Today is Maggie’s last day of Summer School. Her first full year of high school is behind her. That is hard to believe. Even though it was a transition year, it’s been another great year for Maggie school wise. Many special ed parents are frustrated by the programs and services their kids get from school districts. Not me. The program she is in fits Maggie like a glove. She is thriving and excelling because of that.
Of course it’s more than the “program” it’s the people who make it work. Maggie has always had excellent teachers who are committed to Maggie and her peers. This is not an easy population to teach. Often the physical disabilities make it more difficult to figure out the intellectual level of the child. If Student X is not hitting a switch to make the talker work it could be that s/he doesn’t understand why s/he should hit the switch or it could mean that s/he cannot move the right arm to reach it. There is a lot of trial and error, starting and stopping. Yet the engine chugs and everyone moves forward.
A friend who has a child in the same program a couple of years behind Maggie was lamenting an unexpected change in teachers and I told her I believe the success is a combination of the teacher, the program and the student. I said that to make her feel better and maybe to reassure myself as well. Maggie, too, is facing a change in personnel.
Maggie’s teacher, Ms. Taylor is moving away. San Francisco is a place where many young people come to stay for a while, but when it is really time to settle, they leave because it’s so expensive here. A teacher’s salary will go a lot farther in other parts of the country. We already know who the new teacher will be. She is already at Mission, everybody likes her and she already knows all the kids, so I am hopeful things will continue to chug forward. I have no doubt that it will, and even though Maggie will have another transition, it will be relatively smooth.
Maggie will miss Ms. Taylor. They really hit it off. Ms. Taylor’s energy and talent are great. the kids were happy and engaged in the class and with one another. She also managed the classroom like an old pro and there is a lot of management involved. There are classroom aides, nurses, in the class and therapists, teachers and others in and out of that classroom all day long. Ms. Taylor had to juggle all the needs of all the kids and all the personalities of all the adults. She did it all with a smile.