ASK FAMILY ALERT!!
an October 2000 school board meeting, district personnel made a presentation
regarding the district’s promotion and retention policy.
They also described MBUSD’s efforts to identify students who were not
doing well and needed remedial interventions.
According to the presentation, students at all grade levels would be
assessed to determine their need for intensive interventions, including after
school and summer reading programs.
the April 4, 2001 board meeting, district personnel made a presentation
regarding MBUSD’s English/Language Arts assessments, which seemed to indicate
that assessments had been conducted and that students who needed assistance were
the April 4, 2001 presentation, we have heard from parents who have indicated
that although their student receives special education services, they are not
making progress in reading. These
parents have also indicated that despite their child’s lack of progress, they
have not been invited to participate in any of these programs or interventions
nor have they even received information from district personnel about them.
In addition, some parents have told us that despite explicitly asking for
additional reading assistance for their child, they have not been able to get a
substantive response from the district.
to the California Department of Education, ALL children are entitled to receive
assistance pursuant to state programs designed to provide remediation to
children who need it, e.g., pursuant to AB 1639 and related promotion and
retention legislation. Unfortunately,
it appears that some district employees are under the impression that if a child
has been identified as receiving special education services, they are
automatically getting all they need, despite the fact that a child may not be
making progress. Also, some
district employees seem to believe that they only have to offer what the
district has historically made available, i.e., the absolute minimum. THE KEY is PROGRESS.
When parents request a service or placement for their child which impacts that
child’s right to a free appropriate public education, they are entitled to
receive a written response in writing either agreeing to provide it, or refusing
to provide it and justifying the district’s refusal. [34 C.F.R. Sec.
300.503-300.504] As always, it is
best if your request to the district is documented in the IEP or in some form of
writing and that you keep copies of such documents.
OUR PURPOSE IN
WRITING IS TWO-FOLD
We are doing an informal survey to determine how many kids in the district who
receive special education services are not making progress, yet who have not had
access to programs that would allow them to make progress in reading. [The best
way to determine progress is to chart test scores, such as the Stanford 9 or
other standardized scores, over time to see if a child is moving forward.]
Our second purpose is to encourage parents to have their children take the
Stanford 9 where at all possible, or if not the Stanford 9, to ensure that there
is some form of alternative assessment for the child as is required by law.
Your first step should be to look at your child’s current IEP to see
what it says about standardized testing. You
need to do this as soon as possible since testing begins in early May.
only way a parent can determine their child’s progress (or lack thereof) is
through the use of objective measures. Far
too often our children’s IEP’s have measured progress through “teacher
observation” or other subjective means. As a result, far too many of our children have moved through
the elementary grades and into middle school and high school without
sufficiently learning to read. Children
first “learn to read” and then “read to learn”.
If the first step in this process isn’t accomplished, children struggle
with the second step, with the unfortunate consequence that many of our children
pass from grade to grade without truly accessing curriculum or achieving the
sort of progress our children can and are entitled to make.
end game will be the High School Exit Exam [HSEE]. If our children cannot pass the HSEE, even if they have
completed all their coursework and achieved all their credits, they will not
graduate high school. Children with
IEP’s will be entitled to any and all accommodations noted in the IEP,
however, if they should fail the test because of their reading needs, it is
almost too late in a child’s education to be trying to teach them reading AND
the substantive curriculum.
order to identify our children’s needs and hold the district accountable for
their progress (or lack of progress), it is better that our children take tests
such as the Stanford 9 as early as possible.
Even if they are not mastering these tests, they are benefiting from the
experience of test taking, an accomplishment in itself.
These test results also provide us with an annual measure by which we can
determine our child’s progress.
well, these tests not only help determine progress, but in our district the
Stanford 9 is used as the primary criteria for determining whether students
receive remediation when they’re not making progress.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
Check your child’s IEP and see what it
says about standardized testing. If
you want to change anything about your child’s testing status, contact your
program specialist ASAP to do an addendum to the IEP, as testing is imminent.
2). Let us know if you believe your child needs additional
reading assistance and you’ve never been told about any reading programs to
help your child.
Let us know if you’ve asked for additional reading assistance, yet received no
response from district personnel.
Also let us know if you have requested and your child HAS received reading
assistance as per your request.
(At some point in the near future, we plan
to do a presentation/workshop on how to chart your child’s progress.
Gathering as many of your child’s assessments and standardized tests
(such as the Stanford 9) will be a good first step to prepare for this
There will only be accountability for our children’s progress if we stay
vigilant. Programs such as the CA Reading Initiative, AB1639 (Promotion and
Retention) and the High School Exit Exam have been legislated by our state
representatives for a reason: to ensure that California’s children - ALL of
them - can make progress and become productive, contributing members of society.
The vast majority of our children are totally capable of accomplishing
these goals. They are capable of
graduating from high school, if they are given the appropriate tools and
instruction. Those who are not
going to graduate high school are still entitled to make appropriate progress
based upon high expectations. As
parents, it is our job to see that our children get what they need and are
entitled to under the law.