Last week I had an ARD (admissions, review, dismissal) meeting for my son at the middle school to release him from a basically remedial math class and place him in a regular 8th grade pre-algebra class. Last year we placed him in the resource class because he was having such extreme difficulty getting the regular work load completed. Part of the problem was that he was so busy fighting the change to the new school, the new program and the new teachers. He didn't have enough energy left to complete the copious amount of work. I think there was also a degree of reluctance on the staff's part to cut the assignments down to a reasonable amount. His IEP (individual education plan) requires that work be given to show understanding of concept, so in other words if he can demonstrate that he understand the concept with 10 problems instead of 50, allow him to do the 10 problems. That wasn't really happening. They would still give him say, 30 or 40.
The staff this year seems to be completely in sync with what his needs are. They are more than willing to make the appropriate accommodations so that he can be successful. Last year was more of a power trip and that didn't really work for anyone. His main tracking teacher this year seems to be designed for the job. She has the kindest, most peaceful tone and demeanor. She is able to communicate with him without being antagonistic and overbearing. So far it seems to be working.
My son was asked to give his opinion on how things are going so far this year -how he feels about the change in classes, etc. He did an impressive job at presenting himself. He spoke clearly and effectively. Although he did not give much if any eye contact, his demeanor was pleasant. There was no frowning or sullen facial expressions. He told us that he would miss his resource class, the teacher and the friends that he's made in there. He will of course miss the fact that the teacher allowed him to show the class the videos he makes and uploads onto YouTube. He told us that he feels like he can make it in the regular class as long as there isn't "too much work". He also expressed his feelings about where he would like to go to high school.
I was flabbergasted! I was like, "Who is this child? And what have you done with my son?" He was not the boy who that very morning and every morning before then angrily chants, "I hate school! School sucks! I don't want to go to school!" Apparently by the time he gets there he completely changes his tune. Apparently he shows up as this alien child, who gets his work done and is respectful to his teachers. He's not walking around frowning all day. His new math teacher complimented how well he's already picking up on the concepts that others haven't gotten that have been in his class for weeks now. He also complemented him on taking the initiative to apologize after a misunderstanding. "He's a joy to work with," says another teacher.
So when he comes home, again I praise him for a job well done so far this year in school and for doing such a good job in the meeting. Then I ask, "Why can't I get some of that same respect here at home?" To which he rather pragmatically replied, "Because, I don't like your policies."