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Monday, November 7, 2011

Being Proactive is Key

     I happen to come across this article called "Special Ed Strategies: Be Clear, Be Proactive, Be Inventive"  I was actually quite impressed.  I have to say I am lucky enough to work in a school that follows most if not all of the proactive steps outlined.  In the past 25 years, I know systems that work better are the ones that are flexible enough to be proactive, see it from the parents perspective and have the administration support.
     If I knew that an extra half hour of speech and language services was going to help a parent feel empowered and more comfortable with the service delivery, I offered it.  Once I worked with a very skilled program manager who had no problem holding marathon IEP meetings.  This made the parent feel like the team cared about their child, was listening to their concerns and taking those concerns seriously.  Rushing meetings or squeezing them into a half hour or hour just feels wrong.
     There are a few other things that would bother me as a parent that I've seen happen in meetings that are not proactive.  I don't see classroom teachers taking notes when specialists are presenting their opinion or findings.  Team members often play musical chairs during meetings.  They leave and don't come back or send someone in their place.  So they only get half the information.  Advice..... be proactive and hire a sub.  I saw one administrator pull out their blackberry during a meeting, hope someone let this new administrator know it wasn't a typical board meeting.
     Being proactive is also a good rule for regular education too.  A good behavioral plan that is consistent can solve a lot of problems.  Creating and initiating universal supports will only strengthen your curriculum and hopefully save time.  Schools need to preach high expectations and follow through.
     I've worked in schools that take proactive measures and schools that didn't.  The schools that didn't are always trying out new programs and new systems as a knee jerk reaction.  Schools like this rarely accomplish anything.  With some proactive measures in place it will be amazing how well your school can run.

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