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109 Board Grills Staff on Resource Periods

Administration, teachers present ideas on special education to Board, community.

has been a major sore point vocalized by parents throughout the contract negotiations between and the .

A majority of School Board members demonstrated they were listening to the comments over the last five months during a Committee of the Whole meeting Monday at .

For more than two hours Assistant Superintendent for Learning , Director of Student Services Jenell Mroz and six special education teachers told more than 80 people at the meeting about the short and long term plans for special education in the district.

Not once was the word resource period mentioned but as soon as the presentation was over, Board members , , Deborah Muller and Ron Worth grilled Owsiak and about it.

"Where are the resource periods?" Rosenbaum said. “They are one of our main concerns. Our teachers felt less connected to the children. Will there be a return of resource periods? Is this part of your research?” he asked about the statistically heavy presentation.

Goier and Owsiak explained each student’s needs would be handled through their individual educational plans (IEP). An IEP is a program developed for each individual student in cooperation with teachers, staff and parents. More than 500 of the District’s 3,100 students have an IEP.

“We’ll look into each student’s progress to know what needs must be filled for the student,” Goier said.

One of the parents who has been attending every meeting, , expressed hope at the questions of some of the board members but remained steadfast in his view about resource periods.

“I applaud the effort of the Board to relook,” Steindler said. “I hope it is not the position of the Board to stay away from resource periods. We don’t need for special education students to take Spanish.”

Steindler is one of a number of parents who have been complaining at regular Board meetings the resource periods were eliminated to insert teaching of Spanish as part of the curriculum for all children.

When some in the crowd wanted to know who approved inserting modern language into the middle school curriculum leading to the elimination of resource periods, Board President Ellen London said the Board ratified the move.

One parent, Stephanie Degodny, wants the IEP rather than an administrative dictate to determine if special education students will take Spanish. “It doesn’t work for every kid to take a foreign language,” she said.

Muller wanted to know if children would receive services they needed outside of regular classes. “Will you pull the kids out of class?” she asked.

“We will start with their central needs,” Goier said. She reiterated each student would be given the services prescribed in their IEP and it could include resource periods. Rather than have a Spanish class replaced it could be music, according to Owsiak.

Worth wanted to know how soon students could start receiving the services a number of parents have been clamoring about. “How soon will this come about?” he asked. He was assured by Goier and Owsiak it would be as soon as possible though much of it will be in the next school year.

The presentation by District 109 staff dealt with an overview, a multidisciplinary approach and early childhood education within the District.

Dana Poncher February 29, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Dr Goier and Paula Owsiak are correct when they say that an IEP is an Individualized Education Program BUT ONCE AGAIN WORD ART IS AT PLAY. If Resource periods and resource rooms are not available then they cannot be utilized in an IEP. I do not want to be placated I am looking for real responses and it is unreal to say our childrens issues will be addressed via their IEP because if the "resource" doesn't exist it cannot be implemented. Dr. Goier and Paula Owsiak are being asked to bring resource back into the realm of possibility only then can it be implemented in an IEP. Last I heard at the meeting that the resource teachers had been polled to see if they felt the resource period should be "added" back to the schedule or not I do not agree with this statement. Our administration received this feedback from staff really? Scary to think that we, parents, value resource time more than the educators who offer the services? I doubt this is a correct representation to the public of what OUR Resource staff wants or doesn't want.
HB February 29, 2012 at 06:36 PM
http://deerfield.suntimes.com/news/schools/10566392-418/deerfield-district-109-teachers-authorize-strike.html Worth reading again. Especially the section Jensen says "He added that the board won’t agree: To return resource services in resource rooms when deemed necessary by a Joint Special Education Team; That teachers can offer opinions in special education sessions without reprisals or consequences; To allow time for special education teachers to meet with aides to determine how best to service their case loads; That minutes should be kept of special education meetings that are approved by everyone in attendance; Or to establish a procedure for determining special education case loads." Isn't the final meeting tonight?
Mara Meyer February 29, 2012 at 09:57 PM
You may think they write what they want, however it is the parents who are integral members of the TEAM who have final approval. Any needs for assistance, call me at 847.940.9850
Mara Meyer February 29, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Call in ISBE and OSEP! Perhaps these administrators need some hands on training and direction.
John Russillo March 01, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Here is the info for the parent group: Deerfield Parent Advocates for Education welcomes any new members to the group. The purpose of the group is to empower parents to have a more active role in their children's education. Through workshops and regular discussion groups, parents will increase their knowledge of how to advocate for their child specifically through the IEP process. Examination of best practices used in other school districts will serve as way to cohesively work with school staff to ensure the best programs and services for all children. You may sign up for the mailing list at parents109@gmail.com

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