Luca technically started FIRST grade is this week! I had a difficult time processing that he turned 6 last week, now I get to process that I have a first grader. What!?!?
Our school district has opted for remote learning until October 30 for all students. However, that’s just not feasible for kids like Luca. He was truly unable to participate in the E-learning program in the Spring and it was a colossal waste of time for us. The teachers and schools were all caught off guard with the pandemic since it was so new and unexpected, so there was no time to plan and figure things out. Who knew that the last day of school in February was really going to the THE last day in the building!? Luca needs hands on, face to face programming in order to succeed. He doesn’t respond well to Zoom or virtual instruction and often eloped or had a massive tantrum when I tried.
We moved to our district specifically for Luca a few years ago. (They are very well known for their education programs for special needs children.) Our taxes are double what they were in old our suburb, but we felt it was worth it to get Luca the assistance he needs. Our other option was private school, so either way, it was going to cost us. Unfortunately, I am beyond disappointed in our school district. This being said, the schools have had all summer to prepare. It’s NOT the teachers or the support staff, it’s the higher ups who don’t see the day to day lives of the kids this is affecting. They are decision makers without an understanding what they are actually deciding.
Don’t get me wrong, I know this a pandemic. However, Illinois is historically a corrupt state and it’s becoming more apparent that the corruption is now blatantly affecting the schools. The blame game is out of control between the principal, the school board, the superintendent and it’s going all the way to the governor. I literally JUST received a “plan” for Luca on Wednesday of this past – you know, the day BEFORE school is supposed to start. That “plan” isn’t even really a plan. They are offering him 1.5 hours of IN SCHOOL learning twice a week. That’s it….3 hours of school a week. Also, he’s by himself in the class during that time. No social interactions for a child who has a GOAL of social interactions in his IEP (Individual Education Plan). That sounds like somewhat of a plan, right? Think again….they can’t confirm WHEN the in person sessions will even start. Seriously, what the heck?! The lack of organization by the district and the blame game with no one being held accountable is appalling. I have one person telling me that state couldn’t afford to bring teachers back early to plan and prepare, another telling me the state received over a billion dollars FOR education and that the governor hasn’t released the funds and then another who just won’t respond to emails. So what I want to know then is WHO is actually making these plans and WHO is responsible thinking that my child only deserves 3 hours of education a week? It’s clearly logged that he is unable to participate in remote learning, so how it’s possible that anyone should ever think that is acceptable is beyond me. I’m mad, I’m frustrated and mostly just sad that once again, kids like Luca are being pushed aside. At the very least, I firmly believe the district should cover the private therapy sessions that I have Luca enrolled in for the fall since the district totally dropped the ball. They are responsible for providing education for all and when the schools cannot provide it, they fund what is necessary for the child to succeed (ex: therapeutic day schools) in terms of academics. Well, Luca falls right into this category of the school not being able to provide and where am I getting? You guessed it: NOWHERE.
All of this aside, Luca has been lucky to have an amazing teacher. She knows what does and doesn’t work for him and had really gone out of her way to try to make the best accommodations given the parameters she has. Unfortunately, she knows just as much as I do. There is little guidance for her from the district and I’m sure she’s had to change her lesson plans a million times over the summer as they adjust plans. She is an awesome person and will always do what she can for Luca. Seriously, she is one in a million and Luca ADORES her. When I say that, I truly mean it. He actually borders on a little obsessive 😉
She really did a great job of putting together some things for Luca to work on while he’s home. I’m hoping that our ABA therapists will be able to incorporate some of this into Luca’s sessions with them.
Stay tuned for updates on the school year!! I hope it only gets better, although I fear that won’t be the case….