Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Get ready for a Debbie Downer post. Wah waaaahh... (that was the Debbie Downer noise, by the way)

We had some rough CSE meetings today. Two students who have social-emotional and behavioral issues were found ineligible for services by the committee, much to the dismay of their teacher and for one student, parent (the other's parent didn't attend). The decision was based on assessment data and teacher reports that revealed that the students were of low average cognitive ability, but had standardized achievement within an average range. They are benchmark in reading and math and while their grades were not Ivy League, but they were not terrible. This information tells us that, while they have behavior problems that are difficult within the classroom, the issues are not significantly impacting their achievement or grades. Since special education is about providing service to students with educational disabilities, we could not qualify the students because their academics were acceptable.

Enter the firestorm. The teacher was very upset, and I don't blame her in the least. These students are tiring, frustrating, and difficult to manage when they are "off." The teacher is a good teacher who has expended a lot of energy managing her entire class. It was understandable that she was dismayed. The parent of one student was also very upset, because she obviously wants anything to help her child. She is going to appeal our committee's decision at the district level, and we encouraged her to do so.

Thankfully, both students are receiving counseling within the building and are also being seen by outside agencies. Wraparound services are going to be discussed to provide both families with more behavioral help in the house and respite. The two students do not have individual behavior plans and show inconsistent response to the classroom plan the teacher has in place. We're going to set up behavior plans for them, in addition to providing them other supports to help them in the classroom and during testing.

I think the worst part of the whole ordeal was the knowing that the students needed some kind of help, but being unable to provide them with services. True, I wouldn't say that they needed special education, because they did not appear to have educational disabilities, but they have obvious issues that need to be addressed. It was a tough place to be in with a fine line to follow. I felt very unsatisfied and drained after the meetings, like nothing had been accomplished. It's hard to deny a kid who has problems help that they may need, especially when it upsets other key players in the child's life, like the teacher and parent. I would have given these kids the world if my hands were not bound by state and district eligibility requirements and expectations. I'm hoping that through concentrated counseling efforts, behavioral intervention, and medication, if appropriate, we'll start to see the behavior and mental health concerns improve. The situation still stinks though.

Blech. Ick. Ugh.

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