Jack’s first IEP Meeting

We survived our first 3 hour IEP meeting the other day. Whew! I can’t say enough about the kindness and knowledge that Jack’s team has shown to us.

We were all sitting in a conference room of a school where we have poured our heart and tears into the past year, and they shared with us that this school doesn’t have what our son desperately needs. In fact no school in south St. Pete has what our son needed. A lump in my throat swelled and I knew I would have a big cry over this later. Right now, my face couldn’t lose the ear to ear smile it had on it for the sheer fact that we were listening to teachers and experts talk about Jack in a way that was understanding and holistic and they could finish the end of our sentences about him.

So the planning began. Would the change happen after Thanksgiving break or Christmas break? Christmas, because I know how hard he’s been working on those Christmas songs for the music teacher. Oh, the new school won’t hold his spot that long… okay, I guess Thanksgiving it is. Oh, so Friday is his last day here? Long sigh…. How in the world is my son going to understand that he has to leave the school, teachers and classmates he loves yet his differences can’t thrive within? I probably will have my big cry alongside of his.

We can get the rest of your kids there too? They can ride the bus if needed and they would have a monitor on the bus to help Jack if he needed it ever. It’s an incredible school with lots of programs and community involvement.

Where is it again? Really far north?
No…. it’s only 38th St. N.
That might as well be a different city? We rarely go up there.
We can get there in about 10-15 minutes.
But it feels like another world. It looks nothing like the community down here.
Well, let’s just discuss Jack right now. You don’t have to make any big changes for the others right now.


Dan and I have sat together and expressed our feelings about many scenarios, each having areas of conflict with our own passion and purpose.

I looked up the school and it’s everything I’d ever hope in a community school. diverse. title one. tons of community involvement. strong PTA and other empowering organizations. And a great ASD department.

Everything in my heart wants that for all my kiddos. But I also want that for Shaniah, Madison, Demaria, Jude, Anthony, Maria, Kamadi, Zanariya, Naomi and Aryiana and all my kids schoolmates. I want that for our kids teachers who are there because they are passionate about teaching in schools that so many have abandoned, and for good cause. But someone has to stay. And right now…. our school needs someone to stand up and say “not on my watch”. It needs someone to knock on doors, and get businesses on board, and it needs someone to go to the churches and say “can you show up with your time and money and an extra dose of Joy?”

We could say, oh, we can still advocate for our community school while our kids go 6 miles north to a lovely school that has worked hard to get to where they are. But I know myself, and I know my time and my passion will follow where my children are.

Right now…. the plan is for Jack to change schools and for the other 3 to stay where they are. The school schedules are such that the timing still can work for drop off and pick up.

We still haven’t told him. We will tomorrow evening. So please be praying for us and him. We plan on having his teacher over for dinner and hopefully that will help him see that their relationship can continue. Jack is going with us on Friday to visit the school and we are hopeful he will get excited when he meets his future fans!


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