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Old 09-23-2012, 05:00 AM
 
7 posts, read 16,579 times
Reputation: 10

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We are looking to move to the dutchess county area. I was wondering what school district would be the smallest and most supportive for a child with aspergers? He's in 5th grade now, so middle school age. He is currently in a regular ed class with an aide. I also have two other children that are neuro-typical and are elementary school age. I ve read many threads and in general Arlington and Wappingers schools seem to be the best. My main concern is for my aspergers child who does great in a regular ed environment as long as he has the appropriate support. What schools would provide this level of support?

Thank you ahead for your replies.
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:32 AM
 
8 posts, read 11,484 times
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Elizabeth;

I spent essentially all of my educational years in the Wappingers Central School District (specifically, Brinckerhoff Elementary, Van Wyck Junior High, John Jay Senior High) and recently graduated from that system; I am currently a second-semester freshman in college. Over that time span, my family and I witnessed noticeable changes, with nearly all of them being negative. The area has grown significantly and the district was not prepared for it, nor have have they risen to the occasion. By the time I left, many classes [in the high school] had close to 30 students, they had fired teachers due to cuts, the hallways were uncomfortably overcrowded (it felt like you could not breath; the occasional fight in the hallway did not help), afterschool bus service for non-athletic extracurricular activities had been mostly cut (they actually cut it completely at one point; but restored it on a limited, first come first serve basis) and everyone was wondering how, without the community voting to fund an expansion (other proposals had been shut down), the district was going to keep up with the growth. While the overcrowding is most pronounced in the high school, having family and friends in education, I know that it is an issue at all levels. Furthermore, if you have a student who learns at an accelerated rate, the chance of them being challenged is slim; the school does not have the resources to assist such students and they will fall through the cracks. Personally, as someone who has always been advanced in reading/writing, this caused my school experience to be one that was largely negative.

In terms of the district's special education services, I do not have much knowledge and/or personal experience to share. I can tell you that I know a family, whose son has a mood and behavioral disorder, as well as social skills deficits, that has been extremely displeased with their experience. His mother feels that they are not doing what they need to fully meet his various educational needs; that they are not adequately challenging him; and that she has had to fight to get them to comply with what she feels is best. This mother has told me she knows other families with similar feelings. On the other hand, I know other families who seem to be content with the services they have received and feel their kids' needs are being met, though I have not talked with them in as much depth. Furthermore, growing up, I was in numerous classes that were considered inclusion classes (regular education teacher, special education teacher, mixed student body) and my friends in those classes who were receiving special education services seemed to express that the level of help they were receiving was enough to where they felt that, with effort, they could succeed. As I said, though, my knowledge here is limited. I would recommend calling the school to ask your questions and, if they would allow, talk to other parents. If you would like, I can also see if my friend who has had troubles with the district would be willing to talk to you directly.

(As a note, I thought I would add that the district offers self-contained classes, inclusion classes, resource classes and, often, a mix of the above.)

All of that said, the school district is far from horrid. We have many good teachers, good standardized test results (not that I see this as a reliable measure; but that is another debate), a mix of class levels (regents, non-regents, remedial, honors, AP; though AP is not available until Junior or Senior year and is limited), a nice selection of elective classes at the high school level, dual enrollment programs with the local community college [starting in the senior year] and with BOCES [where students can learn skills in a variety of trades, from early childhood to graphic design to cosmetology; starting junior year], a reasonably successful student body and some dedicated staff. Ultimately, the school is more or less your typical suburban school struggling to cope with expansion in the area and a hurting economy. If you choose to attend, you do have to accept the situation of overcrowding and budget cuts, realizing that both are expected to get worse. While this will, in some way, impact all of your children, I assume that the impact of such a large student body would be of special concern to your son with Aspergers.

I know less about the Arlington School District. I do know that it is bigger; however, their buildings are also larger, they are in a much better funding situation, have actually expanded the buildings in recent history and have a better offering of classes. I know a few graduates who seem to have had a much more positive experience than I. I know nothing about their special education services.
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Old 09-23-2012, 02:56 PM
 
Location: Where my bills arrive
13,465 posts, read 12,602,787 times
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My compliments to the above poster for what is probally one of the most constructive reviews of a school district I have ever read. +1
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:09 AM
 
7 posts, read 16,579 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you so much for the thorough post. I imagine this took much of your time, and was most helpful. Doesn't sound like this would be a good area for our family given my child with Aspergers.

If anyone does know of a district that is most helpful with main streaming high function aspergers kids in the hudson valley area, please feel free to let me know..would be so greatly appreciated!
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:34 PM
 
Location: Dutchess County
14 posts, read 39,177 times
Reputation: 15
Look into Spackenkill. Much smaller classes and excellent scholastic scores. Millbrook is also a much smaller school system with excellent reputation. Feel free to inbox me if you need more help. It also matters what type of amenities you're looking for. For example Red Hook is a magnificent school but at farthest northern part of Dutchess. Like I said, of you want to inbox me, I'll send you my number and we can chat a little more. Hopefully I can help you figure out a good game plan. Hang in there.
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