10 Tips for Parents & Schools:
Ending the School Year - Thankfully

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June 03, 2008

ISSN: 1538-3202

Issue: 442
Subscribers: 62,573

In This Issue:

10 Tips for Ending the School Year

10 Tips for Avoiding Confrontation

Prevent Burnout: Spread the Cheer

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Ask the Advocate

ATTN! VA Parents
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Pete and Pam Wright
Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate
P. O. Box 1008
Deltaville, VA 23043



Copyright 2008, Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright. All rights reserved. Please do NOT reprint or host on your website without explicit permission.

It's hard to believe that summer is just around the corner. Kids are saying goodbye to their teachers and classmates as schools across the nation prepare for the final days of the year.

In this issue of the Special Ed Advocate, you'll find 10 great Tips for Parents that will help you wrap up the school year and prepare your child for a transition next year. You'll also find "Do's and Don'ts" the IEP Team can use to avoid confrontation and to encourage and inspire members of the team.

Please don't hesitate to forward this issue to other families, friends, and colleagues.

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10 Tips for Ending the School Year

Did your child have a great school year? Did your child make progress this year? Will your child make a major transition next year?

Here are some great tips for wrapping up the school year, reviewing your child's program and services, and steps you can take to plan for a successful year next fall.

Pat Howey, an advocate who has helped parents obtain special education services and resolve special education disputes, provides 10 Tips for Ending the School Year.

Read more of Pat's answers to questions submitted by people just like you in Wrightslaw's Ask the Advocate section.

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10 Tips for Avoiding Confrontation

Find 10 Tips to encourage and inspire members of the IEP Team for more effective and efficient meetings.

Did the IEP Team cave to the "floodgate mentality" during meetings this year? Were all team members treated equally, their input valued? Did the paperwork process overwhelm the focus on the unique needs of the child?

Read 10 Tips for Schools for Avoiding Confrontation with Parents. You'll find helpful strategies for productive team meetings.

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Prevent Burnout: Spread the Cheer!

"Having discovered how much it cheers and reinvigorates me when I get thank you notes from clients or others I've helped, I've started a campaign to spread the cheer. It takes just a few minutes of time and ..."

Read Preventing Burnout in the People Who Help Us. Special Needs Educational Advisor, Meredith Warshaw explains there are many people working in the system who help you and your kids and we need to do what we can to give them positve feedback. Help keep them energized and prevent them from burning out.

Ending the School Year Tip #5: Say "thank-you" to those who helped. Good advice. Take heed.

Take the time to say thank you to those who helped during the year -a wonderful teacher, a positive counselor, a helpful classroom aide, or a thoughtful bus driver.

If you only have 2 minutes, just write a quick "thanks". However, if you have a little more time..

Read more good tips about Preventing Burnout in the People Who Help Us.

Learn more about letter-writing.

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Need Help? Check the Wrightslaw Helpline

Have you checked the Community Helpline on the Wrightslaw Way Blog lately?

Lots of people are asking and answering questions. You'll find information sharing, resources, and new perspectives on creative solutions for problem solving.

Tips: How to keep things from getting confontational

JSL asks: "What do you do when the school won’t respond. I am helping a parent who wrote a letter rejecting the child’s 504 plan. The Sped director told her she could not do that because a 504 was not an IEP. The mom called back and corrected her and informed her that procedural safeguards apply to 504s as well. Now the sped director is not returning her calls and her request for a meeting. What do you do when they are being so passive aggressive. I love all your tips in From Emotions to Advocacy on how to keep things from getting confrontational but when they do something like this it is like they are begging you to get angry. Any suggestions?"

Pam responds: "You say the mother wrote a letter rejecting the 504 plan. The principal said she couldn’t reject the 504 plan because it’s different from an IEP. Your friend called the principal to correct her. She has continued to call but the principal won’t return her calls.

Does the mother have a paper trail? Did she write a letter documenting what the principal told her? Did she write a letter about her call to the principal and the response? Has she written letters to request a meeting to revise the 504 Plan? From your post, it sounds like most of these things are being communicated orally. As Pete says, “An oral contract isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.” Putting concerns and incidents in writing makes it far more likely that they will be dealt with."

Chuck adds: "The procedural safeguards are different between IDEA & Section 504. Schools can, but are not required to have parents participate in determining eligibility for 504 & developing the 504 plan. The school is also not required to hold a meeting at the parent’s request. The parent can request a hearing, but the hearing officer is selected by the district, not the state.
There is a good article on Section 504 by SchwabLearning. LD Online also has a good article on the differences between Section 504 & IDEA.
You can still try to find someone who is open to your concerns & try to get them help you work through the system & the roadblocks you are dealing with. Good luck."

Other Helpline Topics:

  • Chronic Health Issues
  • School Policy
  • IEP Team Members
  • Manifestation v. Behavioral Choices
  • and many more
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