The Wrightslaw Way

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“Sorry. We Can’t Find a Certified Teacher for ESY.” Now what?

08/08/13
by Leeanne Seaver

My son is deaf and has a deaf ed certified teacher during the year. This is stated in his IEP. He started ESY last week.

The school said it could not find a deaf ed teacher for ESY this summer. What can I do as a parent to make sure that they use a qualified teacher who will follow his IEP?

Kudos to you, mom, for not taking the summer off from advocating for your son’s needs!

The first question to ask your school is what attempts have been made to find a teacher-of-the-deaf (ToD) for ESY?

All too often, the (usually unstated) answer is that the school hasn’t actually tried to find a qualified individual.

Schools often build their summer school staff from teachers who want the extra bucks for the light-load of ESY teaching.

It’s uncommon to find a school that plans for ESY based on the needs of the students themselves.

So start asking, in writing, the standard Wrightslaw 5-W’s + H+ E questions.

What? When? Who? Where? Why? + How? + Explain

In our training programs, we emphasize the importance of keeping your emotions under control and treating others politely, regardless how nasty someone may be acting.

You must always play the role of Ms. Manners (who merged with Peter Columbo) and ask lots of “5 W’s + H + E questions” (who, what, when, where, why, how, explain).

When you are focused and polite, school staff begin to view you differently. You are now Ms. Manners with a touch of Mother Theresa.  (Cry for Help or Reality Check?)

Get a Written Response from the School

Politely ask the school to explain their answers to your questions in a written response.

This will show whether the school has indeed made a good faith effort to find a certified ToD. And, you will have documentation of what happened.

It’s certainly appropriate to ask your son’s regular ToD if she was recruited for ESY.

That would shed additional light on the subject.

Next Steps

If the school’s demonstrated attempts have been unsuccessful, ask what is available in the neighboring district or reasonably reached region.

The possibility of the school transporting your son to an ESY opportunity staffed by a qualified ToD must be considered since it is on his IEP.

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