Most special needs parents I know have to battle for their kids' rights in school. They have to advocate for a learning environment that works for their children. There are some battles that never seem to disappear. Others do get resolved, and might even turn into success stories.
This is Jacob's third year at Coyote Ridge. The first time I went into the school building for Jacob's IEP meeting was not a pleasant experience. All the high shots in the school district were crammed into a small conference room. They refused to listen to a single argument why we wanted Jacob to go to his current school Bal Swan for one more year. There was absolutely nothing about Jacob the school couldn't handle. I usually can hold my own, but I do remember crying in this meeting since it was like talking to a big brick wall. I felt defeated. I felt I didn't advocate well for my Jacob. I do remember the principal standing up, and telling the whole crowd that her school was not ready to meet Jacob's requirements. The room got silent. The principal admitted that her school wasn't set up to meet our boy's requirements, something we knew too. After her statement, the school district planned for Jacob to attend Bal Swan for that school year.
This week as we were driving into the parking lot of Coyote Ridge, I remembered that awful IEP meeting. With the principal's courage and always advocating for Jacob, we have been able to create so many wonderful memories at this elementary school. We are today excited to have Jacob start his 3rd year here. His principal didn't just stand up for Jacob, she took that year to truly learn what her school had to do in order to make it a safe environment for Jacob. Today, there is not a question about hand sanitizers. The question is how many we need and where they will be placed so all kids can use them going in and out of the classroom with Jacob. It is like music to my ears.
This year, Jacob will go to school four days per week. We will use Wednesdays for therapies and doctor's appointments. Our boy has busy weeks ahead of him. Jacob's school team is a combination of old and new faces. Jacob has new and old classmates in his class this year. We're getting to know his 2nd grade teacher and the school's new special education teacher. We are hugging his fantastic para and his school therapists who have been with Jacob from the start. And then it is nurse Gemma. I would never feel as comfortable driving away from school, if it weren't for her. I know whatever is going on in the classroom, she will always make sure our boy has what he needs and for him to get the most out of each day.
I'll leave you with a few photos from our first week of school.
We are definitely off to a great school year! Let's just hope that Jacob's health cooperates, so we can be at school all the way through Halloween!