Friday, May 23, 2014

Goodbye preschool

School is out for summer!  Well, besides esy ;)!

The girls have successfully finished pre K and had their celebration and certificate ceremony on Wednesday.

The kids sang two songs and our girls did a great job (video at the bottom).

It was so cute to see them dancing and singing with their class.  Inclusion works!

We are grateful but sad to say goodbye to all the preschool teachers.  Ms. Juanita, Ms. Brenda, Ms. Jana, Ms. Corey have had the girls for 3 years now!  That earns you all gold medals and a place in our hearts.

Bless Ms. Corey's heart she gets to follow the girls on to their elementary school!  YAY!

We are also thankful to Ms. Heather, Ms. Marti and Ms. Julie for working with the girls during their preschool days.

Our girls love school and I credit that to the awesome teachers that they have had thus far.

You can't miss the girls front and center!  Alayna dances the whole way through and Dariya is signing along with the music.

Look out kindergarten, here we come!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ending elementary on a high note

Aidan is winding down his elementary school career as of Thursday.  He is ready for middle school!

The past couple weeks have been a flurry of activities finishing up the school year.    Spring band concert,
5th grade farewell, field day and awards assembly to name a few.

Today, Jason and I went to his awards assembly.

I was a ball of emotions as I watched our little boy who began kindergarten just a few years ago walking up to the stage time and again as a young man to accept his awards.

He received recognition for tiger patrol, best typist at his school, online math league, achievement in no excuse words for 6th grade, he was #2 in the school for volunteer hours and received the presidential bronze medal for volunteerism.

His final award was an honorable mention for the Kindest Kansas Citian essay competition.  His essay was chosen in the top 80 of thousands submitted.  He wrote his essay on a very special lady from our church.  He was asked to read his essay at the assembly this morning and did a fabulous job.

We are so thankful for the great mentors and role models that Aidan has in his life.  Kelly, you are outstanding!

We are so proud of the young man that he is growing up to be.  We pray that God continues to mold and guide his life.

Way to go Aidan!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Kindergarten transition IEP success

I know to many folks with kids with special needs the mere mention of an IEP conference makes the hair on the back of their necks stand up, their stomach get queasy and their head pound.

For me it doesn't.  

Maybe it is my special education background.  I have been on the other end of the table so many times writing and discussing IEP's with parents and I know my intentions were always good.  I loved teaching and loved seeing kids soar.  

Or maybe it is my positive attitude that the girl's team wants the best for them.   They are great people who are in education to make a difference and we are blessed that they certainly have made a difference in our girl's lives.  We might not always agree on every detail but, I know they want the best for my kids and push them to do their very best just like we do.

Our conference went fabulously well as it always does.  I always bring a little treat, not because I have to, but because I used to be a special ed teacher and I know how much work goes into just the paperwork let alone working with my girls every day!   We began by showing the video I made and then stating our goals for the girl's lives.  The team loved the video!  I highly recommend making one for your own IEP conferences especially when transitioning to a new school.

The girl's case manager, Ms. Juanita always provides me a copy of the IEP the week before so I can review it.  I am a total visual learner so need to read it myself before the meeting to have input.  If your case manager doesn't provide this I would ask for one before your meetings.  I usually email her any questions/ comments/ additions or deletions I have so that those can be included in the IEP.

We were able to meet the girl's special educator and speech therapist for kindergarten as they joined us for the meeting.  We also are blessed with a down syndrome guild representative in our school district.  This is a teacher from our district who has attended the workshops provided by our guild so that they can be a down syndrome advocate and resource.  The district staff invited her and she was a great resource adding great tips and ideas for the girls like using peers more to motivate Alayna. 

The girls will probably be in the same kindergarten class.  We asked for half day, separate classes.  However, so many parents requested full day kindergarten that it looks like there will probably be only one section of half day kindergarten.  

They will each have 30 minutes of daily pullout special education instruction, speech 3 times a week, occupational and physical therapies 1 time each a week.  The rest of the time they will have push in services of either a special ed teacher or para being in their inclusion kindergarten class.  

We are excited and nervous for the beginning of elementary school for the girls.  The girls are ready and super excited.

We know that our girls are in great hands with excellent teachers and therapists.

Beyond blessed...