it’s Going to Be a Long Year

30 Oct

I just came out of my first GAA committee meeting dealing with a student from someone else’s caseload.  This committee had the Sp. Ed. department head who was representing math, a regular social studies teacher, a regular science teacher and a special ed. Teacher who was representing language arts, myself (acting as GAA caseload manager) and the facilitator, who is in serious need of a name.  I’ll call her Ms. Van, since it’s nice and short.


My God. 


I got a bit of background from Ms. Van, who is acting facilitator for all 15 GAA students, meaning that she is attending all 15 meetings.  She did not volunteer for this, she was drafted like the rest of us were drafted.  But her job is compounded by the fact that committee members were asking questions for which she had no answers.  Who is going to be teaching the student?  What happens next Semester when this student won’t have the same classes?


As case manager, I did try to give as much direction as I knew how to do.  GAA has been my life for over a week now, and is quickly claiming the lives of many others.  It is a growing cancer that is infecting more and more people.  It’s somewhat comforting to know that the chaotic madness is nationwide and not strictly confined to Georgia.  But this particular student, unlike Taz, has some academic abilities and can actually read above the 3rd grade level.  He simply lacks motivation.  When we get to collection period 2, we’ll have a bit of a motivation session.


So we basically did for this kid what we should have done last week for him; pick out the standards, the strands, the elements and the tasks.  This meeting was supposed to last an hour and there some very, very impatient people wanting to get out of there.  Sadly to say, they were special educators. 


I wish I could say I walked out of there feeling good about what was accomplished.  Frankly I’m not sure we accomplished much of anything.  One big hurdle was assigning the assessment and teaching tasks.  Another was that very few of the standards were aligned with the IEP goals and objectives although I was surprised to see that the ELA standards were fairly closely aligned.


There is a lot of work to be done and we only have about 6 more weeks to do it. 


NCLB really sucks.



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