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Old 01-04-2012, 04:48 AM
 
Location: In the loop
370 posts, read 1,297,939 times
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I'm trying to find a good high school and being from outside the area, I don't know a lot of people. No one seems able to give me much help.

We're moving in a few months and beginning to look at apartments (for now, not a house) in some of the towns that border Albany to the north (like Saratoga Springs or Clifton Park).

If anyone can point me in the direction of a school district where they have kids in now that is good for special ed. please post.

I know each child and his or her needs vary but I need somewhere I can be sure my teen can get a good education.
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:44 AM
 
Location: Albany, NY
334 posts, read 777,879 times
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I don't have any direct experience with either district, but I know families that have moved to both the South Colonie and North Colonie school districts for their special ed programs. Although North Colonie has the better overall reputation, South Colonie seems to be better for special ed. Double check everything though, because with all the recent cuts to education, these sorts of programs are changing fast.

Shen (Clifton Park) is one of the biggest (maybe THE biggest) school districts around. This means that they are able to offer lots of programs, but it also means that kids can get easily lost, so it depends on your child's needs and how much you are able to visit the school to advocate for your child. The weird thing about Shen is that most of their schools are located on this one giant campus, which can make it feel cold and a bit Soviet-esque to some families.
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Old 01-04-2012, 12:19 PM
 
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What about Saratoga Springs due to its size, economics and diverse landscape(urban, suburban and rural)?
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Old 01-04-2012, 12:22 PM
 
Location: In the loop
370 posts, read 1,297,939 times
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Thanks for the suggestions. Keep them coming.

I home school right now so I have no clue about other districts. The one we are in now is temporary and we will not stay past our lease date. My husband has been told by more than one person this district is 'not good.'

So thanks, our search goes on.

I like the Saratoga area a lot.
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Old 01-07-2012, 05:53 AM
 
267 posts, read 905,556 times
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MaryPoppins,
I'm not sure how you go about figuring out which schools are best. I wish there were a website or a document that spelled it out.

I have kids in the Sch'dy district and they have been nothing but helpful during our process of trying to figure out if our kids needed services. I've had one that had a 504 for ADHD and one is getting ready to have an evaluation for speech and sensory issues. So while we haven't actually been w/in the special ed department, I do deal w/that department for evaluations & meetings for the 504. I'm not sure if there is any correlation, but I've had a teacher in a suburban district tell me that the inner city district have more children that need a wide variety of services, therapies, one on one aides, etc so when a child comes to them w/these needs it's not as big of a deal. But this teacher had said that her district really hesitated at labeling children in her district because it looks "bad" on paper. So it sounded like kids in her district went w/o just so there were fewer kids on paper that needed services. That's disturbing to me, and I don't know if/how it's true. But it gave me pause when thinking about schools and how to find the best help for my kids.

In general when looking at schools, I've found that how a school looks on paper or online is one thing. Test scores, graduation rates, etc tell part of the story. But to talk to the parents at the school really gives you a good sense of the school. Also if you can talk to the teachers, and most important visit the school!

I switched my son out of his original school to a new school. With that move I realized how important a wonderful principal is. I also attended a PTO meeting to get a sense of the parents and the involvement. Maybe when you narrow your possible districts/schools down you could contact the the principal, district special ed & PTO president.

I almost forgot that there special programs at specific schools. Maybe look for a state or county agency that can sort thru the schools w/you? Not sure if this will help, but here's a site I came across when researching for my son: NYS-OPWDD: Capital District Resource Directory (http://www.opwdd.ny.gov/ws/ws_capitaldist_resources.jsp - broken link)

Here's a Sch'dy county link I found, http://www.schenectadycounty.com/Ful...m=241&amid=798 there must be something similar for each county. Good luck & let us know if you find some answers.

Last edited by j12308; 01-07-2012 at 05:58 AM.. Reason: added another link
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Old 01-07-2012, 07:05 AM
 
Location: In the loop
370 posts, read 1,297,939 times
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My son is active in 2 social groups and I have been asking around but no one seems to have much to say that's been useful. He also has a caseworker or whatever you call it from one organization but her answers have been "Gee, I don't know."

I am willing to continue to home school him if I have to for some of his subjects. I did it for 2 years (this is the second year) and I am perfectly capable of teaching Social Studies, Spanish and English and probably the other electives since I have a teaching degree/Masters.

We were considering maybe getting him a tutor for math and science if we had to (these subjects are not my best, though he is in remedial math so I am still able to teach that).

The school districts are often oppositional because they get money per student enrolled and the special ed. kids, far from being a burden, bring in $$$$. I refuse to let them stick him on their rosters and they get annoyed. But as long as we follow the law, we are fine.

I just do my thing (send in paperwork and follow the rules)

We fully expect he will go to college someday. He's so bright and has a lot to offer the world.

Anyhow, we're going to keep trying to figure it out. Thanks for the help.
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Old 01-07-2012, 08:52 AM
 
Location: Albany, NY
334 posts, read 777,879 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j12308 View Post
I switched my son out of his original school to a new school. With that move I realized how important a wonderful principal is. I also attended a PTO meeting to get a sense of the parents and the involvement. Maybe when you narrow your possible districts/schools down you could contact the the principal, district special ed & PTO president.
j12308's advice is spot on. My neighbor has a child with severe autism that requires a self-contained classroom. Although on paper the policies are the same for the entire district (Albany City), she moved him two years ago from one elementary school to another because she felt the principal at the original school was dismissive of special ed needs. Both the boy and his mother are much happier and less stressed with the new school.

I have seen this in other ways as well. When our middle school got a new principal, our (low) scores on the standardized tests didn't go up much, but the new principal made a world of difference in ways that aren't obvious by just looking at stats. The students are much better-behaved, there is more of a school spirit, and more of a sense of order and the importance of learning.

As for "racefromthecure," after reading your post, I went back and read and reread the OP. Nowhere does she say why her child is in special ed. There are lots of reasons for being in special ed, such as speech issues, autism, emotional problems, and so forth.
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Old 01-07-2012, 09:52 AM
 
267 posts, read 905,556 times
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You mentioned getting him a tutor for certain subjects, specifically math. Have you considered joining a home school group? I have friends in the area that are apart of different groups. They go on field trips together and also share in the teaching. One parent might be great at social studies, so they'd teach all the kid that subject and another parent might teach math for example. That seems like a great way to do it to me. Also many of the musuems around here offer classes during the day for homeschooled kids, that might be something to look into as well.
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Old 01-07-2012, 06:32 PM
 
49 posts, read 167,727 times
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Do any of you get waiver supports and if there is a wait list? In Fl we had to wait six years.
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Old 01-08-2012, 12:44 PM
 
Location: In the loop
370 posts, read 1,297,939 times
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No we don't get any help from the state right now.

We're in the OPWDD process but it takes months and months.

I was up looking at Saratoga Springs today. I like the area more and more. I also know there are lots of homeschooling groups if we continue that way up there.
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