What a relief! We saw the final of the three classrooms the school wanted us to consider this AM and it is perfect.
It is an integrated classroom but with a lower student-teacher ratio. This class will never have more than 11 students (5 IEPs, 6 typical) where his other classroom can have up to 15 students (6 IEPs, 9 typical.) Both classrooms have 3 staff members. Right now the classroom has 9 students and is much quieter than his current classroom. He will have the same therapists with one exception, he will have a different SPL provider but she was new anyway so that’s fine.
The classroom runs on a substantially separate schedule so it will be extended by an hour each day over his current schedule and it runs for 11 months so he will not need to go to another classroom for summer services. He will be with typically developing peers for the exact same amount of time but have 2 hours a day with more focused time (right now he gets only an hour of focused time.)
The teacher is fluent in ASL, she has a master’s degree in deaf studies!
They’re really concerned with getting the transition right so we are thinking we’ll continue to drop Monkey off in his current classroom for a period of time and that one of the class aids who he is very fond of will take him next door (the new classroom ADJOINS the current one) to his new classroom for periods of time until we can make the final transition. One of the staff members from the new classroom will go fill in in the other class so the staffing level is not disrupted.
The school is hiring another staff member who would float between these two classrooms depending on need and that person would most likely be largely responsible for implementing the sensory diet.
Hmmm…I think that might be it but it really is the best of all worlds. The team leader (who was showing us the classrooms) was *very* relieved as are we. I think they thought we were determined to keep him in the same exact room. That would have been ideal given the level of comfort he has developed with the staff there but we were open to something different as long as it had typical peers and he received the sensory services he needs. Phew. I think we’re all pleased with the end result!
We’ll get the IEP tomorrow. She asked that we consider it a working document and if we have any issues that we all meet again to discuss changes rather than reject it. We can do that! We actually like his IEP only the placement was giving us fits. 😀
3 thoughts on “We have a classroom *happy dance*”
Wow! That is such GREAT news! Please keep us updated on it. Is this a public school? If so, I’d like to bring this up to Jim. I don’t recall his school having any options like this, but it sounds like it needs one! Please let me know if it’s public. Email me at email@example.com when you get a chance. So glad there’s been a step forward!
It is a public school and this is a brand new classroom. They’ve added three new styles of classrooms in the last year which I find very impressive.
They’ve added “transitionary” classrooms which are for 3 year olds who are moving into the system and who aren’t quite ready for an integrated placement but the stated goal is that they move eventually to an integrated setting (mixed results on this but it is the stated goal.)
They’ve added “PDD/Autism” specific classrooms which utilize a lot of ABA techniques and are “total communication.”
And this year they’ve added this classroom which is an integrated class but it runs on a substantially separate schedule. Which means 29 hours/week instead of 24; 11 months/year instead of 9. Oh, and a lower student-teacher ratio which, come on, EVERY student could benefit from!
If this is as successful as it seems like it could be I would think this would be the model moving forward for integrated classes. It’s really quite impressive.
Yay! What a relief for you!