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    #171439 - 10/16/13 07:07 AM How do we prepare for meeting?
    22B Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/10/13
    Posts: 1228
    We've been called into a meeting with the principal, the guidance counselor and the gifted teacher. (It's a telephone conference call, since this is a virtual school.) Despite asking, we have not been told what it's about, how long it will last, or how it will be conducted.

    How do we prepare?

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    #171440 - 10/16/13 07:19 AM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Insist on knowing an agenda-- first thing.

    THEN, if you feel that you are not prepared for the meeting, politely thank everyone for their time and reschedule.

    "Unfortunately, we were not made aware of the agenda in advance. Regretfully, I don't feel as though I can meaningfully contribute the data/etc. I could otherwise have had available to the team."


    Before that, though, I'd try a WRITTEN communication to that effect with the entire team-- insist that you be informed of the meeting's purpose.

    "I appreciate that we are all busy people, and therefore I am eager to make the best use of our time on {date}'s meeting. I would like to be prepared to act as a useful member of the team and make our time together most efficient. To further this goal, what is the general purpose of the meeting scheduled for {date/time}?"

    IN. WRITING.

    If you get a phone call back, respond IN WRITING with a summary of that phone call.

    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #171447 - 10/16/13 08:02 AM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: HowlerKarma]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4957
    Quote:
    ... I'd try a WRITTEN communication to that effect with the entire team-- insist that you be informed of the meeting's purpose.

    "I appreciate that we are all busy people, and therefore I am eager to make the best use of our time on {date}'s meeting. I would like to be prepared to act as a useful member of the team and make our time together most efficient. To further this goal, what is the general purpose of the meeting scheduled for {date/time}?"

    IN. WRITING.

    If you get a phone call back, respond IN WRITING with a summary of that phone call.
    Agreed.

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    #171455 - 10/16/13 08:54 AM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    Dude Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/04/11
    Posts: 2856
    HK's advice is sound, but they could still insist on having the meeting at the scheduled time, and ignore your requests for an agenda. In that case, I'd still go to the meeting, but I'd treat it as a discovery meeting, in which no decisions should be made (unless they're obvious and everyone is more or less in accord). It would be their opportunity to share their concerns, whatever they may be. I'd take note of everything they say, and then verify their claims later, and discuss with the whole family, before making any changes.

    The only decisions to be made at the meeting are:

    - What further information should I request from the school?
    - When should we meet for follow-up?

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    #171457 - 10/16/13 09:02 AM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Yes.

    It's often an early indicator that they don't consider your input meaningful or useful-- so you're right to be concerned about it...

    on the other hand, you can still (pleasantly, professionally) turn them on to the idea that YOU are the source of information about your child's idiosyncratic needs. Because nobody else has that expertise the way that you do-- you live it.

    That makes you an essential partner for the school. Even if THEY don't yet know it. In fact, in a virtual model, you're absolutely crucial to any educational solutions.

    Take very very careful notes-- insist on getting participant names.

    If you want specific virtual school advocacy tips-- give me a PM and we can discuss details of org charts for different organizations. smile
    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #171640 - 10/17/13 01:02 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: HowlerKarma]
    22B Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/10/13
    Posts: 1228
    We had asked about subject acceleration for DS7, but got no answer. Then we got called to this meeting next week, without explanation. So we can at least guess that acceleration is to be discussed. (But then again, we can't be sure. It's weird to have a guidance counselor there, as if fast learning is some kind of social problem)

    There could be a relatively innocent explanation for their lack of communication. It could just be incompetence or thoughtlessness, or being too busy. But on the other hand they could be intentionally playing games and keeping us in the dark. We have encountered foot dragging, stonewalling, making up rules as they go along, and even prevention of acceleration, so we can't help but to have our hackles up.

    We don't know what's coming. We don't know if we're going to be ambushed and presented with a fait accompli, or if instead they are going to listen to us and support what we want. We're going in blind, and I think we're just going to have to be quick on our feet to respond to whatever develops.

    I've already asked what the meeting is about, and got no answer, so I won't ask again. We can't afford to postpone/cancel the meeting since that could just further delay acceleration and/or delay us finding out that they'll refuse or obstruct acceleration, in which case we need to consider our options and next steps as soon as possible (including escalating or leaving the school). At least in the meeting we hope they'll finally show us their cards (in this game they're choosing to play).

    This is a virtual school, so getting the next grade level in a subject only costs them a few mouse clicks as far as I can tell. (I've asked them if it costs them any money, but they won't tell me.) There's really no reason to obstruct acceleration in a virtual school. But I think some administrators/educators just instinctively feel that they always have to be putting the brakes on as a matter of principle.

