.. gardless of a child’s needs. The county psychologists, who have on average 4-7 schools a piece, have been told they must reduce the number of students tested county-wide by 10%, rather than allowing for the possibility that some schools may have a larger exceptional needs population of students. Exceptional Education Teacher Another important stakeholder in this cycle of referrals to placement is the ESE (exceptional student education) teacher. The ESE teacher at Diana’s school has held this position for ten years in three different states and is also a parent herself of a child diagnosed with a learning disability.
After speaking with Mrs.V, I learned much valuable information. According to Mrs. V, both of the other states she worked in the maximum time allowed for a child to pass from referral to placement is 60 days. Here, she states, the average time frame is more than 6 months long. Last year when her son was placed on the list it took the entire school year to determine eligibility, and she was on campus pushing for it. Her opinion of the problem is multi-fold. First and foremost is the lack of funding for psychologists, which was stated above.
Our school psychologist is at the school one-day per week and is used to test all children, conduct behavioral observations as a classroom intervention, and hold meetings with parents to interpret results. In addition to the lack of school psychologists, Mrs. V also feels there is a lack of qualified ESE teachers per school. In her previous states, her caseload was mandated by the state at no more than 15 students per teacher, her current caseload at Diana’s school is 52 students in grades 1-5. For each student, she is to teach all subjects in which they meet eligibility (reading, writing, math) as well as test all students after the school psychologist has, write SLD (Specific Learning Disability) reports to determine if students meet eligibility criteria, hold meetings with parents, write IEP’s (Individual Education Plans) for students, maintain documentation of progress, conduct end of the year testing and annual reviews, and at this time she is also completing the duties of the school staffing coordinator who left mid-year and has not yet been replaced. Another problem, according to Mrs.
V, is the lack of emphasis placed on a timely process in Florida. It was known in the other states that a child must be referred, tested and if necessary placed within 60 days time. Here in Florida, she feels that due to the fact that everyone is overworked and understaffed, excuses are made while referrals are dragged out for 6 months and beyond. Ultimately the problem lies, according to Mrs. V, in the State Department and funding.
She feels that if they were monitoring and enforcing better timelines, schools would be forced to hire the staff to complete the process in a timely manor. Diana and Family Diana and her parents are extremely concerned about her academic progress. Diana’s perspective is that she knows that other students in her class are reading and progressing much further than she is. When asked how this makes her feel, she states that she is sad. Her non-verbal expressions and gestures lead me to think that she is more than just sad. Diana thinks that she cannot read and that she is different.
At this point, her reason behind this to her is that she is not smart. As a result of Diana’s lack of educational skills, her self-esteem is suffering and a wall is being built against learning. She shows extreme avoidance when it comes to school work, rising to sharpen pencils and stare blankly at her paper. Diana’s parents are concerned about their daughter’s work and have come to parent/teacher conferences that have been set up by both myself and the school. The family is of Haitian decent and have at times expressed that if she does not improve, there is a possibility of her returning to Haiti to live with her grandparents.
It is understood that in Haiti, education is not a priority. When asking them about Diana’s situation, they are aware that their daughter is behind others in school. They are very gracious and thankful to the teachers she has had for their efforts with their daughter. However, they are also concerned that Diana is not receiving services to increase her potential. They have been called into meetings with teachers, and at times administrators, about her for three years now and have known that she has been on a list at least since the beginning of this school year. Their frustration level is at an extreme.
When asked why they think that it is taking so long for Diana to be placed, their answers come from what they have been told by the school. Basically that there is an extremely long waiting list for students to receive placement and not enough time or people to do this testing. As for someone to blame, their frustration lies with the school system and district rather than with the individual members of Diana’s school, but they feel unable to do anything about this. CONCLUSION In conclusion, this paper is stating the viewpoints of four stakeholders involved with a child facing the dilemma of the referral for academic services. Conclusions and perspectives were uniquely individual for each person or subsystem within this dilemma.
However, I feel that a continuing theme throughout this paper is one of a lack of funding for individuals who assist in this referral process. Perhaps if more state money were put towards hiring qualified persons to test and process the referral students, the wait time a student entertains would be drastically reduced. If this were to happen, then perhaps students would be adequately placed and their academic and/or emotional needs would be sufficiently met. Bibliography Myrick, R. D. (1997).
Developmental Guidance and Counseling: A Practical Approach. Minneapolis, MN: Educational Media Corporation. Seneg, P., Kleiner, A., Roberts, C., Ross, R., Smith, B.(1994). The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. New York, NY: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc.