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Friday, March 4, 2011

Failing our Special Needs Students

Special education seems to be a hotbed issue among many parents in Hamburg.  At a school board meeting this past fall, the Director of Pupil Services, Colleen Kaney-Staub presented a state report on special education.  In short, it was reported that the dropout rate of our special education students is too high [click here for report].  I am not sure if this is the same report she summarized for the RSB, however, this report clearly shows that out of the special education students that entered the high school in 2005, almost 1 in 5   dropped out.  If our special education students are dropping out, the question must be asked why?  What is the point of getting these students so close to the finish line only to see them quit?

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe this is because parents are sick and tired of their children not learning anything but life skills. It seems that this is all the school pushes for them. I for one, am one of those parents that is sick and tired of my childs lack of a free and appropriate education for my special needs child. They continually lie about what they are going to do for thesse kids....what it comes down to....IS NOTHING!

Anonymous said...

I would like to add that I am planning on sending a letter to Cuomo regarding Hsmburgs practices...especially with the special needs programs we supposedly have in place. What a joke if you ask me!

Anonymous said...

What was the items on tuesday's agenda regarding SPED? They were passed. but not discussed. I have a child entering the Pre-K SPED process this spring and I am interested.

village taxpayer said...

My son needed more OT but according to UPES" it wasn't needed", said the head OT and she continued with "why would we want your son to have more stigma of being pulled out of his class room more often ,kids can be so mean.Oh is fine with 1/2 hour a week."
So because I choose not to have incompetent people service my son he gets PRIVATE OT.I would not want my son's fate to be in their less than adequate hands.I must say it's very disturbing to have a school system that allows young children to fall through cracks and chooses to deny basic educational rights.It's a sign of the times unfortunately but its beyond money it has to do with qualified people who provide these services.I simple would not want my child exposed to their incompetence.I am not rich and It certainly is a hard ship to have private OT but what can you do fight for the subpar service provided at the school Please!

parent of special child said...

Concerned,
thank you for your interest and the sites I will be sending you my email for help with our son.
Much Love, Parent

Anonymous said...

As far as the special services go...what a joke! I will not allow my child to receive these services from hamburg anymore. With their medicaid money I can try and find these services out of district if I have too! It is just an excuse for them not to educate our children anyway if you think about it. By the time these kids finish with speech, ot and pt what time is left for anything else. And to have COTA's and PTA's provide these services....really what are their qualifications anyway. So spare me the option of how much my child needs these services when you choose to have incompetent professionals provide them!

Super said...

First off let me say thank you for the timely topic. Most parents who have Special Ed students are dealing with the IEP process this time of year. For you parents who don’t have special Ed students ,Special Ed students ranges from speech issues ADD, ADHA, vision issues, to Physical Birth defects such as Autism or Cerebral palsy and much much more. It’s not students who are lazy or who are just not trying hard enough.

My son falls in the Physical Issues side; he is an honor roll student who works extremely hard to succeed and is truly an inspiration to me each day. Let me walk you through a typical day for him 5:30 a.m. he gets up eats and gets ready for the bus much like any other Middle School student. But his bus picks him up at 6:30 a.m. for a less then 10 mile drive to school he is on the bus until 7:55 .Once he is at school he has an aid. He has the same classes any other kid would have in the Middle School, including gym. He does get a few concessions extra time on tests, a scribe, enlarge print, personal aide, extra time to transition to classes. He also has PT and OT. When school get out its back on the bus and he's home by 3:45p.m.At home it’s a snack and more physical therapy an hour of TV/ video games dinner by 6pm then onto homework this can last until 9pm we his parents have to do the same things the teachers have to do, keep him on task, be his scribe, enlarge his home work ect. Then it bath and in bed by 9:30 p.m.. Almost the same day any other kid would have minus the independence. Now throw in a Dr. Appointment, Social worker visit, school play or reading night, Family Birthday party, and you’ll have a scheduling nightmare. When he is in bed it our turn as parents to do all the stuff we need to do. Work projects, make shopping lists, deal with bills plan the family vacation, laundry ect.

Now you asked why our school has an issue with Special Ed students dropping out hmmm. For some students and parents I’m sure, BY THE 12th YEAR OF SCHOOL it’s over whelming. when you fight for the things your child needs at school a slant board ,extra time in the halls ,swimming , enlarged fonts, an aide , a personal computer , therapy ,more on one attention ,smaller class sizes for the IEP to be followed, reduced homework ,extra time on tests , ADA compliance ,late busing , year in and year because if your not asking for it each year you will loose it . Now we for the most part have been extremely lucky to have some very amazing teachers who I have to tell you have gone above and beyond to help. not only our son but others in his classes Compared to the one or two who have left us and our child out in the wind because they interpret the IEP as they see fit which is wrong because it is a federal legal document

As for Colleen Staub head of pupil services who makes 89,526 a year a 37,614 dollar increase from 2008.I have spoken to her on the phone and/or left messages, about 100 time but only physically met her once which wasn’t on the best of terms. Last summer BOCES held therapies at Armor elementary and our district was repaving the parking lot. They had blocked the entrance of the school so parents had to push wheelchairs or have there kids walk with walkers through the fresh hot black top to get to the building. (I did go over to the district offices and pitched a fit to her and the person in charge of grounds for not scheduling a better time to do the parking lot.) When you look at the report and see that our special ed. students drop out rate is higher then the states target and see that she got a raise of 37,614 dollars you tell me as a parent when you fight year out and year in just so your kid can receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) AND deal with all of the IEP issues, programs cut, class size and a laundry list of other issues is she worth the money? Not in my eyes

Dear Village Taxpayer said...

Dear Village Taxpayer,
my heart goes out to you. Super (Bob) can help you, please come to the next meeting he can give you a lot of advise on how to force the districts hand and provide our children with what is entitled to them.
Oh, yes if Dr. Calkins wants something for her gifted kids she gets it. They ran an AP French class with only 3 students, because her daughter wanted her to. Yet our kids who struggle to be the best that they can be are being short changed. Something doesn't stack up here. Calkins is for Calkins.

a connection said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you a thousand times. I am not alone with my problems with the district. Thank you concerned for connecting us.

not asking too much said...

Super, thank you for your story. I can sympathize with you. We love our children with all our hearts and to see the privilged kids of Calkins get what she wants and our wonderful kids are ignored like they have no value. Well let me tell you Dr. Calkins my kid does matter and I care about other children. Stop asking for special privleges for your kids and address our needs. We just want what is the law

Anonymous said...

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taco tuesday said...

To all the honest parents, you are going about this all wrong. You need to play nice with the good boys. Don't u see u are dealing with liars? Crooks don't understand honesty. Hamburg doesn't care about academic integrity. HHS principal makes up grades for an ap class, and then fires a superstar teacher for talking to students about integrity. The citizens on this blog need to get the HHS principal fired and decredentialed for academic fraud, and his web of lies. HHS is a disgrace under that suit.

Anonymous said...

I hope with the salary Colleen Staub makes to lie to parents and make empty promises with...allows her to sleep at night. I cannot believe some people in this district who do make so much money, continually lie to us...the parents about what is really going on. Last time I checked...the taxpayers and our children provided them a job!

Anonymous said...

I have a message for all parents of children with special needs, why not refuse to sign off on your child's medicaid waiver to give the school money for speech, ot, pt and special bus services and let the district pay for it like they are suppose to! I bet alot of the teachers are unaware of this practice. Do you realize that medicaid pays the district for licensed professionals to work with our children. Last time I checked it was over one hundred dollars an hour...and I have to ask for what? As a parent of a special needs child I am aware of these happenings and have refused them to receive any of this money. If you do allow this you are stuck with allowing the school to provide these services...which almost always is not provided by a licensed professional.

A teacher said...

Staub is incompetent. She had only a couple yrs of teaching and no special ed background... how did she get hired in the first place?????