    The gifted teacher totally supports us, but is not the decision maker.

    The virtual school has the potential to work out, but I'm really ready to bail out if they're going to obstruct our kids progressing as we want.

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    #171642 - 10/17/13 01:05 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    epoh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/31/11
    Posts: 954
    Loc: N. Texas
    Just FYI - In many traditional schools the counselor does double duty as the class scheduler.
    _________________________
    ~amy

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    #171646 - 10/17/13 01:20 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    ohmathmom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/27/13
    Posts: 161
    Loc: Ohio
    Guidance counselors were present at my DD's acceleration meeting, so it's not necessarily a bad sign. As epoh said, they are often in charge of scheduling. The guidance counselor arranged my DD's schedule and is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the acceleration plan.

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    #171665 - 10/17/13 02:45 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    22B Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/10/13
    Posts: 1228
    Hmmm, we don't follow any kind of schedule in this virtual school, so that wouldn't explain the guidance counselor. In fact I've never encountered a guidance counselor before, and I don't really know what one is, or what they'd be doing in a meeting.

    It's the principal that's the unknown for us.

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    #171676 - 10/17/13 03:37 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    We had asked about subject acceleration for DS7, but got no answer. Then we got called to this meeting next week, without explanation. So we can at least guess that acceleration is to be discussed.


    Well, my guess is also that this is what this is about.

    Most virtual schools are not terribly rigid about scheduling or synchronous learning/pacing in the EARLY grades, but may become moreso in later grades-- or with GT program offerings where students are in more inquiry-led coursework with classmates (that would actually be a GOOD thing, btw).

    We had a big powwow kind of meeting with a bunch of different players when we affected my DD's skip at the end (?) of 5th. It wasn't that big a deal-- DH and I were the ones who were on the fence, actually-- everyone else was emphatically on the side of acceleration. LOL.
    _________________________
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    #171688 - 10/17/13 05:13 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    HappilyMom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/20/11
    Posts: 417
    My short experience has been that guidance counselors or social workers are usually included to speak to the "social/emotional" aspects.... Unfortunately they are sometimes uninformed about the true social and emotional impacts of not accelerating a HG child.

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    #171766 - 10/18/13 08:15 AM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: HappilyMom]
    22B Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/10/13
    Posts: 1228
    Originally Posted By: HappilyMom
    My short experience has been that guidance counselors or social workers are usually included to speak to the "social/emotional" aspects.... Unfortunately they are sometimes uninformed about the true social and emotional impacts of not accelerating a HG child.


    That's what I was fearing, and I don't want that kind of stuff to derail the conversation.


    Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
    Most virtual schools are not terribly rigid about scheduling or synchronous learning/pacing in the EARLY grades, but may become more so in later grades...


    Okay, you may be onto something here. We've been able to do most (but definitely not all) subject acceleration we wanted, but it could be that it's just dawned on them that DS7 will exhaust their available math courses (up to AP calc BC) by some time in middle school, and they're freaking out about "what then?" It really shouldn't be a big deal. DS can do college math while doing high school courses in the things he's not very advanced in. I'm hoping we can just talk them into calming down and letting us do what we as parents (and experienced educators and mathematicians) think is right.

    But it's frustrating. We don't know what the meeting's really about. We don't know if they just want to talk, or if they want to listen to us. We don't know if they're focusing on the short term (the subject accelerations we want now), or the long term (what to do when their subjects run out).

    We do know what is acceptable to us, so at least by the end of the meeting we'll have some idea if this school can be made to work for DS (and younger siblings).

    Originally Posted By: Dude
    ...they could still insist on having the meeting at the scheduled time, and ignore your requests for an agenda. In that case, I'd still go to the meeting, but I'd treat it as a discovery meeting,...


    Exactly.


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    #171872 - 10/18/13 07:29 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    22B Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/10/13
    Posts: 1228
    I just remembered a couple of comments from the gifted teacher a while ago that might indicate the school's attitude. She said that we needed to advocate for DS7. Now, she totally supports us and agrees with our plans, and advocates for us in the school, so her comment must mean that she feels she has limited influence, and that her advocacy for gifted students in the school is meeting with resistance (at least in our case). This is not good sign.

    The gifted teacher also asked us if we'd considered homeschooling. (This is a virtual school, so we are essentially homeschooling anyway, except we give up freedom to get free courses and a transcript.) This comment suggests she is not hopeful that the school will cater to DS7 so that we would be better off leaving and doing regular homeschooling. This is also not good sign.

