Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Honor roll

Akila has made the honor roll for the first time ever. Wahoooooo!!!!! I can't even tell you how excited I am for her. She was very proud of herself, and that is so important. The other 3 kids have made the honor roll (our elementary even does honor roll) and Akila never has, and this has bothered her. We have told her numerous times that she has made the honor roll from our perspective, as her grades have always been amazingly good. But this time, she will get to go to the honor roll celebration. We will be there with flags, posters, balloons. OK, we won't go overboard, but it is possible she will never make it again.

This accomplishment, is one that would not happen without accommodations. Some would say it isn't fair. I have been emailing with a parent who's local school district has been trying to get all the students on an IEP to switch from letter grades, to pass/fail and put it in their IEP's. They have said it isn't fair to a student who works hard and gets a B, compared to a student on an IEP who got a B with accommodations. I say poo-poo on them.

Just because the student on an IEP had accommodations, doesn't mean that they didn't work hard. It doesn't mean that they deserve the B. It means that their brain functions differently and their journey to the B is different. It doesn't mean it is equal to the non-IEP student, but it does mean that it is fair.

I acknowledge that if Akila had to do homework, her grades would be different. The grades on her homework would have brought her grades down, no doubt about it. She got 2 A's, 1 A+'s, 3 B's and 1 C. I also know that if she didn't have an awesome 1:1 aide working with her and helping her, her grades would have been lower. But isn't this why we give these students accommodations? So they are able to do the work, understand better, and have some success? Doesn't Akila deserve the sweet taste of success, just once in awhile?

I don't know what that school district is thinking, that kids on IEP's are going to make the curve harder, bring other students rankings down. Seriously? How many kids on an IEP are really going to be doing that with their grades? To be trying to force across the board all IEP students to go to a certain grading system, no matter what it is, seems to be contrary to the whole idea of special education and IEP's. The idea of an IEP is that it is an "individual" plan.

Will Akila make the honor roll every time? It is very unlikely, although I would welcome it! I am sure that some people in the school or out in the world, might think there is a connection to her grades and the fact that she is currently not living at home. I would agree if she were doing homework, but she isn't. Homework is not the reason for her good grades, well, it is I guess since her exemption from homework is one reason why the grades are high.

One factor for the good grades, is that she has different teachers every hour. She does not sitting in the same room for the majority of the day, annoying the same teacher. It is like she gets a fresh start every hour. Some kids have a very hard time with these transitions, especially FASD kids. I do think this is kind of hard for her, but in some ways, it is more to her advantage. When she gets to know just one teacher really well, that is when she starts to push back more and show some behaviors.

I also think that the team of teachers she has have been very patient and understanding of Akila, and for this, I am very grateful. But truly, she has a fabulous 1:1 aide, and a really good special ed teacher this year, last years special ed teacher was not very good. These two ladies have worked their tails off with Akila, been patient, understanding, encouraging and have certainly made a big difference.

And then there is the meds. The meds have helped for sure, although she has had some rough behavior at school. Somehow, she has been successful at mainly showing her rough behavior to her aide and special ed teacher. They are amazed at how clever she is like that, and how the core teachers have not seen much of it at all. I am not surprised of course, as that is how she is with us. She shares all of her junky behavior with us, and the majority of the world, does not get to see it. I have a friend who has two kids with FASD, and she has one who shows all of his behaviors to the school and world, and one who is like Akila and doesn't. She says that even though it is hard to deal with her son raging at school, in many ways it is easier as the school understands him better than her other child.

I have mentioned before, that Akila's aide this year has been frustrated that the core teachers don't see what she sees, and that she looks crazy to them when she shares what Akila is doing. Been there, done that. She is in our spot now, and it sucks, feels yucky, and feels isolating. I get it. That is all I can tell her. And, of course the evil side of me, is relieved that someone else is experiencing the same situation.

Today, I am celebrating Akila's accomplishment. I am very proud of her, and I don't care what others think about it. We will go to the ceremony next Thursday, and have a few minutes of feeling like typical parents.


Blessed said...

YAY! Way to go, Akila!

Ok, the parent of the traditional honor roll student who does not want a kid with an IEP to get the same chance has some serious issues of self-worth.

Betsy said...


Congratulations, Akila!!

GB's Mom said...

You go and celebrate Akila and $@!&! the other parents. Every child deserves their day in the spotlight!

DynamicDuo said...

Our girls are in the same spot, good grades overall but heavily modified and lots of accomodations. Looks good on paper and makes the girls feel good, however now its causing a problem, they have a GPA of 3.5, but they only have two academic classes and they both are pull out special ed. They are learning about college and what is required to get in..... they meet the GPA but don't have any of the required standard classes, hard spot hard to explain. We never made the honor roll, but they did get perfect attendance 4 years in a row!