How soon do you approach school?

Posted on: Sat, 08/31/2002 - 12:21pm
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

pCameron won't start Kindg. until next year and I've been reading all the threads and info about the schools, and was wondering how soon should I approach the school he'll attend...I'm worried about our school system being cooperative because the town we live in is very small (3400 students from prek-12th), and it is about as back woods and behind times as you could possibly get. We've only live here a little over 2 yrs. and our county is the type of place if you weren't born raised here your an outsider...Our 1st day of school was Aug. 12th, so it will be around that time next yr. that he starts. I was afraid to start too early for fear they would forget, but after some of the horror stories I've heard here I don't want to chance starting too late either. /p
pI realize this is probably like our comfort zones, but still thought ya'll could give me some advice. /p
pAnother quick quest. who should I start w/the principal, or go straight to the Director of Student Services?/p
pThank you Lana/p
p[This message has been edited by Cam's Mom (edited September 01, 2002).]/p

Posted on: Sat, 08/31/2002 - 1:25pm
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Joined: 02/22/1999 - 09:00

I was also unsure of how soon to appproach a school. And we live in a small town, too. (When it's good, it's really wonderful, but when it's bad, yikes!)
This is my experience: 2 of my children attend a small parochial elementary school. I am there a lot and it is so small, that you can't help but know just about everybody. Their pre-k program is longer (and more expensive) than I am looking for, but they know me and my children and although my pa son is not attending pre-k there, the teacher sent home a note to parents asking them not to send in pb products because Joshua will be joining the class next year as a kindergartener. The pre-k that I did intend to send him to is not familiar with me or my children and I've been trying all summer to get a meeting with the teacher, who mysteriously has not recieved any of the 6 messages I've left for her. When I finally spoke to her, she was defensive, unyielding and difficult. I will not let my son go there now that I've had this ugly experience. So, my advice is, if there is any way that you can get in that school (maybe volunteer for lunch or recess duty?) give them a chance to get to know you and by the time your child attends the school, they will already know a lot about you. They will be more willing to listen to someone they know than someone they don't. I feel lucky that I have 2 older children without pa, so it's been easy for me to become a fixture at the school. Maybe someone else has ideas on how to break in if you don't already have older children attending the school?

Posted on: Sat, 08/31/2002 - 2:05pm
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Hey Dawn,
My non Pa son is in 5th grade and has been in this school system since 3rd, and I'm also very known with his school but the problem here is that K-2 is a different school, and the problem w/volunteering is I have no one to watch my PA son...That's another thread altogether, so I won't go into details (daycares & babysitters, right along w/family)
My SIL works at the high school and previously the elem. school as an aide in the special ed. classes, she had never heard of a 504 plan, but knew of the IEP's, which kind of bothered me, although she is an aide and probably isn't involved in the initial accomadations, etc, she should know of it w/special needs children, because she would be part of the implemation of each child's accomadations, or that was my thought anyway. When I first brought this up to her, she said "there not gonna do all that for him, you might as well home school him...if he has that needle on him and some other kid gets a hold of it,etc, they aren't gonna allow him to carry that shot on him, I can tell you now they have to have it in the nurses office, etc, etc.." this is when I informed her (THANKS TO THIS WONDERFUL BOARD) that he was classified under the ADA as having a disibility and they HAVE to make certain accomadations...Anyway, she said she planned on asking the ESE Director the next time she ran into her about it, b/c she feels that food allergies are very common and she has never seen anyone "running around w/a needle on them..."
Sorry I ran rapid w/that one (she's one of them that's been born and raised here!!!) She might could help w/this, but I'd rather go it alone at first and see where I get, she is one of them do you a favor you owe me type people...And if she doesn't "get it", then she won't be much help in this dept.
I thought of the volunteering too, but kind of impossible right now, but when he starts school, I will be there alot.
And you are right, when the small towns are good, their good, bad really bad....I've always lived in very small towns, this one larger than usual for me and this town is seriously the worst of back woods I've ever seen!
Thanks for your input! Lana

Posted on: Sat, 08/31/2002 - 3:00pm
Dawn's picture
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Joined: 02/22/1999 - 09:00

Well, then, I was no help to you at all. I'm sorry! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/redface.gif[/img]
The whole not-getting-it thing really bothers me. I understand that it's impossible to REALLY understand it unless you are living it, but why does it take so long for some people to "believe" us? Arrrgghhh!
Is the K-2 school small enough physically that it might be possible to let them keep the Epi in the office? This is something I'm wondering about for my son's future school. The school is tiny (8 classrooms) and it would literally be seconds to get the Epi. If they are going to be difficult about it, I might concede. I don't know- just a thought, but totally related to comfort zones and the size of the school.
The "back woods" issue will probably be a toughie, huh? I'll be following this thread with interest. I hope you'll keep us posted on how it all works out.
Be safe,
Dawn

Posted on: Sun, 09/01/2002 - 3:33am
Going Nuts's picture
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Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

Hi Cam's Mom,
I would approach the principal and school nurse by late winter. Know exactly what accomodations you need when you speak to them and if possible, have a verifying note from your allergist.
Good luck!
Amy

Posted on: Sun, 09/01/2002 - 10:43am
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I let our principal know about two years in advance that our son was coming his way with a severe allergy. Last year at this time, we had our first meeting with principal and superintendent, after which I spoke with the Director of Special Education. He was extremely helpful in pointing me in the right direction. My planning started last year, but the school's planning really started last February/March during the registration process. They took my rough draft 504 at that point and sat down and really analyzed it line by line and sought input from all the kindergarten teachers. We've had frequent meetings, phone calls, and emails since that time to nail down our plans.
My feeling is that it is never too early to get started, and they may appreciate the advance warning if you have a very long and detailed 504 like we do.

