THINGS TO DO BEFORE SUMMER BREAK
BY MARGE EBERTS AND PEGGY GISLER, Ed.D
Readers: Have your children completed all the tasks necessary to wind up this school year successfully and to begin the next one smoothly? You don't want them to be paying fines and changing their schedules when school begins again. Use this checklist as a guide for getting them ready to enjoy their summer holidays:
- All textbooks need to be located and any marks erased.
- Library books should be returned and any fines paid.
- The "lost and found" should be checked for missing items.
- Lockers, desks and backpacks should be cleaned well before the last day of school.
- Projects and awards should be brought home, as well as personal equipment used in sports, music and other activities.
- Schedules should be set for the next school year. This is especially important for middle- and high-school students.
- Students need to know the dates when sports, music and other extracurricular activities will start next year, as they often begin before school is in session.
- The names, addresses and phone numbers of school friends should be obtained.
There is also one final thing that you and your children should do to end the school year on a very positive note. Think about all the things that their teachers have done during the past year to make it special. Did a teacher make it easy or fun for them to learn a particular subject? Did a teacher spend time giving them extra help? Did a teacher really motivate them to learn? If so, you and your children should write short notes telling these teachers how much their efforts were appreciated.
Question: My son has a learning disability. At the end of every school year, there is a meeting to develop a plan for the next year. I liked the way this was done at my son's old school; however, he's in a new school now, and I definitely did not like what happened at our meeting last week. Are these meetings supposed to be the same at all school districts? How can I become more knowledgeable about my rights as a parent? -- Need Information
Answer: The meeting that you are referring to is the annual review of your son's Individualized Education Plan. At all schools, the purpose of this meeting is to evaluate the progress that children have made toward meeting long-term and short-term goals on their current IEP and to develop an IEP for the next school year. While meetings will not always be conducted the same way, the agendas should be the same. If you have a disagreement with the school on some aspect of your son's IEP, the easiest way to resolve it is by working together with all the team members at a meeting.
You can learn more about your rights in the special-education process by asking your child's school for a summary of these rights. Also, the National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities provides information on the rights of students with disabilities. Contact this organization at (800) 695-0285, or e-mail email@example.com.
Send questions to Dear Teacher, in care of this newspaper, Box 395, Carmel, IN 46082-0395; or e-mail: DearTeacher@excite.com.
© 2001 Compass Syndicate Corp.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate.