As in...one more IEP.
A disclaimer: I love my kiddos. I love the day-to-day aspects of teaching them. I love taking a book that most people think is beyond their reach -- War of the Worlds, say -- and find a way to make it accessible to them. I have mostly positive interactions with parents. I truly think I do the best I can to further each and every child's development, whether they come to me matching colors, not matching at all, or reading at a 2nd grade level.
That said, while I like to think I'm a fairly good writer, and have been told I'm a good IEP-writer -- and while I have only had two IEPs go dramatically badly -- I freak out before each and every one.
I know J. I know what she can do. I've seen how she's grown this year. I've seen what being included 70% of the day has done for her. I can delineate how she's grown -- how, while she could read and decode nearly at grade level, she could only comprehend at a pre-primer level and can now comprehend at a late first grade level. I believe -- truly -- that full inclusion is the best placement for her...because for her to be alert and available for knowledge, she needs to be around her peers.
She's shown that this year. I've had her since summer school before fourth grade. She's going into seventh now. For two years, I taught her nothing. I tried every trick I could think of -- visual cues to help her learn what question words meant, manipulatives to shore up her number sense so she could fix mistakes in her rotely-learned math.
And she barely treaded water. Her comprehension did not improve. Her social skills did, marginally, but her ability to apply what she had learned did not.
Within a week of being 70% included this year, she was answering questions appropriately (though not always correctly); that is, if I asked "Who was White Fang's first owner?" she might have said Wheedon Scott, but at least it was a person.
Ditto her handwriting, for crying out loud.
For whatever reason, being with her peers turned a light bulb on that I never even knew existed.
Except that the program specialist doesn't think so.
Which puts me in a very awkward position.
Meanwhile, I have to write and propose goals that would work equally in a special day class setting and a general education setting.