The 2020-21 school year wrapped up, to the relief of many, and the summer fun is coming to an end. It is the hope of many that the 2021-22 school year will return us to a more traditional-looking educational environment. Many of the ordinary rites of passages for students throughout the country (continuations for fifth graders and eighth graders, sporting events, homecoming dances with kings and queens declared, senior proms, graduation parties, ceremonies, etc.) were curtailed in the 2020-21 school year but are on the horizon again and we are all looking towards them with excitement! With August upon us, here are a few housekeeping measures to ready you for the new school year.
First, watch for a progress monitoring report on your child’s IEP goals and objectives. This should have arrived when your child received his/her last report card for the school year and should give you a starting baseline for the beginning of the new school year. The school should collect information related to your child’s regression and recoupment of skills to assist in determining your child’s eligibility or ineligibility for extended school year next summer.
Second, many parents plan to meet with their child’s new teacher (elementary) or with their child’s new team (middle and high school), to discuss their child’s best learning style, personal characteristics, and accommodations listed on the IEP. An important reminder, even more so now that the new COVID 19 Delta variant is flaring, is to document all of the contact you have with the school. Should there be quarantines or a return to remote learning in any form, be sure to document services that your child receives, when, where, for how long, how often, etc. When you speak with staff in person or by phone, be sure to follow up with an email to that person that details the discussion, including any agreed to outcomes. Although the hope is that there is no need for remediation of lost learning, these kinds of records could be very useful, rather than trying to recreate the events. Journaling in a calendar is a great diary of the daily happenings for your child’s education, particularly for their special education.
Third, connect with an advocate if you feel you need support or have questions you would like to explore. We always try to be as helpful as we can.
Finally, finish off the summer of 2021 with happiness and joy! We know that soon the weather will begin to cool, the days will get shorter, and the snow will blow. We will wonder why we wanted to say goodbye to the lovely rain we had early this summer and the warmth of July and August. Enjoy these last summery days before we reach Colorado’s beautiful fall colors.
By Cg La Scala