Anonymous said...

to Super: you are becoming an inspiration for many parents, you obviously care dearly for your child/children.It is such a difficult task being a parent to healthy children, but parenting a child with special needs is both physically and emotionally exhausting. Kudos to you.
The district should not be fighting you, they should be making you and your childs life as easy as possible, that is why the federal government had to make laws to protect you. I was never aware until I hired an attorney recently.
In Hamburg the persons in power ie... Hamburg school foundation, school board, administration etc.. think they are above the law. Good luck to you.

To the father who is paying for private OT, make the district pay for it. Your child was not receiving the OT needed because they did not want to hire another OT to cover all the children needing services so they just cut down the services a little for each child and did not have to hire another part time OT. Which was warranted to accommodate the children at UPES. My child did not start receiving services until January, probably when they cut down with the services for the other children because they said they could not find another OT to hire. I just shut up about it because I thought I had no options. It now appears I did. I am very new to the system. Thank you for enlightening me Super. My child thanks you for it.

I was not aware that if the district did not or was not able to provide full service for my child that they would have to pay for private service, until I consulted an attorney.

Go Super said...

Super, I admired what you did at the Parent/Teacher Forum. I hope you will continue to speak up, and that others will join you. I can't believe the big bucks all these unnecessary administrators make when our buildings are falling apart and we're laying off teachers. The people making the important decisions in Hamburg are doing a terrible job. Also, I'm glad people are realizing what a selfish, greedy person Calkins is. Not a doctor I want for my kids. 8:12 has it right. She is all about herself. All of them are.

pre k parent said...

I needed this site, friend of mine led me to this blog. A lot to digest, been at the site for a long time. One question what are Ms. Staub's backround or qualifications? I will be dealing with her soon my child is in pre K and I know I will be needing her services soon. I am so unprepared. Thank you

Anonymous said...

Please, someone list Colleen Staub's qualifications. I need to know because I am having problems with the dist.

Anonymous said...

To the Pre-K Parent -- please, please, please -- for the sake of your child -- educate yourself. Be prepared. Know the rules and the language involved in special ed. When you're sitting in your first IEP or CSE meeting, and they start throwing around acronyms and 10 cent words, be just as smart as they are. Trust me, it will make them back off and know that they are dealing with an involved, concerned and informed parent and they will realize they can't push you around. I speak from experience.

Super said...

Hope this helps
As far as I know the Director of Pupil Services deals with all students needs not just the special Education students. In all the years we have been dealing with Hamburg Schools Ms. Staub has never been in one of our IEP a meeting. For that matter I don’t know if she has or needs to have any type of Special Ed background. If you have questions about what qualifications she has or what she need to have to hold that job it would be best to call the NYS DEPT. OF ED and ask about her or any other teacher they can tell you what kind of licenses they hold if its special Ed, elem. Ed ect.some teachers have been gradfathered in as a side note occupational or physical therapist need to have a license as well .I have not checked on the ones that we get services from but will be doing that ASAP

ITEMS FROM THE SCHOOL BOARD'S TUESDAY, AUG. 19 MEETING 2008
The board appointed Colleen Kaney Staub as the new director of Pupil Services, effective Aug. 20. She succeeds Darcy Walker, who resigned to accept a principalship with the Iroquois School District. Mrs. Staub was a teacher at Charlotte Avenue Elementary School and recently served as elementary summer school coordinator. It was also announced that the district will create an assistant director of Pupil Services position, to be filled at a later date.

As you have just read the School Board “Appointed” her so who knows if there was any kind of interview or application. As always if you are feeling overwhelmed with the IEP process please and I cannot stress this enough get a child advocate from one of these places / or call them with questions …. Contact People Inc., Aspire services, WNY DDSO all of these organizations can help or point you to people who can. I know the district has had workshops for IEP’S but I also Know that sometimes you may feel working with a district provided workshop might be something of a set up . If you are using the school provided child Advocate its just a parent who has/ HAD a child with an IEP it has been my experience that they may not know as much as a professional from one of the places mentioned above

Super said...

