crystal said...

Good for you Brenda! Stay on top of it and I bet you'll get the notice that Zach needs!! And all the others that need it as well.

I had problems with Sam's teachers as well not really caring about the grades she was making. None of her teachers voluntarily let me know at any point when Sam was doing poorly until I started raising all sorts of hell about it. Why does that fall upon us? We're made to be the unruley parents or the difficult parents just because we're concerned? Damn straight. Label my ass whatever you want to but my kid will get the help she needs...even if I have to act a fool;o) You go girl!

CJ said...

Keep on bitchin', if you feel that's what you're doing. Every child has a right to an education and unless there are people like you that take names and kick ass to get it done, there will be less and less children getting a diploma.

Seems "some" teachers think all they have to do is sit in front of the class and "act" like they are God's gift to society and be damned about the kids they are SUPPOSED to be teaching! It's becoming more and more about a paycheck and less and less about teaching children the value of an education.

Go get 'em Brenda and if you need help to kick some ass... well I think your viewing audience here will be ready with big boots on. :) luv ya!