Exceptional Education Referral To Placement Abstract This paper will reflect upon the school-wide dilemma of students, families and schools involved in the referral and placement process of students with special needs such as specific learning disabilities and beyond. This is a genuine problem in our Florida school system as each year is seems to take longer for a student who has been referred by an educator to be placed into a situation which best meets their academic and/or emotional needs. This paper will concentrate on stories derived from primary stakeholders dealing with this situation. The stakeholders for this particular story are; Diana, a 3rd grade student in need, and her family, her teacher, the school psychologist, and the school exceptional student education teacher. Each stakeholder will present their version of the problem as a personal situation.
Exceptional Education-Referral to Placement Time: A School-Wide Dilemma My story begins by telling you that I am a 3rd grade teacher and have taught elementary school for close to four years. In that time, I have been able to teach many youngsters and also see that there are some learners whose needs exceed what I have been able to give them in a regular classroom setting. When I used to teach fifth grade, most students with academic concerns had already been identified and place, part time, in an SLD (Specific Learning Disability) setting as needed. However, some students had still managed to travel through six years of public school barely scraping by. Now teaching third grade, I have two students in particular I am highly concerned about.
One of which has been on the refer for testing list since second grade and has still not been able to be placed in an educational setting which will focus on her needs. The second little girl is mostly likely a result of her mother taking drugs while she was in the womb. This child’s development seems to be slowing as the rest of the students around her progress. For this paper, I am going to focus on the plight of the first child for my example. From my observations as the teacher of the little girl I will refer to as Diana, it is extremely evident a regular classroom setting is not meeting the needs of this child. STAKEHOLDERS There are many people in this little girl’s life who hold a stake in her successes. I, as her teacher, am certainly one, as well as herself, her parents and family, our school varied exceptionalities teacher, the county/school psychologist and the school principal.
This list could also continue to her future teachers and beyond, but I will be discussing the stories of the main stakeholders I have previously listed. Teacher’s Story Diana, at nine years old, has already been detained once in her schooling career. This child is able to identify letters, but digraphs such as Sh, or Ch are not comprehensible to her. Now in third grade, it is clear me that Diana is not learning at the same rate as her fellow classmates. I felt from within the first week that she was in my class that this child was well below grade level.
I see her frequently off task, dawdling if you will by shuffling papers, organizing her desk and book bag, practically anything to avoid showing her classmates that she does not understand the work that is going on in the classroom. As Diana’s teacher, I am troubled that in my regular classroom, I cannot give her the full attention and services that would meet her individual needs. I did the by the book way that a teacher is supposed to do to find out the history of this child. This meant checking the cumulative folder of past school history and I also spoke with her previous teachers and inquired with the guidance counselor as to whether or not she was on a testing list. I was informed that Diana had been referred by her second grade teacher, but it would be helpful if I continued with documentation of school work and followed up. I have done this and I have also discussed Diana’s situation at quarterly profile meetings about students where the principal, teacher and curriculum resource teacher are all present.
Unfortunately, because Diana is on the referral list, my only recourse at this time is to modify-modify-modify in the classroom. Retention was briefly discussed, but denied because of the referral list. Diana’s skill level is so low, that off the record the guidance counselor informed me that she is most likely EMH, this means that she is educable mentally handicapped and will probably be moved to another classroom or school all together. I can completely see where this would be beneficial to her in order for her to learn life skills that will be of more value to her in the long run than working in a regular classroom setting. If it were up to me to decide what the main problem is, I would have to agree with much of what will be said in the rest of this paper.
There isn’t enough money to hire the qualified personnel needed to test, place and teach children with needs. School Psychologist View I spoke with our school psychologist to get her views on the dilemma of the time it takes to move a student through the placement process. Her definitive answer was numbers-not only money, but also percentages. She shared with me that at one time, there were guidance/psychologist clerks whose sole job was to process the paperwork for students to receive their placement. However, when the county needed to tighten their budget, those clerks were the ones to go and thus guidance counselors and psychologists were now in charge of the testing and the paperwork process.
Also, our school has one guidance secretary who is able to assist with some paperwork and scheduling, however her job is there based on a grant that as of next year will be dissolved. The other numbers referred to were percentages. According to the county, only 10% of a school is considered to need exceptional education. If a school’s number of referrals exceed this, then the blame is placed on the teachers that they need to modify and learn how to teach those kids in their classroom re …