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    Joined: Feb 2013
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    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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    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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    ... 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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    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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    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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    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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    Just FYI - In many traditional schools the counselor does double duty as the class scheduler.


    ~amy
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    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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    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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    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.


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