Joey's school open house was this afternoon- our first back-to-school event! And it wasn't an IEP meeting! Hooray!
I got to meet the new team. Apparently after some scrambling and threats to force the principal to call me and explain why certain things were or were not happening, Joey's education team is nicely settled in 4 classrooms grouped at the end of one hall, so everybody can chat and pass him around as needed. Everybody also seems to understand the plan is to go with the flow, and if something happens that isn't groovy, its time to chat it up and work it out. Awesome.
Joey gets to start off the year in a good chunk of self-contained class to keep him in small groups, where he seems to work best. He will, however, have a regular class homeroom and a regular class math group to start. Not inclusion- regular. He imitates inappropriate behaviors too readily, so they are trying to re-incorporate him with his old upper-group regular-ed buddies. His math friends are used to him, he's used to them, and he'll have a lifeguard if he runs into trouble, plus the other three classrooms nearby are full of friends, both peer and adult, to help. We're hoping this gives Joey some sense of safety, or at least comfort, so he can function. Also, boredom is not our friend. He needs very advanced math, or we risk a mess.
The plan is to slowly move him into regular-class reading groups as well, but to keep him in smaller-setting situations for what would normally be large group in a regular-ed class (ie, science, social studies, shared reading, writing, etc). He will also be with his regular ed class for "specials" (art, music, library, computer, health, phys ed) and recess, to keep those kids more used to him, to keep him more used to them, and to keep him away from behaviors and issues of the special needs classrooms that were feeding problem fires. His lifeguard will be present in all of these regular-ed settings. At least that's my current understanding, and not having one in these situations would be perilous- we still have the threat of bolting to contend with, after all.
So we seem to all be on board, ready to go, and we exchanged email and cell contact info.
I returned later with Joey's school supplies, and had another solid chat with the self-contained teacher. We have a better personality fit than last year's teacher, which makes it easier to exchange info; also, she's worked with Joey before, so could understand more of what I was trying to communicate. All good. Yay!
Am I still nervous? Oh, yeah. Last year was a total disaster. I didn't know how anxious I was until i started driving away at least, and realized I was shaking, and started to cry. I think it's going to be a much better year, with a more solidly prepared team. But it is still school. And one never knows.
Tomorrow: Andy's open house. Erp.