    Actually these comments by the gifted teacher are about the only information we have to go on, going into this meeting.

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    #172068 - 10/20/13 01:12 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    22B Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/10/13
    Posts: 1228
    Any more thoughts? The comments here are helping me prepare for this "mystery meeting".

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    #172071 - 10/20/13 01:34 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    ColinsMum Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/08
    Posts: 1898
    Loc: Scotland
    Try not to theorise ahead of your data.

    But... When we were similarly summoned (thread)
    I did essentially two related things - I thought about how to articulate what we wanted to consider for DS, and why, and I thought about how to explain the steps we'd already taken (so that I had an answer if we were accused of messing DS up by "allowing" him to get ahead).

    For us the meeting turned out entirely positive - good luck for yours doing so too!
    _________________________
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    #172072 - 10/20/13 01:39 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4957
    Originally Posted By: 22B
    ... helping me prepare for this "mystery meeting".

    Lots of good advice has been shared here and on other threads recently as it seems several families are facing rather unnerving in-person or virtual meetings. Some of the tips were -
    - Research the school or district policies and practices. This information is often found on their website. You may wish to print and put this in an advocacy ring binder to refer to over the years as the policies/practices may change over time.
    - Have any test results and other pertinent facts available
    - Know what you are asking for
    - Agenda
    - Know who is in the meeting, and their role(s)
    - Stay calm
    - Take notes so you can summarize in an e-mail afterward
    - Use active listening (rephrase what has been said, and put it in a question form) to clarify understanding
    - Listen to any proposals they may make, ask appropriate probing questions, such as how a proposal may work, how the proposal may help your child, etc
    - Do not be forced to make a decision if you need time
    - Summarize next steps & time frames, and/or need for a follow-up meeting
    - Thank everyone for their time & interest
    - Write a summary (points of agreement, etc)

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    #172074 - 10/20/13 03:03 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    ^ +1.

    All of that is great. I'd also keep a very open mind, and imagine the BEST possible reasons as well as the nightmare scenarios that are cavorting through your imagination at the moment, too. wink

    It could be that the GT teacher has pushed to have a meeting so that she and you can tag-team the others. True?
    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #172141 - 10/21/13 08:14 AM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    22B Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/10/13
    Posts: 1228
    Thanks for the advice. We are thinking through all the possibilities to be prepared for anything, but we would have appreciated the basic courtesy of having been told what the meeting is specifically about, what their current thoughts are, and what our input is to be. It's a bad sign that they put us in the lurch like this.

    This is a virtual school, so what they have to offer is free course materials and a transcript (and some structure) that regular homeschoolers may not get. All we want is that they send the next course when the previous one is complete and to let our kid work at his own pace. But they can refuse to do this and have done so in the past in some cases. They have not told us their intentions this time even though they know they easily could have.

    They could be wanting to discuss the longer term, what happens when their courses run out. (They could have let us know whether that is a topic of discussion, but they didn't.)

    Some email communication first about what the topics are and what everyone thinks would have been better before any meeting.

    The meeting was called by the principal who is new and who we have never communicated with.


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    #172163 - 10/21/13 10:18 AM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Also possible that they plan to feel you out for use as a marketing tool.

    (I know that sounds farfetched-- but if you have a PG child in a virtual school, trust me, it ISN'T.)

    I agree that you need to say something about the fact that they seem to have deliberately blindsided you with this meeting, and that's just plain RUDE.

    I'd use language like; "respect for the partnership" and "team" there. Well, you know what I'm getting at-- and so will they, no matter how nicely you phrase things.

    An innocent "Wow, I sure wish I'd known what all of this was about before our meeting.... I'd have been able to facilitate this process and we'd all have wasted so much less time on it..."
    should make your point very nicely.

    They HAVE to regard parents as partners given how the model operates. Period. They aren't doing that if they are keeping you in the dark about educational planning and meetings.
    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #172168 - 10/21/13 10:44 AM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    Zen Scanner Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/13/12
    Posts: 1478
    Loc: NC
    Last year when DS was in 1st we setup a meeting with the GT coordinator to discuss what next with him. We went in intending to suggest a skip to third which would also get him into the full time GT program. Amusingly she came to the meeting intending to suggest a skip to third which she had discussed with the principal. The whole of the agenda was "what next" for him.

    We didn't mention the skip beforehand because we wanted to get a sense of the options and the school's stance. The coordinator was waiting for the meeting also to probe our feelings. So, great outcome, positive intentions all around, sort of comical and DS is in third this year.

    When I find myself in a meeting without an agenda that is a surprise, I usually try to break the ice with stating something like "I was confused about the purpose of this meeting. I was guessing it is that you are concerned that the program isn't meeting our needs and wanted to figure out how to help."

    Or something similar, where I ascribe the best possible intentions to the person calling the meeting. If I've misjudged their intentions, then it is on them to now paint a more negative picture of their intent.

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    #172172 - 10/21/13 11:20 AM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: HowlerKarma]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4957
    Quote:
    They HAVE to regard parents as partners given how the model operates. Period. They aren't doing that if they are keeping you in the dark about educational planning and meetings.

    Some schools may monitor the educational process in the home by tracking computer usage, for example: logging website visits, turning on the video cam and computer microphone. This creates a different type of partnership, one of unequals: laborers and overseers. In this model, the parents become the laborers, and the government schools are the overseers.

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    #172177 - 10/21/13 11:42 AM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    Sweetie Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/05/11
    Posts: 669
    I am so putting a post it over our camera lens.
    _________________________
    ...reading is pleasure, not just something teachers make you do in school.~B. Cleary

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    #172184 - 10/21/13 12:12 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: indigo]
    ConnectingDots Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/06/13
    Posts: 848
    Originally Posted By: indigo

    Some schools may monitor the educational process in the home by tracking computer usage, for example: logging website visits, turning on the video cam and computer microphone. This creates a different type of partnership, one of unequals: laborers and overseers.


    Indigo, this post has troubled me since you put it online. Is this with or without permission? I would think without permission would open a school up for considerable liability...

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    #172187 - 10/21/13 12:28 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: ConnectingDots]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4957
    Originally Posted By: ConnectingDots
    Originally Posted By: indigo

    Some schools may monitor the educational process in the home by tracking computer usage, for example: logging website visits, turning on the video cam and computer microphone. This creates a different type of partnership, one of unequals: laborers and overseers.

    ... this post has troubled me... Is this with or without permission? I would think without permission would open a school up for considerable liability...

    What a school deems necessary oversight may vary, as may any notifications in parent or student handbooks vis-a-vis terms of use, privacy policies, academic honesty policies, etc. B&Ms which issue or require laptops/i-Pads, online courses, and virtual schools may have policies which parents may look up or ask about.

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    #172188 - 10/21/13 12:37 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: indigo]
    madeinuk Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/18/13
    Posts: 1453
    Loc: NJ
    This just better be a joke. While it is technically feasible, the idea the someone in the school can have a video camera going in a child's bedroom would open a district up to so many lawsuits I just do not see it ever being implemented.
    _________________________
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    #172197 - 10/21/13 01:07 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    momoftwins Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/27/13
    Posts: 156
    This happened in a suburb of Philadelphia a few years ago, resulting in a lawsuit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robbins_v._Lower_Merion_School_District


    Edited by momoftwins (10/21/13 01:07 PM)

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    #172200 - 10/21/13 01:12 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    ashley Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/26/12
    Posts: 639
    22B, you can go into the meeting and just listen and take notes. If they spring a surprise on you and ask you to make decisions on the spot on anything, you have a right to refuse to a commitment and ask for time to make your decision since you have no advance warning.


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    #172201 - 10/21/13 01:13 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: momoftwins]
    ConnectingDots Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/06/13
    Posts: 848
    Originally Posted By: momoftwins
    This happened in a suburb of Philadelphia a few years ago, resulting in a lawsuit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robbins_v._Lower_Merion_School_District


    Awful.

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    #172202 - 10/21/13 01:14 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: madeinuk]
    ashley Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/26/12
    Posts: 639
    I have always had an eery feeling that the microphone was ON when DS took online placement tests for placement into any gifted education program (to monitor if he was doing the tests without outside help). I have no proof, though.

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    #172203 - 10/21/13 01:16 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    ConnectingDots Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/06/13
    Posts: 848
    My DH does have something over his laptop's camera. Fortunately, that's the one DS uses.

    Sorry for hijacking the thread. I'm still appalled, but not surprised, given some of the so-called educators I've met.

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    #172214 - 10/21/13 01:43 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    NotSoGifted Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/14/12
    Posts: 453
    There was wrongdoing on the part of LMSD, but if you read up on the family, it is not the first time they have been involved in lawsuits. They were looking for lawsuits because they needed the money - they had the largest delinquent residential electric bill that the electric company ever saw. They owed money to a lot of other folks too. The kid did not have permission to take the laptop home because the family did not pay the insurance fee - that is supposedly why LMSD turned on the tracking/camera (to locate the computer). The FBI found no evidence of criminal intent and cleared the folks at the school district.


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    #172252 - 10/21/13 05:33 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: momoftwins]
    madeinuk Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/18/13
    Posts: 1453
    Loc: NJ
    Originally Posted By: momoftwins
    This happened in a suburb of Philadelphia a few years ago, resulting in a lawsuit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robbins_v._Lower_Merion_School_District


    Having read that article, I think, as right-thinking person ought to, that the lawyers fees as a proportion of the settlement were the most obscene piece of information revealed in it.
    _________________________
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    #172346 - 10/22/13 09:02 AM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Can you report on your meeting once you've had a chance to process it all?

    I'm very curious as to the explanation of why you were being kept in the dark. (My own experiences suggest that such things are often inept communication or a complete lack of understanding of parents-as-partners on the part of administrators, but that's just me.)

    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #172452 - 10/23/13 08:16 AM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    22B Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/10/13
    Posts: 1228
    Yikes! Major thread hijack!

    Anyway, some of you have had good experiences with these "mystery meetings" and I've thought through all the possibilities both good and bad to try to be prepared. I'd also like to know the reason for their lack of communication about the meeting, which has forced us to prepare for a wide range of contingencies, most of which won't happen. (I'm very annoyed that they've done this.)

    So we'll listen to what they have to tell us (and finally find out what page they're on). We'll explain clearly what we think should happen and why.

    If they will not appropriately accommodate/accelerate our DS (and we want things to be set up for younger siblings in the future) then we have to figure out what to do next. We could complain/appeal to the school's board, the education department, the k12.com company etcetera. Also we could leave the school at some point. The question is, do we say so in the meeting (that we could complain and/or leave)? Or do we avoid potential escalation during the meeting itself, and instead just firmly express our dissatisfaction at the time, and then later, maybe after thinking it over, then go ahead and make our complaints/appeals, and/or make plans to leave the school?

    Thoughts?



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    #172455 - 10/23/13 08:51 AM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: NotSoGifted]
    syoblrig Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/18/11
    Posts: 329
    Originally Posted By: NotSoGifted
    There was wrongdoing on the part of LMSD, but if you read up on the family, it is not the first time they have been involved in lawsuits. They were looking for lawsuits because they needed the money - they had the largest delinquent residential electric bill that the electric company ever saw. They owed money to a lot of other folks too. The kid did not have permission to take the laptop home because the family did not pay the insurance fee - that is supposedly why LMSD turned on the tracking/camera (to locate the computer). The FBI found no evidence of criminal intent and cleared the folks at the school district.



    Sorry to belabor this, as I'm interested in the original thread.

    But LMSD LOST the lawsuit, so clearly there was a crime committed. His family's monetary issues have nothing to do with his privacy rights being violated, and I'm curious why you're linking the two.

    I would certainly file a lawsuit if my son's school surreptitiously took pictures in in his bedroom with his school-issued computer, regardless of what they got on camera.

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    #172456 - 10/23/13 08:54 AM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    syoblrig Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/18/11
    Posts: 329
    Originally Posted By: 22B


    If they will not appropriately accommodate/accelerate our DS (and we want things to be set up for younger siblings in the future) then we have to figure out what to do next. We could complain/appeal to the school's board, the education department, the k12.com company etcetera. Also we could leave the school at some point. The question is, do we say so in the meeting (that we could complain and/or leave)? Or do we avoid potential escalation during the meeting itself, and instead just firmly express our dissatisfaction at the time, and then later, maybe after thinking it over, then go ahead and make our complaints/appeals, and/or make plans to leave the school?

    Thoughts?




    We've had similar meetings and our message was always, "We want to make this work and we don't want to have to leave the school, so what can we do?" Your message might be "We don't want to involve the district, so we can we do?"

    Good luck!

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    #172458 - 10/23/13 09:38 AM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Quote:
    (snip) do we avoid potential escalation during the meeting itself, and instead just firmly express our dissatisfaction at the time, and then later, maybe after thinking it over, then go ahead and make our complaints/appeals, and/or make plans to leave the school?

    Thoughts?

    Okay-- if they say something unexpected (distinct possibility, right, since they've left you in the dark)--

    be noncommittal.

    "Hmm. That's interesting. We will need to consider this. Can we follow up in a week?"

    DO NOT commit to anything if they surprise you, and my recommendation is that as far as possible, you should attempt to not even RESPOND to it one way or the other. At the time, I mean.
    I always vote for passive resistance and inertia w/r/t escalation-- because it's SO hard to deescalate later. At this point, you don't even know for sure who is invited to this meeting-- whether it involves corporate/national or just local administrators.


    Remember, virtual school means that you can just flat out ignore it for a week or two if they seriously tick you off, or radically alter placement against your wishes. Your child's environment ONLY changes in a pragmatic sense IF you agree to it. So you don't have to TELL them anything at all-- you can be enrolling somewhere else effective immediately-- or homeschool-- and not tell them for a few weeks.

    So you don't have a lot at stake, realistically. You can afford to be patient and play the long-range game, because you have control of your child's educational setting from day to day.

    smile Remember that.
    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #172461 - 10/23/13 10:14 AM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    polarbear Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/29/11
    Posts: 3363
    Originally Posted By: 22B

    The question is, do we say so in the meeting (that we could complain and/or leave)? Or do we avoid potential escalation during the meeting itself, and instead just firmly express our dissatisfaction at the time, and then later, maybe after thinking it over, then go ahead and make our complaints/appeals, and/or make plans to leave the school?


    I have not been in this specific situation 22B, but I have been to more than a few school meetings where something was said or a direction was taken that caught me by suprise and I wasn't prepared for. My choice has always been to do my best to not react, leave any potential emotion out of it, and simply say "This is new information" (or "unexpected information"). I will take some time to think it over (you can say a week or ten days or two days or whatever if you want to, or just say "some time") and then I'll be in touch."

    I wouldn't give any answers at the actual meeting or put anything else out there for the school - it may just be my personality, but I find it helpful to give myself the time to really think it over - and more importantly, think over how I will respond and what words/approach I'l use. 99% of the time I already know *what* I want to *do*, but my first impulses re *how* I want to say it to the school isn't the same approach I'd choose after I'd had time to think it through - so it's my way of giving myself the opportunity to put thought into my response and hopefully avoid ruffling feathers etc when I might not want to or need to.

    Taking this extra time before replying has also occasionally led the school to back down a bit or give in a bit when they were making a decision that was way different than what we were hoping for - because just the act of putting off any more input/decisions for a small amount of time alerted them to worry that we were upset (even though I did my best to always keep the response "we will think about it and get back to you" very calm and devoid of emotion).

    polarbear


    Edited by polarbear (10/23/13 10:16 AM)

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    #172465 - 10/23/13 10:32 AM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    momoftwins Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/27/13
    Posts: 156
    Originally Posted By: 22B
    We could complain/appeal to the school's board, the education department, the k12.com company etcetera. Also we could leave the school at some point. The question is, do we say so in the meeting (that we could complain and/or leave)? Or do we avoid potential escalation during the meeting itself, and instead just firmly express our dissatisfaction at the time, and then later, maybe after thinking it over, then go ahead and make our complaints/appeals, and/or make plans to leave the school?

    Thoughts?


    It is really hard to believe that they are being so unprofessional and are still refusing to provide you with the reason for the meeting. Given their unprofessional behavior in setting up the meeting, it seems reasonable to expect them to continue to act the same way in the meeting. Personally, in that situation, I would listen to what they have to say, and then, if necessary ask for another meeting at a later date in order to properly prepare my response. I would not let them push me into a decision at that meeting, without time to think about it.

    I would insist on setting the next meeting date while we were still at the meeting. If you feel the need to escalate, even now before the meeting, you should do it, but I don't think you have to warn them that you are thinking about doing so. I would tell them as little as possible about your plans while you are at the meeting.

    Also, make sure to send them a letter in writing that acknowledges for the record that you requested information as to the purpose of the meeting several times, and your requests were ignored.

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    #172471 - 10/23/13 11:35 AM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    Dude Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/04/11
    Posts: 2856
    Originally Posted By: 22B
    If they will not appropriately accommodate/accelerate our DS (and we want things to be set up for younger siblings in the future) then we have to figure out what to do next. We could complain/appeal to the school's board, the education department, the k12.com company etcetera. Also we could leave the school at some point. The question is, do we say so in the meeting (that we could complain and/or leave)? Or do we avoid potential escalation during the meeting itself, and instead just firmly express our dissatisfaction at the time, and then later, maybe after thinking it over, then go ahead and make our complaints/appeals, and/or make plans to leave the school?

    Thoughts?


