Monday, October 5, 2009

School Daze

Well, I spoke too soon on my last blog post. The school situation lasted exactly 2 days—yes 2 days. The school that was to work perfectly for David turned out to not be so perfect after all. The problem is David has some rough edges, but is not a tough kid. In fact he is very immature for his age. So when he got to a school that held 18-year-olds that have spent most of their lives fending for themselves, we all began to worry about his safety. The school recognized this the first day so they made some changes on the second day and found they could not give him the safe environment that he would need. So we were back to Square One.

We were then set up to check out another school setting within the district. On first look we had some major concerns, but during and after the meeting we knew this was not the setting that David would succeed in. Some of my concerns dealt with issues that I could not use to keep David from attending this school. One of those issues was the very liberal bent of the teachers. Since it is a small school they don’t have P.E. every day, but one of the days they did have it they picked up trash at the park and when they got back to school they sorted through it to create “art” work about how we are destroying the earth. This is not what I would consider Physical Education. The teacher whose class David would be in didn’t seem thrilled at the prospect of David being there. This, again, I could not use as a reason to keep him from attending there. So at 4:00 am I was on the Virginia Department of Education website to research a way to keep David from attending.

Our front door
The first line of defense was a safety issue. The school is on Main Street and just a few feet from a road that has traffic speeding by all day. The school is set in an old home that is need of repair—the railings on the front porch can’t be leaned on because they are so loose. There is about a five-foot drop from the porch.

My second reason was the educational aspect of the school. No true Physical Education course means no diploma. Also the school hours were 9:00 to 3:00, however due to busing issues the students are picked up between 1:30 and 2:00 which is shorter than the hours required by the Virginia Department of Education. This school also takes one extra Teacher Work Day a month, which means the students are not able to attend the amount of days required by the state.

When I mentioned all these issues with the head of special education it became obvious that something very individualized would need to be done for David. So the request for a one-on-one behavioral specialist that was denied originally—“that is not an option”—would now be requested by the school. David would get a one-on-one and return back into the original high school he began the school year at!

But, as you can imagine this process has taken quite a bit of time and wrangling. So, for the last three weeks David has been attending the second of the three schools after school hours for two hours a day. That meant I was chauffeuring him back and forth each day and he was home for the majority of the day. We have also been in meetings almost daily with a variety of county workers.

Milkman doorbell (outside of door)
This morning we were up bright and early to have another meeting before school began. This meeting was attended by his new one-on-one and David’s school schedule was adjusted to give him a truly individualized school plan. He will attend History in a classroom setting. He will then have P.E. every day (to meet those VA Dept. of Ed. requirements) with a small class. He will have a Life Skills class (they are teaching budgeting right now) and for his math class he will work with a computer teacher and his one-on-one and will be taught on the computer. David works well on the computer and finds it much more quick-paced and enjoys the challange. We have even worked out him joining a club or two during the half hour he gets to school before classes begin (flex time).

We are very happy that we were able to work out all these issues and finally get David back to school. David was more than ready to go back to school and likes his one-on-one.

Milkman doorbell (inside of door)
During all this we had a bit of a health scare for David when I found a lump in his left breast. Since we don’t know a lot of his birth parents’ medical history we were a bit concerned. We had him checked out and though we must watch for any changes we are told it’s not uncommon at his age to develop this.

I promised to show you our new home and haven’t forgotten, I just haven’t gotten any work done lately with David home and all the meetings and paperwork we have done. But I thought I would share a glimpse of our “milkman’s doorbell” from our side porch. It has the sound of an old-fashioned bike bell. Also our front door has so much character that I just love it. We have decorated our front porch with pumpkins and garlands of fall leaves. We even had someone stop in the street in front of our house the other day to get a good look at it.

We have not found a church yet, though we have visited a couple. But we are not in any hurry to commit to one church. We are checking out the options and waiting to see where God would have us to become a part of.


rita said...

Reading what you've been through makes me tired. You have an amazing amount of energy. God has certainly given David to the right parents!

Art out of garbage to teach a lesson AND call it a P.E. session. That's too far out for me.

I'm praying that you are in for a period of deserved relative rest.
p.s. we are home now.

Kim said...

I am glad you are home safely. How was your trip? I have checked out your blog and saw you last in Mass.
After one week of school David has put his one-on-one through his paces and his teacher seems willing to make adjustments to make it work in the classroom. She is a tough cookie, which David needs!
Tomorrow we head for a local festival, the "Festival of Leaves."