Posted on: Sun, 09/01/2002 - 10:45pm
Chicago's picture
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Joined: 04/21/2001 - 09:00

While you would need to contact the school administration earlier to set this up, we have had good success with meeting with the teachers/staff in those few days before school begins. They are usally there for about a week before - setting up their rooms and all. That way they are focused on the new year, yet not yet stressed out and busy with actual kids. Also then if any policies, arrangements etc... have changed (such as new table arrangement in the lunch room, new procedures for teacher subs to follow or whatever) they will be aware of that and able to apply PA and its problems to the current environment.

Posted on: Mon, 09/02/2002 - 3:25am
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I, too, started 2 years in advance, with just a phone call. One year ago we started meeting face-to-face. I'm glad we started when we did - it gave those involved plenty of time to really absorb what the allergy was all about. The K teachers even took a class on allergies over the summer, all on their own accord. They are being incredible about the whole thing - I can't say enough good things about how they're handling it.
Good luck to you, and do what will help YOU feel the most comfortable!

Posted on: Mon, 09/02/2002 - 10:29am
Gail W's picture
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Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

My personal opinion is that it is best to have your accommodations in writing-- and that will take time (especially if it is new to them). I would begin now by creating a hard copy file of 504 plans posted on these boards (and contacting others in your area via your allergist, support groups, etc) so that you have many examples of what a written accommodation plan for PA actually looks like. I've regretted not requesting 504 designation before my child started kindergarten, and if I had to do it all over again, I would have written a letter the fall before she was starting K requesting this status. But it has worked out without going this route and (with a lot of frustration, time and effort) we are satisfied with our dd's IHP.
I am happy to share a copy of her IHP with you if you think that would help you.
Gail

Posted on: Mon, 09/02/2002 - 1:13pm
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Thank you all for replying! It has helped me answer my concerns, I too felt I needed to start now.
Dawn, The school is small but not small enough for me to be comfortable him not having his epi in reaching distance at all times, i.e. the playground and lunch room-thats just my own comfort zone. I'll have one in the teachers rooms and the nurses office and one on him and I don't see myself agreeing to anything less. I will definately keep ya'll posted -
Going Nuts, Ryan's Mom, Chicago and Lam: It makes me feel better to know that I wasn't reacting too early-I too felt the earlier they know the better off everyone would be, that way they could be prepared and know that there are going to be changes, plus if they are going to be difficult, I'll know and I'll have plenty of time to get them to "see the light"
Gail I'd love to see how you prepared your dd's IHP...
If I may ask one more question- This school (along w/the 3-5th grades) have "clusters" in which your child has 3 teachers (3 diff. classrooms) these 3 teachers are K, 1st & 2nd grade teachers and your child has those 3 teachers every year, the only differece year to year are their "homeroom" depending on what grade they are in, each teacher teaches a diff. subject. Now they also have the traditional K class where they have one teacher all day long, and then the next year they have another 1st grade teacher and so on. do you think it would be beneficial to have 3 teachers in the way that they'd all "know" him and his allergy or do you think it would create a bigger risk factor? My 5th grader has done this since 3rd and it's been wonderful because we all know each other and they know Dustin(non-pa) and his learning habits, but wonder if w/Cam's allergy if it would be a larger risk...BTW, I had never heard of this type of classroom settings until I moved here. Also Cameron is anaphylatic (sp.), w/first reaction, the first thing effected was his breathing and then started swelling in the face, eyes and throat w/ a few more mins. 2nd reaction was vomitting...He's never had hives, unless the red face is hives, they weren't actual bumps, just his whole face red.
Sorry to make this so long, but feel this decision is as big as any of the other ones I have to make for him and accommadations. And again, I am so greatful for all of your inputs, I atleast know that I'm not overeacting by wanting to start "too early".
Thanks again to EVERYONE!!!
Lana

Posted on: Wed, 09/04/2002 - 4:50am
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Joined: 09/03/2002 - 09:00

Lana (Cams Mom),
My daughter and I are one of the lucky ones. Emily will start Kindergarten next year. She will be going to the school my Mom works at. In the same school district I went to. Being taught by the some of the same Teachers that taught me. And others that I babysat for and/or became friends with.
The Office Staff and Nurse are aware of Emilys allergy. Most of the Teachers know also. We are already starting to figure out how to approach Emilys allergy. There are some PA kids in the District already. One severe child at another school in the District.
I guess what I am trying to say is this... Start now, go about it slowly. Try not to worry about it too much. I struggle all the time not to make this allergy take over my life. I tend to worry to much. Sometimes I just have to let go and put it in Gods hands. Then I can take care of what I can control.
Good Luck!

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