Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Inclusion-an update

well, tomorrow is the big day. My little girl will be a big old third grader. Time is rushing by, I think I barely blinked, last I knew she was needing a brotherly boost up the first step of the bus. This is the year that we decided to pursue her full legal rights...Inclusion.

If you have been reading, you will know that this isnt happening without a bit of a fight, or at the very least a mommy temper tantrum. I asked for her to be more included, got the pitying looks of "oh, MOM, surely you jest? she cant HANDLE it." Yes she can. She can if YOU can. She can if you make it work the way Inclusion is meant to work. It can fail, to be sure, if YOU fail. Ciarra cannot fail, she will never give you anything less than 110% of herself. make it work. Please?

Some things encourage me, and scare me to death at the same time. This year will be a new wing, a new playground, a later lunch period, new teacher, new friends....third grade is moving up in the world. Ciarra had 2 years of K with Mrs Rogers, then a 1/2 classroom with Mrs. Swett for 2 years. The rooms were comfortingly right across the hall, the transition was smooth and easy. Both teachers loved her, but I never got the impression that they were EXCITED to have her. More like...willing. Not unhappy about it, but no real "Im looking so forward to this" either. Both were wonderful teachers, and by the end of it, both seemed to be quite smitten with this darling little girl.

But this year is different. THIS teacher is Mrs. Colson. She is a former Special Education teacher now teaching 3rd grade. She lives on a farm with her husband (who is Jesse's homeroom teacher and a dear sweet man.) They host a summer camp on their farm all summer, surrounded by kids and loving the teaching. THIS teacher is EXCITED.

Mrs. C has been in regular contact over the summer. She took several hours to learn Ciarra's writing program, and was excited about it. She asked my ideas, implemented my suggestions. Today she told me that the first week will be all about getting to know one another in small groups and learn to be a COMMUNITY. :) She sees Ciarra's strengths and intends to highlight them. Perhaps giving her jobs with a digital camera, she is GOOD with a camera. Or letting her create presentations on her computer, she is good at that too, and it all but removes the barriers speech delays cause. This teacher wants Ciarra to be HER student, and her goal is even more lofty than mine, she wants Ciarra in her room ALL the time. She doesnt even want to cede the math I agreed to have her pulled for. She thinks she can do this. I am starting to think she can, too. She thinks French is a "ridiculous" class for Ciarra (oh BOY do I agree!!) and thinks that would be the perfect time for Speech. YAY! She intends to set up learning stations in her room, and in concert with the Special Ed teacher, who will push in services, teach collaboratively to ALL of the kids. I couldnt have dreamed it this good.
The big question mark now is, will this all really happen? will it somehow magically fall into place and be ok? No aide, my girl is on her own. But not completely. She has a teacher who is willing her to make it. And I think she can. I have faith again, tonight. I just hope tomorrow and the days coming dont prove me wrong.

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