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ADHD at Summer School

Now that school’s out for the summer, I can relax about all-things-IEP and other ADHD-at-school worries, right? Wrong!

In the envelope with her end-of-the-year report card, Natalie brought home an official notice that she’s enrolled in the district’s Accelerated Learning Program (ALP)/At Risk summer school session.

Long-time readers of this blog may remember that I was less than thrilled with (nearly apoplectic about) Natalie’s summer school experience last summer.

“This isn’t special ed! She can’t be here!”

I’m angry all over again just thinking about it.

So, instead of relaxing into summer, I’ve been fulfilling my role as Natalie’s advocate. I’ve been working the phones.

My first call was to Valerie Terando, the district’s public relations officer. “Did she by any chance have a negative experience last year?” Val asked.

Liz Jurgensen, Director of Special Education, the recipient of my second call. The summer school program Nat’s attending isn’t Liz’s domain–Natalie’s one of only a few Level 1 Special Ed kids invited to participate in the ALP/At Risk program’s session. But since Liz was the victim of my hysterical, blubbering, mini-breakdown last summer, I’m keeping her in the loop.

Liz referred me to Teresa McCune, the ALP/At Risk program director, who stepped into the position right about this time last year. “One of my first acts in this role was to go with Liz to the school for a meeting with that teacher,” Teresa said.

Teresa is completely revamping the program this summer. No field trips. Writing activities will replace most worksheets. There’ll be “interactive” learning experiences and “unique and interesting” activities. (Mmmm, savor that language!)

Karen Green, the teacher Natalie is assigned to, is a certified special ed teacher, who pursued the opportunity to teach this summer with enthusiasm. And Iowa State University education students will be on hand to work with students in small groups under the teachers’ supervision.

Teachers will attend an orientation before the session starts. They’ll know what the game plan is–the program goals, the expectations. They’ll receive background information about incoming students. They’ll be given copies of IEPs for students who have them.

No more: “This isn’t special ed! She can’t be here!”

No: “If you want the teacher to know Natalie has an IEP, give her a copy yourself.”

Although only time will tell how this plan will play out in reality, I trust Teresa’s intentions. Natalie will know I’m sincere when I reassure her about school; calm her anxiety, address her fears. I can relax into summer, after all.

Hey, Teresa McCune! I just caught you being good!

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