I had a chance to give a mini-clinic on goals to a teacher who didn’t have them done at her IEP meeting. Yes, I know we are all supposed to develop them at the IEP with parent input all the time. I’ve been to meetings where this has worked nicely and today’s meeting was the first one I was able to do when I wasn’t the parent.
This was a student who was struggling with completing assignments, staying on task and using his time wisely. Unfortunately “Student will use time wisely” with a criteria of 80% and an evaluation method of “Formal and informal testing methods” is one butt-ugly objective. It is meaningless. How the hell do I measure mastery on this abomination? The case manager was not the one who wrote the original goal, as it was done in middle school. I won’t go into the trashy crap we get from the middle school in the form of IEPs, but this goal was the least of the offenses I’ve seen.
The parent and the regular education teacher got a bird’s eye view, as well, of this process. The regular ed teacher, who is a young guy in his first year of teaching ELA courses caught on very quickly and was actually more helpful than the caseload teacher who has been doing this for 5 or so years. We actually put in some good goals that include some concrete mechanisms for accountability.
Instead of “Uses time wisely” I wrote “Will stay on task during a 30 minute interval in his resource class for 4 of 5 days per week for a 9 week grading period.” The method of evaluation is timed observation from the resource teacher and it is to be reported weekly on the weekly progress report. I picked on the resource class, because that is where there should be a trained teacher and para who can work on this skill. The 9 week grading period limit gives the teacher room to opt out of taking the data once the kid has mastered the goal. This was the carrot for the student, himself, who basically wanted his mother and everyone else to get off his back. I said he could have that IF he mastered his goal. He had to prove something first, and then we might let him off the hook. But not before. I also wrote in an objective or two about completing assignments and keeping an assignment log. In anycase, we did it like it was 100% supposed to be done, but only after the teacher bombed out and the meeting had already gone on over an hour. The parent was getting belligerent with her son to the point of embarrassment and the case manager had lost control.
I’m not against parents having their say, but getting loud and blessing the kid out in front of others over and over and over gets old quite fast. I can see why the boy has issues.
I was also invited to another manifestation. Once I heard one of the facts, I told the inviter that they didn’t want me there. The school would clearly not prevail if I was at another of these where an unsupervised para was teaching the student’s resource class. We are now short no less than 4 special education teachers in this building. It’s hard to imagine a more secure profession than special education with so many positions that are fully funded yet unfilled.