Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Phone Call That Went Awry....


I just scrolled through the last two months of posts and realized that there is so much that we need to catch up on!
Granted, it's not like I've been just layin' around on some couch (although that couch would've come in handy about one week ago...LOL!) stuffing my face with ice cream or guzzling wine.

Now that I think of it, those ideas don't sound so bad.

But now that both kids' surgeries are done (yes, you read correctly: BOTH!), I can catch you up on the last 6 weeks of school and some of the unnecessary drama that just had to come along with it.

Hmmm? Where do I start?

OH! Let's begin with the conference call that went awry........

In early April (the same day as the Election Day fiasco), we had our Parent-Teacher Conference, remember?
You know, the one where the school's Principal and Social Worker showed up?
Yea, that one!
And seeing that my husband and I were not all that thrilled with the outcome, we decided to call an IEP Meeting.
I submitted my request in writing like a good Mama would, and was surprised to get a response within two days!
Not surprised that the response came in two days, but the fact that they chose a date ONE MONTH AWAY for an IEP Meeting!


Now, I am no Math wiz.
Never was.
Never will be.
However, I can do the basics and when you add up the days with the whole "10 day rule", anything that we decided would not go into effect for Kaitlyn until June 3rd.
School ends for the year on June 7th.
Now you may not think that this date is a big deal, but it is.
And let me tell you why.
You see, the entire *team* knew that Kaitlyn would be having surgery.
And the entire *team* knew that her surgery was going to be on June 3rd.
And the entire *team* knew that her last day of school would be June 2nd.

Do you see where I am going with this???
Kaitlyn's surgery is June 3rd.
Here last day of school is June 2nd.
IEP Meeting called on April 14th.
Response for my meeting is set for May 24th.
Add the 10 day rule here.


Kate won't be there.

Looks like nothing needs to be done for the remainder of this school year in regards to the revised IEP.

See how this is going????

But I am a team player.
I am.
*They* may not think so, but I am.
I am always open to suggestions, and I just ask that you keep me informed.
Plain and simple as that.
Plus, *they*, the Principal, the Supervisors, and I am sure Administration know that my husband and I are not squeaky wheels, demanding ridiculous things for our daughter.
I have actually been told by a certain Supervisor that they know what kind of parents we are and we aren't like that.

So being the team player that I am, I emailed a Supervisor and asked if she would find a bit of time in her schedule to accommodate a teeny tiny meeting with me so that I could talk to her about why we were calling an IEP Meeting.



I am a team player!

So I get a response from this Supervisor and our meeting is set for a Tuesday at 2:00.
I am excited.
I like this Supervisor.
I think (thought) that she and I had a really good working relationship.
We have exchanged emails in the past with great results.
We have had phone calls in the past and she always ended the conversation reassuring me that it's OK.
She's not one of those super-duper-warm-and-fuzzy kind of people, but she is truly nice and is genuinely concerned.
Or so I thought.

1:45pm rolls around on that Tuesday and my phone rings: the Supervisor!
I am eager to talk with her.
I am ready to tell her why we are calling the meeting and that I had no intention whatsoever of blind-siding her or the team in anyway.
In fact, I was ready to email the team with a work-in-progress copy of my revised goals for Kaitlyn.

OK, let's back up a bit in case I have lost any of you.
In our January 2011 IEP Meeting, the words "mainstream to your home school" were thrown at us.


That would mean leaving the comfort of the self-contained environment that we are currently in.
That would mean my little Kaitlyn in a room of 25 other students.


I knew that Kaitlyn could adjust and be able to perform.
But when I looked at our most recent IEP again, I felt that the goals and benchmarks were either super low or ridiculously high.
I wanted something in the middle, something that would challenge her without overwhelming her, something that would utilize her strengths while focusing on her weaknesses.

Isn't that what all good IEPs should be?

And this is what I was excited to tell the Supervisor.

But when she started out or phone call with "I have a meeting at 2:00pm, so what did you want to talk about?", I was floored.
First of all, her email confirmed a meeting at 2:00pm between her and ME.
So she took a chance and called me at 1:45pm so that she could get to her other 2:00pm meeting?
And she is sending me this message in her words right now that I am only worth 15 minutes of her time, if that, because she has another meeting?

Hmmm? I thought only doctors double-booked appointments?

That set the tone for the phone call.
And sadly, that's when the phone call went awry.
Anything that I said was met with a nasty attitude and gruff comment.
It was like a tennis match, and I was losing badly.
Nothing I said was conveying my excitement about mainstreaming and my concerns about some poorly written goals that were not specific to my daughter and her abilities.
Finally, I went there: I told her about our disappointment with the school SLP this year.

Yes I did.

And her response?

(Bold print because she raised her voice to me and hyphenated words because that is how she spoke to me....really!)

I'm sure there was some finger snapping and some neck jiving on the other end of this phone call from her.
Maybe I hit a sore spot, but she had no right to snap at me on the phone like that.
One of her jobs is to listen to a parent and to be supportive of that parents' concerns.
I'm not saying that she has to agree with me...NO WAY!
However, she should have listened to what I had to say and to listen to my reasoning behind my statement.

There was NO listening from this woman.

I didn't just tell her that I thought Burger King had the worst fries!
I told her that we were disappointed in the performance of one of the people that she supervises.
At that, she ended the conversation, stating "I have another meeting to get to!".

I was floored.
So shocked that I didn't know what to say.
I felt like I was just slapped in the face and kicked in the gut at the same time.
Surely this wasn't the same Supervisor that I had a good relationship with, was it?
And that is how the phone call ended.
I didn't even say goodbye.
I think I just hung up when I heard the "click" on the other end and her telling me that she had another meeting to go to.

I remember standing in my kitchen, wondering what just happened in those 23 minutes on the phone.
Maybe she was having a bad day?
I am not sure what went wrong.
I thought for sure that she would call back, if not that day then maybe in the coming days.
Or maybe an email saying "Hey, I know I had to cut our conversation short...are there any more questions you had.....I think we need to talk a little more about why you feel discouraged about the speech services this year....."


That upset me beyond words.
It was to the point that I felt it was necessary to take this incident higher.
And I did.
All I knew is that the relationship I once had with this Supervisor has changed.
And that relationship is now very tarnished.

That story is coming in the next post.................

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  1. Oh, Pattie - I hope you get things sorted soon and I hope your relationship isn't permanently damaged with the school personnel. :-(

  2. so nice post, thanks for sharing.