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Old 01-11-2010, 07:18 PM
 
20 posts, read 146,184 times
Reputation: 19

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Hi,

I am interviewing for a Washington State job in Spokane this week (we currently live in Bothell). I've been reading the threads on Spokane, and doing research on the internet/Googling photos, etc. . . It looks very beautiful over there . . . and from what I can tell on the Craigslist rental postings, very affordable living.

I have a 5th grade child with social and speech disabilities (techinically, Autism). Does anyone know if the Spokane School District supports General Education Inclusion for Special Needs students?

(Bothell school district does not and it's been a very frustrating experience).

If Spokane's school districts do, which schools have these programs?

I searched the Spokane School District websites but couldn't find any specifics . . . and Administrators are loathed to give information unless you're already in their district.

Note: I had really wanted to relocate to Camas (read WONDERFUL things about that district), but could not find any jobs in that area.

Is Spokane comparable in terms of the Inclusion model and variety of (funded) programs?

Anyway, please feel free to forward whatever information you have...It's all greatly appreciated. Thanks much.
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Old 01-11-2010, 11:39 PM
 
Location: Northwest Limbo
438 posts, read 1,664,579 times
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Good luck trying to find that info. Like you said, administrators are not very forthcoming. Trying to find out about services in Spokane for my disabled children(one autistic, one with cerebral palsy) was what brought me to this forum over 2 years ago(we're still waiting for the transfer!). I had mainly wanted to make sure we ended up in a district that had good services.
The most helpful information that I have received was from talking to my children's therapists and special ed teachers where we live in Everett and getting a few references to colleagues that they knew in Spokane. I didn't find out about any programs in general, but that our best bets were probably in the larger districts of Mead, District 81, and Central Valley. Dist. 81 supposedly has the most services.
I've just read back over some of my posts since August '07 (that was depressing considering I was so sure we'd be moving any minute...now it's REALLY supposed to be happening this March). There were plenty of opinions as to which district was best and which ones should be avoided like the plague. Unfortunately, they were the same ones! One minute someone would be telling you that Mead was the best and the next someone would tell you that it sucked and that you should be looking at District 81. Not very helpful at all. I finally posted that I'd figured out that my youngest would do best in Mead, my middle in Dist 81, and my eldest in the Central Valley(now she's graduating and moving out!).
As a person of faith, I've finally had to just put my trust in God. I'll do all I can to make sure that I've done my part and my homework. Then I'll ask the Spirit to guide us to the best place. Might sound hokey to some, but it works for me.
If you find out anything interesting, please let us know. There have been several parents of autistic kids on these threads the last two and a half years looking for the same sort of information and have only really hit brick walls. :~/ D
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:28 AM
 
36 posts, read 142,405 times
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In the early 90s I worked with special needs kids, and at the time there was inclusion programming - Wilson Elementary is the one I specifically know about (half day in a class with kids their same age, and half day in special ed class). There were a few other schools with inclusion programming, but it was not offered at every school in the district, and there was a long waiting list for people to get into the few programs available. I remember that the families were always struggling with the district to expand the program and provide more resources - your experience with the opaque information sounds familiar. Just recently there was an article I saw about District 81 struggling with special ed classes overall, because the district has more special needs students than their state funding covers.
Special education squeezes district | Spokesman.com | Sep 25, 2009. It might be worth contacting some of the non-district disability support groups over there - perhaps they could connect you with people who could provide more current information. Good luck!
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Old 01-12-2010, 02:56 PM
 
42 posts, read 198,146 times
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I moved from the Northshore school district to the Mead school district 18 months ago. My daughter is in 1st grade and has autism. She is in a contained learning center. At this time, there's no way she could handle inclusion. There are several kids in her class that spend the majority of their day with their general ed class. One thing that has impressed me with the Mead district is that they don't skimp on classified staff. I don't have an opinion of district 81 since we aren't in that district. It is very large. My feeling about the Mead district is that they mainstream as much as possible and provide good support.
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Old 01-12-2010, 04:14 PM
 
Location: Northwest Limbo
438 posts, read 1,664,579 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svartkatt View Post
... Just recently there was an article I saw about District 81 struggling with special ed classes overall, because the district has more special needs students than their state funding covers.
Special education squeezes district | Spokesman.com | Sep 25, 2009. It might be worth contacting some of the non-district disability support groups over there - perhaps they could connect you with people who could provide more current information. Good luck!
Thank you for posting the informative article. I have to admit to feeling guilty with the idea that we might drop our kids into Spokane in the middle of the school year and the district will be caught unawares that they need to provide extra help for them. It's not too bad for my son because he's mostly mainstream now, but my daughter needs a para and I know that's very expensive! Ideally, I'd love to find a situation where she could share a para with someone else similarly disabled, but that's a long shot. :~/ D
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Old 01-12-2010, 04:49 PM
 
20 posts, read 146,184 times
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Thank you, everyone for your input. As with all parents, particularly those of us with special needs children, we face a multitude of dilemmas regarding our kids' education when considering a relocation.