    I would keep all those options in my back pocket, for now. The main thing is, you don't want to be reacting out of emotion, because then things get said in the wrong way, feelings get hurt, and it gets even harder to deal with these people than it otherwise would be. If there's any way of making things work, then it becomes a long-term relationship with the school, and any unnecessary damage done to the relationship will only make things harder in the future.

    A day or two after the meeting, when you've had the chance to cool off, might be the time to send out a follow-up email to the tune of, "We really need a solution to X. If the school is not interested in being a part of the solution, we're prepared to investigate other options."

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    #172473 - 10/23/13 11:55 AM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    22B Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/10/13
    Posts: 1228
    Thanks for the suggestions everyone. This is definitely helping.

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    #172479 - 10/23/13 12:25 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    It is really helpful with a virtual school that the duty of care is always (ultimately) with parents. The school can't do ANY unilateral decision-making that we recognize as toxic-- because we simply opt to not expose our kids to it and do something else while it gets settled. My favorite thing about this model, in fact. smile
    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #172490 - 10/23/13 01:16 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    Sweetie Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/05/11
    Posts: 669
    When IS this mystery meeting? Gosh darn I need for the suspense to be over!
    _________________________
    ...reading is pleasure, not just something teachers make you do in school.~B. Cleary

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    #172512 - 10/23/13 05:39 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4957
    Originally Posted By: 22B
    ...we'll listen to what they have to tell us
    Yes, it is good to have them speak first. If asked to speak first, you may simply wish to ask why they called the meeting, and ask for introductions of all who are present. You may wish to take notes.
    Originally Posted By: 22B
    Thoughts?

    Great advice from other posters:
    Quote:
    Okay-- if they say something unexpected (distinct possibility, right, since they've left you in the dark)--

    be noncommittal.

    "Hmm. That's interesting. We will need to consider this. Can we follow up in a week?" ... At this point, you don't even know for sure who is invited to this meeting-- whether it involves corporate/national or just local administrators...

    Originally Posted By: polarbear
    I have been to more than a few school meetings where something was said or a direction was taken that caught me by suprise and I wasn't prepared for. My choice has always been to do my best to not react, leave any potential emotion out of it, and simply say "This is new information" (or "unexpected information"). I will take some time to think it over (you can say a week or ten days or two days or whatever if you want to, or just say "some time") and then I'll be in touch."

    I wouldn't give any answers at the actual meeting or put anything else out there for the school...

    Originally Posted By: momoftwins
    Personally, in that situation, I would listen to what they have to say, and then, if necessary ask for another meeting at a later date in order to properly prepare my response. I would not let them push me into a decision at that meeting, without time to think about it... I would tell them as little as possible about your plans while you are at the meeting.

    Originally Posted By: syoblrig
    We've had similar meetings and our message was always, "We want to make this work and we don't want to have to leave the school, so what can we do?" Your message might be "We don't want to involve the district, so we can we do?"
    You may also wish to write a friendly e-mail summarizing the meeting, areas of agreement, timeframes, decisions deferred, date/time of any follow-up meeting, etc?

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    #172535 - 10/23/13 09:51 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: indigo]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4957
    Originally Posted By: indigo
    Originally Posted By: ConnectingDots
    Originally Posted By: indigo

    Some schools may monitor the educational process in the home by tracking computer usage, for example: logging website visits, turning on the video cam and computer microphone. This creates a different type of partnership, one of unequals: laborers and overseers.

    ... this post has troubled me... Is this with or without permission? I would think without permission would open a school up for considerable liability...

    What a school deems necessary oversight may vary, as may any notifications in parent or student handbooks vis-a-vis terms of use, privacy policies, academic honesty policies, etc. B&Ms which issue or require laptops/i-Pads, online courses, and virtual schools may have policies which parents may look up or ask about.

    Rather than delve into debating specifics of any particular case, the point on-topic was to raise awareness that monitoring can occur. Institutions may have the upper hand, as they may write permissions and/or notifications into policy. IT World shows several answers posted to the question, "How can I tell if my laptop is being monitored?" This may be found online using a search engine. The content of gifted forum posts may also be found listed among the results provided by search engines.

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    #172593 - 10/24/13 10:53 AM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    22B Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/10/13
    Posts: 1228
    Thanks for all the advice everyone. I feel as ready as I can be. I'm just going to try to relax. And wait.

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    #172647 - 10/24/13 05:59 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    Sweetie Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/05/11
    Posts: 669
    When is the meeting?
    _________________________
    ...reading is pleasure, not just something teachers make you do in school.~B. Cleary

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    #172934 - 10/28/13 08:15 AM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    22B Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/10/13
    Posts: 1228
    Okay with all the uncertainty, it wasn't too bad in the end. I wish they hadn't made us wait a couple of weeks to have any idea what they were thinking.

