I attended the nicest IEP meeting yesterday. Honestly, it was unnatural. Even when I'm on good terms with the child study team members, and no matter how many wonderful reports I've had about the child in question during the year, the IEP meeting is usually everybody's opportunity to bombard me with all the problems they've been kindly concealing, and, in my daughter's case, all the evidence that points to her needing way, way more help than I am wanting to give her.
But not this time. This time, everybody thinks she's doing just great. The teacher said she's been getting 90s and 100s on tests. The speech therapist said she's making wonderful progress. The child study team leader agreed to do some non-mandated testing to see if we can quantify the improvements we're seeing in her reading comprehension, and thought my modification requests were quite reasonable and appropriate. Nobody disagreed with my plan to keep her in a regular-ed classroom next year in middle school; previously in IEPs, I had been told she should really, really, really go to resource room, but not this time. This time, the team couldn't be more agreeable.
It almost made me want to stand up and say, "No! She's doing awful! She needs more help! Put her in resource room! Put her back in self-contained! If things are this great, we just must not be paying attention!" And maybe that was their evil plan. But I remained calm, and basked in the universal praise for my child and my hard-working parenting self. I asked the child study team leader for a favor involving my son, and again -- although it involved extra work for her without a clear necessity for it -- she agreed. As I walked out of the building, one of my son's old teachers offered me an opportunity to participate with the staff in the buying of lottery tickets, and I felt lucky enough to do it. When my daughter came home, she brought a present for me from her teacher: the url for a Web site full of graphic organizers, which the teacher knows I like because I keep nagging people to use them with my daughter. So pleasant and civilized it all was. And if at some point I stepped through the looking glass into alterna-special-ed-world, I didn't notice.