Advocacy

100 Nights of Advocacy – Night 12

A week or so later, Emily’s mom received a call from Ms. Patel telling her the school was planning an IPRC for Emily for early November, about four weeks away. 

She told Ms. Green that a package would be sent home with Emily containing a letter from the principal confirming the future meeting as well as a copy of the Board’s Guide to Special Education Programs and Services. She added that there will be a copy of the materials in Braille. She concluded by asking her mother fs she had any questions and inviting her to call the school if she had any questions or concerns.

 The next day Mrs. Green found an envelope from school in Emily’s backpack after school.

100 Nights of Advocacy – Night 11

Emily’s mom ask for an IPRC in writing…

This request could feel unusual to school staff because, for many schools, this is not a “normal practice.” It is possible that the request will be initially misunderstood and even refused. We will look at how to assert this right in a positive yet assertive fashion shortly.
Emily’s mother also noted in her letter that Emily’s father was also visually impaired and required materials in Braille to participate.  
 The School Board has an specific obligation to materials in accommodated formats based the needs as participants who are entitled to materials.

 A person or body is required by this Regulation to communicate in writing to a parent or pupil shall, at the request of the parent or pupil, use a braille, large print or audio-cassette format for the communication. O. Reg. 181/98, s.4,

A week or so later, Emily’s mom received a call from Ms. Patel telling her the school was planning an IPRC for Emily for early November, about four weeks away.

 

100 Night of Advocacy – Night 10

The ability for a parent/ guardian to request am IPRC is found in Regulation 181/98, Subsection 14.1 , D3.
14. (1) The principal of the school at which a pupil is enrolled,

(a) may on written notice to a parent of the pupil; and

(b) shall at the written request of a parent of the pupil,

refer the pupil to a committee established by the board, for a decision as to whether the pupil should be identified as an exceptional pupil and, if so, what the placement of the pupil should be. O. Reg. 181/98, s. 14 (1).

This right is also found in most School Board Guide to Special Education Programs and Services as mandated by the Ministry of Education. This guide will be likely located somewhere on your Board’s website and is generally found when using Google and searching Parents Guide to Special Education Programs and Services along with your Board’s name.  

The guide for the Toronto District School Board is typical.

Very few IPRCs are requested by parents. When a parent does request an IPRC it signals a parent who is aware of their rights and is being proactive. Boards have no ability not to hold the meeting. The decisions an IPRC are another issue that we will discuss later.
Take note that the request must be in writing to the Principal.
Talk some time and find your boards guide on their website and where it states the above.

100 Nights of Advocacy – Night 9

The future of President Trump could be greatly affected by one important contemporaneous note.  Imagine the impact making your own contemporaneous notes could have on your life.

Effective Practices – Start and use a School Log/Contemporaneous Record.  
A contemporaneous note is a note you write at or immediately after a conversation/meeting.
There is no one right way to do them but I would suggest the following.
As with any interaction with the school related to your child’s needs, consider recording the key events related to the school and your child on paper. Use a bound note book. Print or hand write, write objective statements. Use statements that are positive and convey a patient, positive but focussed attitude on your part. Be sure to date the entry.
I tend to make rough notes during the meeting then immediately after the interaction create the note.
Though such notation is useful legally, it’s also a really good way to operate. Memories are fragile and making a physical record of interactions is just smart.
Sample Entry (to be written or printed)
October 15. Spoke to Ms. Patel. I asked for an IPRC. Ms. Patal suggested that an IPRC was not needed at this time. I replied that the school was offering needed support for Emily and I wished to have an IPRC to formalize Emily’s status. I said I would send a note to the principal.

Trump and good notes…

100 Nights of Advocacy – Night 8

IPRC request letter in Night 7

Effective Practices – Considering write or typing the note on paper, date and sign. Either call and/or email to confirm that it was received. Avoid adding other issues related to your child and/or the school into the letter or confirming communication. Do not include any grievance in either. These are specific purposeful letters. Any additional material should be positive.

Care should be given to be positive in your interactions with your child’s school and the school board as well as other service providers. This is particularly true with email and social media. It is normal to experience considerable frustration and anxiety when trying to obtain appropriate support for your child. It is not helpful , however, to allow your frustration to seep into your interactions with staff. Keep written correspondence as neutral and positive as you can. It is helpful to get a friend or family member to edit material before you send it.  
The 24 Hour Rule – When some event has made you upset, try not to despond in way for at least 24 hours. We generally regret immediate responses because they are not thought out and are fuelled by emotion.