Today, we had Ella’s kindergarten transition meeting. I have been waiting for this meeting for a while and wondered at times if it was ever going to happen, especially since the BC Teachers are currently on strike.
I am no different than any other parent: I think, but we’re not just talking about any child, we are talking about my child. Furthermore, I have heard so many stories about IEP meetings that I was quite anxious about what this meeting would look like…assuming it would resemble said meetings. But I am pretty sure it was nothing like an IEP meeting. And quite frankly, the whole thing was quite laid back. We just talked about Ella. Her preschool teachers were in attendance and explained to the principal of the school Ella will be attending about her personality – what she was like in school, where she struggled and some strategies that might help. Of course, the principal has already met Ella, so not much of this was new or came as a surprise. The principle as mentioned has played a big role in our decision to enrol Ella in French Immersion. She is supportive. To her, it probably seems like no more than being fair and inclusive but to me, she may as well be wearing a little cheerleading uniform with a big “E” on it and holding blue and white pom poms.
The fact of the matter is, is that the resistance to our decision has been limited from the Vancouver School Board. I felt some hesitation from our Transition Coordinator but since there has been so little contact with her anyway, it’s somewhat inapplicable. She couldn’t even be there today because of the lock out. (Thanks for NOTHING Christy Clark).
In short, there were many things that were said today that I was encouraged about.
There was an understanding of our main priority, which is SAFETY.
There was an understanding about the fact that we are hoping for an aid that knows sign language. The representative that was there for the Transition Coordinator said that they can post the job for an aid and say that sign language is required. This conversation originally came up because Lord Tennyson, where Ella will attend, is an all-french school. When the principal asked me how I thought Ella would do with this, I told her my hope of having an aid with ASL because if Ella failed to understand the french, she would understand the ASL. The principle said that they have a WONDERFUL aid who speaks sign language as they also have a student in the school who is hearing impaired. Moreover, and here is where the assumptions come in, the rep from the school board said at one point to the principal that the school was getting another .5 position because Ella was going to be attending…
Between you and me, this is what I was hoping for. It may be a completely unfounded theory, but part of me thought that since there are fewer children with special needs in French Immersion schools, the funding allocated to Ella might actually get to be used by Ella as opposed to when there are many children with special needs (many more delayed or complex than Ella), and the money is pooled and subsequently allocated with need. In my mind, I thought Ella has low needs, therefore her funding could very possibly be used for things that wouldn’t even affect her.
And finally, there was… possibly not a mutual excitement but at least an understanding of my excitement surrounding this endeavour.
After all, if we don’t try, we will never know. Come Ella, let’s show them how you can shine.