In the spring however, we will be having another meeting, a transition meeting, to make sure her IEP is set for high school. As a parent, this terrifies me. My son is currently in Chemistry and that class is HARD. It really worries me how she be able to get through that class. But, as an advocate, I know she will be fine, and I am writing this blog post for all you parents so you can rest assured, you will go into your child's transition meetings prepared.
First, I need to say not all middle schools will schedule a transition meeting. The law says schools need to schedule transition meetings when a student leaves high school, not just changing schools, however, as you know you can request an IEP meeting at any time so go ahead and ask for a transition meeting and ask for a high school representative to be present at that meeting.
My daughter originally got her IEP when she was at the end of third grade and it was for Basic Reading and Reading Fluency. At the time she was also struggling with math but her reading was so low the elementary school decided to pick one over the other so reading it was. Once she hit middle school her school was also addressing the math but it didn't really fall below to a point of major concern until 7th grade. (We are currently monitoring her on both reading and math this year and we may possibly need to change her disability category to SLD math before the end of the year.)
Because my daughter struggles with math I found out that in high school she would be put in classes that would not give her the opportunity to take a higher level math like algebra 2. She can still graduate with a full diploma but because of the missing algebra 2 she would only be able to attend a 2 year college. Now, my daughter plays softball and I know I am a bit biased but she is pretty good and when she gets ready to graduate from high school and a 4 year college wants her to play for them and she has to turn that down because of math....that will make me very angry. Same thing goes for a foreign language, a student can get a waiver on the foreign language requirement (they would have to decide on a different course track to take) but again, could only go to a 2 year college.
So how do you avoid these problems? Well, as long as TN has free 2 year college my children will go there so it won't even matter, but like I said earlier, it could be an issue for my daughter. Luckily my daughter will be attending a high school that does block scheduling every other day, meaning there are 4 classes one day, 4 the next and they just go back and forth between those days all year long. So in her case, she will just take math everyday instead of every other day and then she will be able to take algebra 2. Check with your high school and see how they do their schedules and as a team figure out how to make sure your student takes the required math classes.
As for the foreign language. The state of TN allows sign language to be used as a foreign language but not all schools offer that. There are a couple in my district that do, but using the local 2 year college sign language class is acceptable as well.
I can't wait for my daughter to hit high school, I know she will love the experience but I also need to make sure that she is covered so that she can play softball if she makes the team. Failing a class won't necessarily mean she won't be able to play, they will look at her overall GPA but most schools will be on top of that anyway. High schools offer tutoring before and after school to help all students so we won't need to worry about that but make sure you bring this up in your transition meeting. Find out what the school policy is and how the IEP team can help make sure your child can continue to play. Remind everyone that your child with a learning disability more than likely excels in a sport or some other kind of activity, and like in my daughters case, it makes being in school easier because she has her sport to look forward to.
None of this is an easy process but remember, there are people out there that want to do what is best for your child, seek them out and ask questions. That is what we are all here for.