Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Frankie and School

Frankie is coming here tomorrow because Friday is the day that new students get registered at Our Small Town High.

Though we will register him as a regular new student, we really are not certain about schooling for him. It's a problem because he has been in on-site education programs for a couple of years. They don't need to do the sort of testing and paper work that a public school is required to do to justify special ed and other support services, so we don't know what testing was done, whether an IEP was ever written, whether he has a learning disability, nada.

The social workers have been asking the last public school he went to to send information, but have not received a response (not even been told whether there is anything to be sent). Hubby, being a special ed teacher himself, knows the secret handshake and is on the case. It is all rather complicated and though I can talk sensibly about all sorts of things, I do not entirely understand what Hubby is asking for. I do know that he is rolling his eyes when hearing that the social workers are just calling the main office. Instead he is calling the special education teacher and saying things like, "Hey Bob! This is [Yondalla's Hubby] from ____ School. I believe you had a kid named Frankie there a couple of years ago. Do you have a thingamajig on him? Did you do the whatchamacallits? Can you send that over to me? Thanks."

Hubby still doesn't know if they have all the thingamajigs, whatchamacallits, and do hickeys required to justify services, but he is on the case.

This is what I know: We do have an Alternative High School in town and their educational approach is most similar to what Frankie has been in. It is also small (under 100 students) which will feel much safer to a kid who has been in facilities smaller than that. However, they do not have special education services. Getting Frankie in there would require a meeting and they would have to decide whether to accept him. Exactly what their criteria are is a bit of a mystery to me.

The regular high school has a fantastic special ed teacher who provides really good services and if Frankie qualifies for them then sending him there, even though it is a school of over 1000 students, might be the best option.

With the documentation that we have so far, it will be difficult to justify doing anything other than signing him up as a regular student at the huge school and seeing how he does. No one who knows Frankie thinks this is a good idea, but if it weren't for Hubby I would think it was almost certainly what would be done.

But like I said, Hubby knows the secret handshake. So we shall see.

I feel the need to go on record and say that I am less certain that Frankie is going to make it here than I was with the other boys. The other boys were flowers that had been transplanted from someone else's garden into mine. My garden was a little bit better for them than the last one, and they were already weather-toughened plants. Frankie though has been carefully tended in a greenhouse. He has been cared for, or at least supervised, 24/7 hours a day by adults who work in shifts and show up clean, ready for their shift, and pre-caffeinated (if needed). He has gone to school in a single room with kids he lives with and worked at his own pace on all subjects with a specially trained teacher.

We are now taking this hot-house flower and putting him in my garden. He will live with adults who are showing up, not rested and ready for work, but tired from work and hoping for a chance to unwind. He will have caretakers who say, "Please, just wait until I get breakfast and have my first cup of tea."

And we have no idea what school will look like for him.

So though I agree he is ready to try living in a family and I agree we are the right family for him to try living with, I also know that he is not just moving from one family to another. He has been living for years in institutions of various sorts.

This is going to be a big change for him. We will see how he does.

side note: "thingamajigs," "whatchamacallits," and "do hickeys" are in Blogger's spell checker, but "caffeinated" and "Blogger's" are not.


  1. I think this is a case where Frankie is just going to have to sink or swim. Truthfully, I think this will do him a BIG favor, because if he stays in a group home environment, he'll never learn to even dog paddle.

    Let's face it, if he stays where he is, he'll just continue to be spoon-fed until his 18th birthday. On that day, he'll get a foot in the behind shoving him out the door, and he'll have to figure it out from then on.

    At least this way he's going to start getting a taste of reality before the big one of his 18th birthday comes along to bite him in the butt.

    Give him a dose of reality therapy. You'll both feel better for it.

    I think he'll do better than you think.

  2. best of luck to the whole family! you are providing him with a family, a safe, non-institutionalized environment and he may have to learn what that means (over time) just as kids need to learn how to clean their rooms, what appropriate boundaries are etc. i'm sure you'll all be overwhelmed at times, but it'll work out--and think how great that will be, when you get to look back on how he came to you and the strides he made.

  3. Anonymous4:53 AM

    Give hime time...I am sure with you and your family providing him guidance that he will soon move from being a green house plant to a garden flower -:)

    btw: Have you received the book yet?



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