Monday, May 23, 2011
School Bell: Extended School Year?
The purpose of these programs is NOT to help your child catch up. Sad. Also true. I wish there were programs available to help children catch up, but schools generally don't offer them, leaving parents to try to manage the cost of tutoring or coaching. BUT most special education departments recognize that there are some children who take an unusually long time to recoup what is lost over a break.
IF you think this fits your child, how do you qualify?
1. Start NOW for next summer!
2. You have to establish the length of time it takes your child to regroup after a break. This means they need to have some specific skill testing just before school ends. Then they must be tested in the fall to see how much ground they lost over the summer. Finally they have to be watched to see when they are back to their June skill level.
3. Contact your special education department [IN WRITING] to let them know your concerns. Tell them you would like a snapshot test before school ends to use as a measuring tool in the fall. Explain your concern and that you know they cannot offer extended year programming unless the need is documented. The purpose of your contacting them is to get the documentation started by establishing the June benchmark of their achievement. [Note: Your child's teacher can be an ally if they noticed the struggles.]
4. Follow up. Follow Up. Be polite, but follow up in the fall.
Extended year programming is not for everyone, but if your child qualifies and it is available, go for it! It will leave plenty of time for summer fun, but may help the next school begin far more smoothly and successfully. Check it out.
Image credits: thegoldenecho.com, school.discoveryeducation.com