Friday, October 16, 2009

When Teachers Talk

At Packemin, not only do we deal with our own students, but we have students from some special education school that are deemed capable of taking mainstream classes. While I am fine with this, I have major issues with the way it is done.

Vinnie is one of these kids. He is a student in my geometry class and I adore him. No, I take that back, I love him. He his bright and energetic. He participates well and on the one test he took, he scored 102. Mr. AP is looking to move some kids into an honor class but since I picked up this class so late, I don't feel comfortable moving anyone again. These kids have already had too many changes in a short time. Still, I wanted Vinnie to know how special I think he is so I stopped him in the hall and explained why I didn't want to put him in honor now. He then told me he was repeating the geometry class and when I asked who his teacher was last year, he told me it was Mrs. A. Right away I knew it was an inclusion class and Vinnie was entitled to special test modifications. While he didn't need them for test one, I worried that he might need them for future exams and went to ARIS to look them up. (The special ed supervisor missed the boat when it came to notifying teachers of test modifications--she missed informing me about more than half the kids I teach that have them) and I didn't want Vinnie to suffer.

But, ARIS did not have Vinnie listed as being in my class. I looked at another website our school uses and found the same problem. I got worried that Vinnie was somehow dropped from my class and no one bothered to inform him or me. When I looked at my scan sheets, I saw this was not the problem and went to the APPS to find out the source of his omission. It turns out that because Vinnie is not officially a Packemin student, he is not on our ARIS. There is a teacher in charge of his program that is supposed to add kids like Vinnie and then go around to all of his teachers to introduce herself and Vinnie and make sure all his needs are met. Needless to say, this has not happened.

Vinnie got saved in my class because I like to talk. I talk to kids all the time so I know exactly what is going on with them. I talk to other teachers and teachers like Mrs. A really are great. She informed me of Vinnie's status and some of the problems he might face along the way. Because of her, and my big mouth, Vinnie will succeed this term, at least in my class. I worry about his other classes. Will others be made aware of his issues? Will others help him? The teacher in charge of his program has a total of ten students I am told. I wonder what is keeping her so busy that she cannot follow through and help the ones that need the help the most.

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