I simply wish school districts were more forthcoming with information, prior to having to make those decisions.

I am a single Mom, and applying (statewide) for employment with the State of Washington. Of course, cost of living and my child's school placement are HUGE factors.

I have a job interview in Aberdeen, this week....

Does anyone have information on possible Inclusion programs and schools around that general area (I guess this include Aberdeen, Montesano, Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater, etc.)?

It's a little daunting because I do not know anyone who lives in those areas...

So, thanks again. All your input is a great resource.
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Old 01-13-2010, 12:08 AM
 
Location: Spokane Valley, WA
2 posts, read 6,284 times
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Charlie,
My daughter and I moved to Spokane from Pocatello when she finished the 6th grade. She has a learning disability and speech problems as well.

We literally "interviewed" the schools up here. Spokane has both inclusion and exclusion schools. In Pocatello my daughter was in both and we found the "exclusion" schools (pulling her out of class for her special needs classes) was very detrimental to her. She absolutely hated being pulled out of class! Therefore, we were looking for a school that offered "inclusion" classes.

After interviewing 5 schools AFTER making phone calls to many others, we choose the West Valley school district. She started at Centenial under the guidance of the amazing Ann Holding who worked very closely with my daughter and I. She then moved on to West Valley High School were she continued to flourish.

I'm telling you, of all of the educational decisions I've made for my daughter, moving to Spokane and choosing the schools that we did were the best decisions we could've made!

Today she's 19 and graduated. She did very well! Her special needs team were extremely impressed with her and her growth.

Inclusion was best for my daughter. Hope this helps.

Bradley C
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Old 01-14-2010, 10:11 AM
 
20 posts, read 146,184 times
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BradleyCWA: Thanks for the info.

Based on your experience in dealing with Spokane districts, do you feel they were philosphically supportive of General Ed Inclusion for IEP students, or did your family need to fight district administrators to include your daughter into Gen Ed?

Just curious because I've had SOOO many IEP conference battles with the NorthShore School District in my attempts to increase Gen Ed minutes for my son...only to have one of their adminstrators turn to me and say (5 years later): "That simply isn't our district's model."... Unfortunately, those were 5 years of my son's life that he will never get back.

Anyway, thanks for any info you can provide.
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Old 02-20-2010, 09:12 PM
 
36 posts, read 102,208 times
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My experience is that in District 81 inclusion is supported, and there is a district push that has not necessarily reached the individual school level.

Some schools support the inclusion model much more readily than others. I have heard of some schools that are Title I schools that are huge advocates of inclusion and the push-in model because of inability to reach AYP and a change in philosophy along with additional supports that Title schools can receive. This is not district wide, however. I really think you will have to canvas a multitude of schools to determine which will provide the model you desire.
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Old 03-10-2010, 08:40 PM
 
23 posts, read 53,357 times
Reputation: 18
We are out in Cheney. For my oldest who is now in middle school (adhd and ASD), he did resource rooms in grade school as needed (they tried to keep him in the regular classroom as much as possible. For middle school he is set up where he is in a regular classroom as sort of a blended classroom, they have several kids with IEPs in the room with regular students and they have a second teacher there to assist all kids (so no one feels singled out).

For our middle kiddo who has speech issues on top of severe adhd- he did the blended preschool program then was funneled into the special ed class for kindergarten. That was not working for him (the teachers were wonderful), he was picking up behaviors from other kids and they were distracting him even more. So at the moment we are homeschooling him with help from our district and hopefully in the next year or two he'll be back in at the gradeschool in the regular classroom.

In general, CHeney has been nothing but supportive-- at least for us. The teachers have been very involved and caring, IEPs have been a non-issue as well. The oldest has been thriving in the inclusion program at the middle school.
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