During a recent IEP meeting, the staff gushed about how cute the little boy was, how much he got along with other children and how much they enjoyed working with him. It was a lovely feel-good moment, and all of that was fine, but I wanted to know how the child was progressing in school. The staff may love him, but are they teaching him?
After several requests for evaluation data (the school didn’t want to give to us at first), the school showed that last year the child was reading at a 2.4 grade level. A year later he was at a 2.6 reading level. He was in fourth grade: He only made two months progress over an entire school year! I was quick to point this out to the school IEP team which put a damper on their enthusiasm for “how wonderful he was doing.” Two months’ worth of progress was not acceptable and I wanted to know what they were going to do to improve his reading scores.
Lesson to be learned: Be careful not to get caught up in things you want to hear that make you feel good, but don’t have much substance. This mom left the meeting with an entirely different perspective on her son’s “progress” in school. She was devastated because everyone told her not to worry, that he was doing well. The truth was…he wasn’t doing well at all.