    They will allow the acceleration we want, at least in the short term (they hadn't always allowed it in the past, hence our concern) so at least the near future is taken care of for now (and we avoid any fights or dramas, phew).

    One thing they brought up was that a student may not get high school credit for high school courses taken while in elementary school, nor for college courses taken while in high school. So if a kid is too advanced, they may not be able to graduate from high school. I don't think they are BSing us, as I have read people on this forum bringing up this kind of anomaly, and I suppose a school administrator should be watching out for this kind of thing and warning us. Then they asked us if we'd consider doing this or that to avoid this scenario, but we said no we just want to let DS move through the courses at his pace and when it comes to things like high school credit we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. There will surely be some (common sense?) solution to the high school credit problem, so we just want them (the virtual school) to deliver the courses when needed. We'll see what happens, but at least we've got a better idea of where they stand.

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    #172940 - 10/28/13 08:51 AM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Quote:

    There will surely be some (common sense?) solution to the high school credit problem, so we just want them (the virtual school) to deliver the courses when needed.



    Ooooooo-- I'd be very very careful there.

    There is state education bureaucracy underneath that one, so assuming common sense may not be a great idea. grin GET AN EXCEPTION IN WRITING before you cross that bridge, because the very worst imaginable outcome is to have your HG+ kiddo repeating classes that were too easy the FIRST time around. (eek)

    We had to accelerate DD more than we'd have liked (a third year), and it still took about a month and much back-and-forth between our local school administration and the state department of education in order for my DD to take all high school coursework without being assigned a GRADUATION COHORT YEAR (apparently just a class or two each year isn't a problem-- but NOT taking elementary/middle school coursework while not yet a high school student IS).

    Just warning you that they were probably right to advise you of the road ahead. Be thinking about how comfortable you are with formal accelerations to get the placement and grade-level in synch-- or closer to it, anyway. Our state DoEd was okay with a ONE year split, but nothing more than that, and even so, the school still had to do some fancy footwork about it.
    _________________________
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    #173011 - 10/29/13 12:18 AM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: HowlerKarma]
    puffin Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/11/12
    Posts: 2035
    Glad the meeting went well. The credit thing seems to be a US thing - actually the graduating high school is a US thing I think.


    Edited by puffin (10/29/13 12:27 AM)

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    #173012 - 10/29/13 02:40 AM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    Mana Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/17/12
    Posts: 882
    I too think the credit issue is quite real. If we opt for virtual schooling and face that dilemma, my solution probably would be to homeschool independently from that point on.

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    #173102 - 10/29/13 06:17 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: HowlerKarma]
    22B Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/10/13
    Posts: 1228
    Thanks for the comments and support everyone.

    Yes, we certainly realize that the high school credit issue is potentially serious. But it is also a potential false alarm, so we can't let fear of it make us make decisions we could later regret. It could be that the rules later change in our favor, or maybe the rules are already in our favor and we just need to research it ourselves instead of relying on a school administrator's word for it, or maybe the powers that be just haven't put much thought into these scenarios and would be willing to accommodate and maybe change rules. After all it's pretty silly that one wouldn't get high school credit (or better), for passing high school courses before high school, or passing college courses while in high school.

    And what if he didn't get credit. Well we'd just be in the same boat as homeschoolers, and homeschooling is always an option anyway. We could make a homemade transcript just like homeschoolers have to, and back it up with proctored results.

    Now "repeating classes that were too easy the FIRST time around" would certainly not be a happy outcome, but maybe a possibility would be to just sit the "end of course exam" to get credit for each earlier-completed course while in high school.

    We have a clear idea of what we want. We want single subject accelerations whenever appropriate. (In a virtual school we don't skip, we just go faster.) But we don't want whole grade-level acceleration since that just handicaps you in grade-based competitions and tests, and we don't want a fast-track to college.

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    #173105 - 10/29/13 06:48 PM Re: How do we prepare for meeting? [Re: 22B]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2513
    Originally Posted By: 22B
    just sit the "end of course exam" to get credit for each earlier-completed course while in high school.


    That's what my husband did here (Canada) for most of his high school science and math classes. And the brilliant solution the educators had to fill the remaining time was...study hall. Obviously you can McGyver a better solution with a virtual presence at school.

    I think you're making the right decision to focus on exams, rather than courses, as the credentialed output.
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