Friday, August 24, 2007

Neo, and her start to school

How many meetings can Suisan go to?
1, 2, 3, 4, ....

It's as if I'm living in a jump rope rhyme.

Anyhooo, before school started, I took Neo to a meeting with the VP of the Middle School to address her anxiety about starting back. He wanted to set up a meeting with all of her teachers to discuss her needs and develop a means of enriching her curriculum. But then he decided that she needed a schedule shift so that she could be in classes with her friends. So the meeting was put off.

This week he called to set up the meeting with all of her teachers. 7:40 in the morning before school. Gah. Extreme need for coffee expected.

I decided to bring along one of her sketch pads to show off her art, and show the teachers where her true interest lies. They were all suitably impressed. And I was impressed with them. Good questions, like, "How can we tell when she's tuning out in class? Is she one of those kids who masks really well, or is there an obvious way to tell when she's getting frustrated or bored?" (Answer: I'm not sure. I think she masks well, but you might want to talk to her two favorite teachers from last year and find out what she's like in class when she's engaged.)
(Cool moment: the VP says, "Oh, I've already talked to them and they have given me some excellent insights." OK, then. Wow. Not used to someone being proactive.)

Another good question: "What's her opinion on group work?" (Answer: She hates it. It makes her crazy.) (Cool moment: One teacher says, "I never assign group work if I can help it. The good students look around the room and start thinking of the rest of the class as 'those jokers who are going to bring down my A.'" In fact, all of the teachers expressed their displeasure with group work, to a person.)

I spoke to them about her letter on Monday night, and how she's really not getting the attention she needs at home, but that we're working on it. Also, that we'd like to do extra projects, but if they can be tied into the curriculum, so much the better. Every teacher, all of them, had ideas of extra projects which would appeal to her. (Wow. Prepared for a meeting. I'm not used to someone being proactive.)

At the end of the meeting her Math teacher says, "I'm concerned that she's been placed in the wrong period. She has Math last period in the day, which is hard enough, but in that group of kids she really sticks out like a sore thumb."

The VP asks, "Do you have a period where you think she'd be a better fit?"

"I think Third Period. They're a quiet, focused group of kids."

"OK, she has PE third period. Can we switch her?" Everyone nods. "Right. I'll go put it into the computer when we're done, assuming there's room."

Ye gods. I'm falling off my chair here.

When Neo came home, I asked if anyone had told her about the proposed schedule change, and did she know if it was going to go into effect on Friday? Maybe Monday?

"Oh, no Mom. VP L came to my second period class with a new schedule and told me to go to Math."

"Man, he doesn't miss a beat, does he?"


"Do you like this Math better?"

"Oh YEAH! Third Period Rocks! There's no chattering. It's great!"

Well, then.

For all that I've fought with the school district for my son's needs, I'm sorta blown out of the water with the response at the Middle School. (Although, I have to say here, that I think it's because Neo made friends with this one VP. He's amazing, and I have gotten the run around before from other staffers there. But hey. He's in a position of power and he wants to make school work for Neo. Excellent. Yay!)

She also told me that almost all of her teachers spoke to her privately during the day to say that they were so impressed with her art work, and that they were so happy she was in their class. I wish MY teachers at Middle School had done that for me. Jeez, memories of seventh grade can still pull me awake in the middle of the night. ::Shudder::

I'm not sure that everything's A-100%-OK, as our insistence that she clean her room last night sent her into a sulk, but overall, I'm feeling really good that SHE has someone she can go to on campus when she needs help, and I have someone I can call if things start spiralling. Good feeling, that.


Kerry said...

Good to hear some good news. I hope the changes work out well.

Chris said...

I'm really glad the school is pulling for Neo - that can make a huge difference.

I have to confess that as much as I sympathize with you, and how heartbreaking your son's problems have been, my heart really goes out to Neo 'cause I've been in her shoes (oldest kid, troubled younger brother, cute & attention-getting youngest sibling).

I really hope everything goes better for all of you this year.

Suisan said...

Being the oldest, brightest, most accomplished, most mature kid in the family, the one who never acts up but keeps on getting good grades and making good friends is not all that great. Because it gives everyone a built in excuse not to pay attention.

I wish I lived closer to family. She needs a grandmother or an aunt or a cousin to take her under their wing, just to have another adult or older person around to give her some TIME.

Neo said...

So true, so true.

Angela James said...

I'm so glad something went right for you and Neo, Suisan. Good teachers and a good support staff really do make all the difference, don't they.

And look, the talented Neo is here :) When do we get to see more artwork?

Neo said...

I'm almost done with one, it should be finished by the end of tomorrow :) People actually look at my stuff on here! It's amazing :D