I was just looking at the school website and noticed that the School has just put up school board meeting Minutes. from July 2010 TO Feb 2011... I thought it was odd that BECAUSE one of the reasons they were always meeting in executive session was that they where talking about pay well in the Minutes they list what people are getting paid and then it dawned on me what does it matter if we know what people are getting paid? hello we can always look it up on seethroughny.net

#3 on the list said...

Do not fire people when the US has about 9% unemployment. Steve is a jerk who needs to run East ASAP!

Pleasant Ave Resident said...

Thank you to the teacher who stood up and requested the BOE minutes go on line. I think the teacher asked several times before, thank you teacher for your determination and courage to stand up to that BOE crew and Administration. I looked at the minutes, and noticed they never mention an executive session until December 2010? How could they go in executive session in the other meetings if they didnt notify the public?

in the know said...

Pleasant Ave Resident,
because they were illegal. Enough said at least they got the right idea to post their minutes on line. Now they need to stop this consensus voting and spell it all out. No more hiding items under consensus.

thank you teacher for your courage,super and concerned said...

Thank you Super and Concerned and teacher for your persistence. This is what we're talking about. It is our childern and our tax dollars, as an earlier writer stated, if your not doing anything wrong than what are you hiding.

Bflo Professional FF said...

support the teachers if there fight against the attack on the teacher seniority law. If that law is eliminated, teachers like the individual who spoke up to the RSB will be fired just for defending the kids and themselves. principals and RSB's will have total power.

Anonymous said...

those who have spoken at the meetings and this blog have definitely had an effect on the SB. They are slowing starting to follow the law.

Anonymous said...

To Super....I just wanted you to know that Colleen's job is to take care of the special needs kids only...she really does not do much for kids with a 504...her job is specifically for the committee on special education...and if you were to check and see what Darcy Walker did...it was much more than what Colleen does..and I am sure she made much less! So to everyone that did not like Darcy..just think when did she have time to do anything else for us?

IEP Parent said...

What is a 504?
What salary was Darcy Walker at?
What additional duties did Darcy Walker have that Colleen Kaney Staub doesn't? Please someone.

Anonymous said...

To IEP parent, I am not sure what Darcy's salary was...but I can tell you she did far more than Colleen and I am sure she made much less. If you ever noticed for you CSE meetings...a school physcologist conducts the meetings, no CSE chair to be found. Why is that? What qualifications does this physcologist have for running an annual review? On the note of a 504, this is used for students who do not require special services but need extended time, modified homework and other assistance throughout their day. I also want to add that I believe Colleen gets paid the big bucks to passify us parents with blatant lies about what she is going to do for our kids. If you wait to see in the end it boils down to nothing!

Super said...

today is our IEP meeting... I have my notes and I'm read to take on the system and fight for the kid's education ....it's going to be a battle royal

kids rock said...

Give em hell harry...I mean super!!!

village taxpayer said...

Good Luck Super I'll be thinking of you.Mine is coming up so pass me along some tips.:)

Anonymous said...

Hello Super, I hope your meeting goes well today, I am sure you won't buy into all their lies! I also want to know if you see a CSE chair their and a parent rep! Let us know how you make out so we can prepare ourselves for our childrens annual reviews! Thank You...you're an inspiration to us all!

Anonymous said...

HEY,
I have a good idea, instead of all our money going to Harris Beach, why don't they use a little of our money for a PT person.. Oh please just a little. Or I have one better get rid of the Superintendant.

lots of love said...

Super, I am concerned also, I will approach you after our next School Board meeting, to see how you are doing. Keep us informed and I'm sure you will help us.
Lots of Love

Super said...

