Sunday, April 17, 2011

IEPs, Chickenpox and Birthdays

[Alternate title for this post: How NOT to Have a Relaxing Weekend.]

It is Sunday night and I am looking around, wondering where on earth the weekend went.

Saturday was a blur of meeting with teachers, non-stop (ok - full disclosure - we did take a 5 minute bathroom break midway through) from 10am until 6:30pm. Eric, the AIC teachers and I began the arduous process of going through literally every single student in the Education Outreach Program and writing end-of-year reports (IEPs) about them. In some cases, it was one-on-one with an individual class teacher, in other cases (such as the nursery classes, which are team-taught by 4 teachers) there were many voices to chime in, as well as consideration of the reports from the volunteers, formal school reports and AIC student evaluations.

In the reports, we discussed and noted down information about each child's academic progress and performance this year, individual strengths and weaknesses, family issues, attendance, and a variety of other things, focusing primarily on what changes (if any) need to be made this coming year to make sure that we are meeting each child's individual educational needs as thoroughly as possible.

In some cases, the plan for meeting the child's academic goals the next year was straightforward - promotion to the next standard in the same school and continuation of normal services through AIC programs.

In other cases, we will be making changes to fine-tune our support for these students and ensure that nobody falls through the cracks - separating trouble-making trios into different tutoring classes (and in one case, different schools), remedial tutoring time for some children, investigating medical issues that the teachers have observed, taking children for ongoing counseling with therapists, working to advance (older) child ahead multiple grades at a time, holding some students back to repeat the academic standard again, changing a few children from Marathi- to English-medium education, and others from government schools to private schools. It was definitely heartening to see how many of our government school students our teachers could wholeheartedly and confidently recommend for competitive private school admissions - especially the girls! Now we have to try to finagle some spots in the schools...

So that was basically all of Saturday. And we only finished planning for about half of our students! The rest of the meetings will take place this week. Whew.

Oh, and before that even started - on Saturday morning, we noticed that the few mosquito-bite-looking red spots on Ramu's arms and chest from Friday had suddenly morphed into many unpleasant-looking raised welts overnight. Oh yes. Ramu has chickenpox. And ours is a family of children with dubious varicella vaccination histories (um, probably none of them, to be perfectly honest) and only vague recollections of childhood illnesses ("I think maybe I had itchy bumps once when I was really little? I dunno..."), so it is entirely possible that Ramu's little chickenpox episode is in the process of developing into a full-blown AIC Residential Program epidemic; only time will tell!

It could be worse though, and Ramu has been pretty happy running around in only his underwear all weekend (wearing clothes makes his welts itch); just another little kink to make the weekend more...interesting. To round out the weekend, we also had a fun little appointment for Tushar with the oral surgeon, Rahul's consultation with the periodontist and visits from the welder/electrician/carpenter/washing machine repairman. AND, to top it off (but in a good way), we celebrated Pooja's birthday today!

Lots lots lots going on here. Sometimes I need to remind myself to stop and catch my breath or it's easy to get steamrolled along through the craziness. But life is good. Busy, but good. That doesn't mean that I don't wish my To Do list wasn't perpetually 4 pages single-spaced. Or that the day had 30 hours instead of only 24. Or that weekends didn't whiz by with no change of pace or opportunities for down time. But stepping back for a moment - writing end-of-year reports for the Education Outreach students and watching the list of high achieving students' names grow in front of my eyes or celebrating birthdays for the Residential kids and reflecting upon how they've grown and how far they've come - everything comes into focus and the extent of what we've actually accomplished becomes clear.

Aaaand on that note, it really is time to get to bed before the start of another manic Monday...

Happy weekend from AIC!

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