Since Michelle asked, here’s how Grade Two is rolling out for The Mook:
A month into the school year, the school got funding/permission (?) to re-jig the classes since one class was over the capacity by one child. This mean that The Mook’s grade 1/2 class went from having 9 grade 2 students to have just 5 (why yes, this does feel like my kid – along with the other kids – all with identified ‘issues’ have been held back) , along with 15 grade 1 students. Within the week, her teacher decided to switch to teach another class. So, a month into the school year, The Mook no longer had the friends and the teacher she had been told to expect since the end of the previous school year.
Luckily there was a teacher who applied for the position – and was ultimately hiring – who already had a year’s experience at The Mook’s
bizarro alternative school. I got in touch via e-mail right away, forwarding onto her the letter I had written to the previous teacher. And I heard nothing. And then I e-mailed her again two weeks later to ask a question. And I heard nothing. The teacher finally e-mailed all the parents with some information, referencing documents that had been sent home with our kids. I e-mailed back and mentioned I hadn’t received any of the paperwork and reminded her that our family needs two copies of documents, one copy of each home. I also asked whether she’d received my previous e-mails. She assured me that she had received them and that two copies of documents would be sent home “when and if possible”.
Hahaha…hilarious, right? When and if possible. Communication with home ‘when and if possible’. I immediately e-mailed the school VP (an awesome woman with kids with issues similar to The Mook who is well aware of our family make-up) and asked her to intervene. I immediately started getting my own copies of documents sent home. Win.
Since then, issues with the teacher have included:
- not mentioning that she was pregnant and due in March (The Mook’s class will have their 3rd teacher take over in March)
- not allowing separate parent-teacher interviews
- not responding to the voicemails and e-mails from The Mook’s social worker (I, again, had to go to the VP about this and she got the teacher to get on top of it)
But there are two incidents that happened in the last few weeks – with the teacher AND the school – that have resulted in me scheduling an in-person meeting with the VP.
Back in late October, I finally scheduled The Mook for a private psycho-educational assessment. This meant two afternoons of testing with a psychologist to get an actual diagnosis for The Mook. An ACTUAL DIAGNOSIS instead of just guessing at what I can do to make LIFE better for her. I was told that I would get the results/report in 4-6 weeks and when I didn’t hear from her after 7 weeks, I made a call to find out the status. It turns out that the report isn’t complete because they are still waiting on the teacher to send back the forms that she was asked to complete. When I had the chance to pick The Mook up from school (something I can only do maybe once every six weeks) and saw the teacher I asked her about the forms. She told me that she has completed them but hasn’t put them in the mail.
There was also the phone call I got from the school a few weeks ago. It was some of the admin staff, asking if The Mook was with me, as she had been marked late that morning, but marked ABSENT on the afternoon attendance. After a frantic call to The Former Mister to see if she was with him (the answer was NO), I started to grab my keys and jacket so I could drive to the school, a good 40 minutes away from work. I called the school back with no answer and was almost out the door when The Former Mr called me to let me know that they had made a mistake, that The Mook was at school and nothing was wrong. Apparently there was a substitute teacher taking afternoon attendance and she missed marking The Mook present on the attendance, because The Mook had stepped out to refill her water bottle.
I’m a little torn. I had such faith in this school with its emphasis on social justice and community, but I’m wondering whether it really is the best place for her. I’ll have a better idea of how I can get the VP to help once I meet with her next week, and I’ll have a better idea of what the school can do to support The Mook once I get the results of the assessment, but I’m not so tied to the school that I would want to keep her there if these issues continue.
I should note that this isn’t the first time that The Mook has gone missing at school. It happened first last fall when she was in the far end of the playground (a space where only the senior students can play) when the rest of the kids went into the school at recess. She didn’t make it to the doors in time and was locked out. However, she was smart enough to go around to the main doors of the school, hit the doorbell, get buzzed in and made it up to her 3rd floor classroom just as her teacher that day (again, a substitute) realized she was missing. Following that, I was reassured by the VP that they would keep an extra eye out for The Mook at recess, making sure she was where she was allowed to be, making sure she made it to the door and inside the school at the end of recess.
I plan on talking to the VP about the issues I’m having with the teacher’s poor communication with both myself and The Mook’s support team (social worker, psychologist). I also want to talk to her about what to do if The Mook goes ‘missing’ again, whether there’s some sort of procedure that can be done – asking the teacher to double-check, having the VP do a visual check of the classroom – before calling me at work, where I am hopeless to do anything about the situation except panic and freak out.
In other news, The Mook finally has an appointment with a psychiatrist (who is an absolute expert on ADHD) at CAMH in mid-January. I think I managed to get her moved up the waiting list once I e-mailed the CYW that did her initial assessment about The Mook’s descent into a deep, dark depression one night, when she told me that she hated her life and her ‘ugly face’ and wanted to put her brain in another kid’s head. I can’t even put into words how hard it is to watch your seven year old descend into ‘that’ place.