Waiting for the other shoe to drop …..
So surprisingly this was one of the Best IEP meetings we have had. First off I do have to say that this year we had an amazing set of teachers. I would even say the best we have had to date with Hamburg School District. All of our needs, comments, concerns and wants where met without hesitation. Now before you ask WOW how did you make that happen. Keep in mind last year we had about 7 IEP meetings .Also I did have that outburst at the meeting at the high school. Again we bring in our son’s own social worker and our own Child Advocate so when we walk in with professionals who are not being a PAID by the school it put the district off its game. In Fact Ms. Staub attended the meeting (a first for us) as well as Barbara Trunzo, Regional Associate in special education for the NYS department of education. I have placed a few calls to her with issues. In fact we talked on the phone the day before. So is that why our meeting went so smoothly? Maybe but at this point it’s all in an IEP we are happy with …. Let’s see if they are following it come September..
Because this blog has been so helpful to us parents of special Ed students. I think it might be in our best interests to maybe form a group so we can all meet and exchange teacher/ therapist info / help each other with IEP issues. I know it might be a little late for this year, but having someone that is or has been in your shoes might be a help and maybe we can start advocating for each other

Anonymous said...

Hi Super, I am so glad everything went well, and as you said lets see what happens in September. I am all for forming a group so we can help each other out. I was also wondering where to find a child advocate? I really need one asap. Thank you for being such a great parent for your child. I believe SPECIAL needs students are just that SPECIAL!

Anonymous said...

Super,
you have it together, congratulations. You had the courage to speak out and our blog has been a help to all of us. I for one am not comfortable speaking in public, so I use this forum to get my frustrations out. I give everyone credit at the sb meetings who do address our important issues. I will be at the next sb meeting and thank God this blog has had an impact, I will stay vigilant.

super i love you said...

Super,
other than you being on top of the school dist. I also believe that now that they have been exposed or under a microscope, they don't dare short change your child. We have to help others who are not informed as you. This blog has brought a lot of us together. Super spread the word of this blog at the next meeting we need to connect and give others a place to go to shout out their dissatisfaction with the district. This blog is our new watch dog. Thank you Super and Concerned.

Anonymous said...

Super,
I am so very happy for you and your family that your IEP meeting has turned out promising. I hope all of the IEP meetings upcoming are equally as promising. FYI, there is a SEPTA (special education PTA) led by Chris Hoff. Meetings are once a month. They discuss the things you are talking about, bring in programs and speakers and Chris heads up a lot of legislative work. Their next meeting is March14 7pm Armor Elementary. Hope that helps

Super said...

Anonymous March 9, 2011 5:11 PM
If you are working with any of the following organizations People Inc., Aspire services, WNY DDSO ,the parent Network of wny , most of them offer child Advocates Or could help point you in the right direction. Your child’s DR. may also have someone information for you
hope that helps

Anonymous said...

What monthly SEPTA meetings are you talking about? I never see anything posted on the districts home page about these meetings. If this is the case how are we the parents suppose to know about them? Or are these held behind closed doors too?

concernedparent1 said...

I have a 2 1/2 year old who is currently receiving services through EI. We had our 3 month team metting last night and our coordinator - who is awesome - was telling us about the transition we will be making to the district. She mentioned that there are some changes in Pre-K SPED policy. All I could say to her is that I know there was stuff voted on at the last meeting, but I don't know what it was. Any clue out there? I am a teacher, so I know the ropes better than most, and my son's services are not extensive, but it is still a scary place to be right now. Any advice would be welcom.

two good ladies who support our kids said...

To two great ladies.
Both Holly and Sally work with disabled children as volunteers as well as professionally. They understand and know the challenges we face everyday. Both have helped with our situation above and beyond

My family is on board to get them elected. Great job Sal and Holly for all that is happening with our kids

atotal fan said...

This is sad.

Anonymous said...

I think it is pretty sad when a parent has to get a lawyer to help them make the school give their child the education they deserve. No matter what you ask...they promise you the stars....but all you see is a MOON!

parent said...

Parent:

I agree, it shouldn't have to take lawyers,

Anonymous said...

Dear Parent, Thank you for your agreement in the matter of hiring an attorney to seek the education my child rightfully deserves. This district has left me no other choice...just continual lies about what the are going to do for my child. I can speak for many when I say I am fed up with the BS they hand me all the time. Maybe when a lawyer asks them why...they will be able to come up with a good answer...or just get caught in their lying ways!