I am steeped in a hot cup of mess. My school is under some serious reconstruction. There is a lot of change happening. Change can be great. Change can be scary. Change can also be a crossroads of doing the right thing or continuing on a path of negligence and noncompliance.
We are downsizing. Our student enrollment is shrinking and thus we are letting go of great teachers. This is a situation that sucks but inevitable. As colleagues we bid adieu and try to help each other find other situations, better schools in which to share talents. It’s tough. So much of survival depends on the moments a teacher can check in with their colleagues. However, we will be alright but I cannot say the same for the children in my school. I am especially worried about the children with special needs. When we cut staff, children get less of what they need.
In my school, a lot of teachers were excessed. It was a tough year and as a result many teachers went and found other jobs this summer. Now we are short staffed. I recently went into my building to lend some help updating and organizing IEPs. These are the Individual Education Plans for children with special needs. My school is unfortunately out of compliance in updating these files. It has been difficult because the amount of students verses the amount of staff. We couldn’t keep up with the paperwork load. We also didn’t have the resources required for their IEps. Now it will be even worse. In order to save money, the Principal wants to let go of more paraprofessionals. This is crazy because we didn’t have enough in relationship to what we needed to comply with the IEPs.
One teacher was given the impression that Administration feels that teachers need to “manage classroom behavior” better instead of employing a paraprofessional. This is not only insulting to teachers and Paras, it is illegal! If a child’s IEP says they need to be in a classroom with 15 children, one teacher and one para – that is what they MUST have. We struggle to find the calculators needed during testing, appropriate testing locations and stituations. We struggle to find people available to assist children in wheelchairs and students in crisis. Now we will struggle to give students the attention, translation and emotional support they need in most of classrooms. Its disgusting. My students are racial minorities, live in the projects, have difficult home lives and poor nituricaian. They are already coming up short in life and now we are finding more ways to short change their education.
I am disgusted. This may be my last year at this school. It is the kids I have a difficult time leaving. I am worried that I am now unwillingly part of the problem because it will be almost impossible for me to adhere to what their IEPs direct me to do – but I am going to try. How can teachers be expected to read IEps and follow them but Administration cuts resources so much that it is almost impossible to help these kids.
Budgets suck. You cannot pick and choose which part of a child’s IEP you want to follow.