Changing Face

This isn’t really what you might think it is. I’m not talking face transplants or being two-faced.

Nah, it’s a bit more complex.

I’m talking about the “changing face of special education.” My campus will be transitioning from having three self-contained learning environments to one next school year. Transition is nothing new for those of us that have worked in the field of special education for any amount of time. Thanks to “No Child Left Behind,” we are not alone as school districts across the country join us as we modify how we provide special education support to students in need of our expertise. In fact, we eliminated one of our self-contained learning environments last year and transitioned those students into mainstream classrooms with a minimum of difficulties.

I guess it’s significant to note that we made that transition with no additional staff.

We’ll most likely have to make this next transition the same way. Head Cheese & I have been pondering over the past several months about how we’d make this transition happen. Of course, all of our ponderings up to late last month had included the addition of more staff members. Last week, he told me that I should plan on doing this with no new staff.

I knew he had to be kidding and so I continued on with planning for next year in my typical business-as-usual manner. He wasn’t kidding. In all truthfulness, I wasn’t either. There didn’t appear to be any way to make the transition with the number on my existing staff.

Until today.

One huge advantage to administering benchmark tests each morning is that it allows A LOT of time to think. And think I did! I came up with a viable solution to our dilemma and proudly explained it to Head Cheese this afternoon.

His response completely floored me. “The plan sounds good. Keep it under your hat. You don’t want the SpecEd Director to get wind of it.”

On it’s face, it sounded hurtful. The reality is, if SpecEd Director finds out that we really can do this with no staff, he won’t allocate new staff for us.

I’m just too darn good at my job for my own good.

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One thought on “Changing Face

  1. I have a friend from high school that also works in the wonderful world of special ed in a neighboring school district and she e-mailed the following comment to me:

    I don’t like how the districts are pushing for more and more inclusion and cutting back the number of self contained classrooms, along with staff either. At least in ALE and PPCD. Those kids have such a variety of disabilities and we have so many per classroom, and are understaffed, that it makes it almost impossible to get inclusion for just 1/2 the class. The only thing we CAN do is reverse inclusion. These head honchos need to come teach some of our classes for at least a month to get an inkling of a clue to what we go through! They look at numbers only, not the individuals. That’s the shame of it all. Oh well, maybe someone will come along in office and be from down in the trenches and change it all again for the better.

    This was my response to her:

    can’t agree with you more. It was the hardest thing in the world to come up with something that would actually work. What I don’t dare tell my staff is that if we have to implement this particular plan, we’ll ALL be running ourselves ragged just to keep up with the numbers of SpecEd students in the mainstream classrooms. In all truthfulness, if I have a choice of implementing my inclusion plan or keeping our resource rooms, I’ll opt to keep the resource rooms without any hesitation.

    I seriously don’t know how you’re managing the ALE & PPCD populations out in the mainstream. How do the RegEd students & teachers manage with students requiring more supervision in the room while they’re trying to work?

    Spring Break in two days! Yippee!!!

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